|Jermain Taylor: “I am confident I can put it all together”
INTERVIEW By Gabriel Montoya (Sept 15, 2007) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Everlast)
Earlier this week, Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor took time out of his very busy schedule to answer more than a few of my questions. He was candid, confident and guarded regarding his upcoming fight with Kelly Pavlik September 29th in Atlantic City.
Gabriel Montoya: With criticism mounting in the boxing media and without a knockout win since you stopped Daniel Eduoard, can you talk a little bit about how this camp differs from past camps? Do those things factor into your preparation?
Jermain Taylor: Criticism comes with the territory. I could have knockout my last five opponents and still had criticism. All I can do is prepare myself the best I can and perform. A big difference with this camp is I'm in Poconos mountains and it has allowed be to focus more and I'm preparing for a right hand fighter, my last 3 fights have been against southpaws. Southpaws are very difficult to fight. I can't remember of any fighter fighting three southpaws back-to-back-to-back. Name one?
GM: After your last fight, you spoke in a matter that seemed out of character when you proclaimed that whoever brought the most money that was whom you would fight next. Where did that come from? Was it simply a heat of the moment reaction?
JT: I think it was not so much what I said, but how I said it, in the heat of the moment. This is a business and boxing is not a very long profession. You have to make what you can while you are in this business and think about your family also. I'm no different than any other fighter; I want to make the most I can out of this profession while I can.
GM: Kelly Pavlik appears to be in line with the type of tough tests that you faced in Winky and Bernard with one exception: his tremendous punching power. Do you agree that he is up there with your toughest opponents?
JT: On paper it looks that way, but I really can't answer that now. Ask me that question after the fight and I can give you a better answer. Styles make fights and his style is the kind I like to fight. Also, we did face each other in the amateurs.
GM: This is your fourth fight with Manny Steward and your first with him against a right-handed fighter. Do you feel that this is the fight that all your experience, talent combined with his lessons will come together?
JT: Yes, as I mention before, styles makes fights. Kelly has the kind of style that I like to fight. He's comes to fight. This is the kind of fight I want to be in and it's the kind of fight Emanuel has wanted to prepare me for also.
GM: Did you feel it impossible for those things to come together given the difficult styles you’ve faced in the past with Steward?
JT: No, it's not impossible, that's what we work and train on as professional fighters... All great fighters have to be able to make adjustments. Remember, I faced a lot of different styles when I was an amateur and since I turned professional. Fighting different styles comes with the territory. I'm very confident I can put it all together against Kelly.
GM: Who have been your chief sparring partners?
JT: No comment
GM: What does each of them bring to the table to prepare you for Pavlik?
JT: I will say that I'm very pleased with my sparring partners and I will be well prepared for Kelly Pavlik on September 29th.
GM: What weaknesses do you see in Pavlik?
JT: Kelly has some weaknesses, but I will not comment on his weaknesses because then I would be giving away some of my game plan for the fight.
GM: What strengths?
JT: I will refer to my previous answer.
GM: How do you prepare for him? Do you watch film or will you simply feel him out when you get in the ring?
JT: I have somewhat of a feel for Kelly because we fought each other as amateurs, but I have been watching films of his more recent fights.
GM: Do you feel a decisive knockout victory will bring you the praise you deserve?
JT: Maybe, but I'm not so concerned about that, because there is always going to people who will see things different no matter how well I do in the fight. What's important is that I can get the victory and perform well in the victory without any physical harm to myself. This is a very dangerous profession.
GM: Why do you feel you’ve been criticized for going the distance with two men who, 1) are hard to look against; and, 2) are even harder to stop?
JT: People like to see knockouts, that's what they want and I have not delivered any knockouts lately. I'm not saying I'm going to approach this fight trying to get a knockout, but if it presents itself I will go for it, which is what I'm suppose to do as a professional.
GM: If you could change one thing about the sport/business of boxing, what would it be?
JT: No comment.
GM: What title is more important to you; pound for pound or the one you currently hold?
JT: I don't get hung up on the pound for pound title. I'm the Middleweight Champion and I'm quite happy with that title.
GM: Is this your last fight at 160 lbs?
JT: Yes this is my last fight at 160 lbs, I will be moving up to 168 pounds for my next fight.
GM: If so, would you consider a move to light heavy for a rubber match with Hop for the light heavyweight title?
JT: I'm not thinking about light heavyweight or fighting Bernard for a rubber match at this point in my career. Right now my focus is on September 29 fighting Kelly Pavlik.
GM: Or a fight with the winner of Calzaghe/Kessler at 168?
JT: A fight with either one of them would be good for me and good for boxing. They are both very good fighters.
GM: What fighters do you consider influences?
JT: I did not watch a lot of boxing on TV growing up and boxing was not a big sport in Arkansas. I really can't say any one fighter had any influences on me.
GM: If you could fight one fighter in history, regardless of weight class, who would it be?
JT: I have to think about that a little more.
l would like to thank Jermain Taylor for taking out the time from a very intense training camp to answer my questions. I would also like to thank Norman D. Horton and DiBella Entertainment for putting us in touch with Mr. Taylor.
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