Taylor vs Hopkins: Redemption or Reaffirmation?
By Mike Leanardi (November 14, 2005) 
Photo © HBO-PPV
Taylor/Hopkins 2, December 3rd on HBO PPV, is being billed as “No Respect;” however, perhaps a more fitting title would be “Redemption or Reaffirmation” as that is what Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (46-3-1, 32 KO’s) and reigning World Champion Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor (24-0, 17 KO’s) are seeking respectively. Hopkins, 40, is seeking to redeem himself by recapturing the Middleweight crown he possessed for over ten years. Taylor, 27, wants to reaffirm the championship he won in a controversial manner.

In their first bout the much younger challenger Taylor won a questionable split decision, dealing Hopkins his first loss in a little over twelve years. The fight was really a tale of two halves, Taylor was much more aggressive in the first half of the fight winning virtually every round, with Hopkins coming on to dominate the later rounds.

Regardless of scoring controversies, both men have a chance to set things right and will look to make a statement to the world that they are in fact, the better man. The rematch will once again be a classic battle of young and old. Taylor, the younger, more physically imposing fighter, will look to out hustle the wily and crafty veteran that Hopkins is. Both were able to accomplish their goals at times in the first fight, which made it an interesting back and forth affair.

I have to believe if Hopkins asserts himself earlier in this fight than he did in the previous, he still has an enough cunning and technical superiority to get past the new Champion. Hopkins is quite simply one of the, if not the, most technically sound boxer in the sport. His defense is tight, his aggression controlled and effective, he is an effective counter puncher and his ring generalship unparalleled.

If Taylor is to successfully defend his title, I believe he has to be aggressive from the opening bell and sustain that aggression throughout the entire fight. He has to stay behind his strong jab, try to impose his bigger frame and out work Hopkins.

In the end, I believe Hopkins will be more aggressive early, winning more of the early rounds and will set himself up with an opportunity to KO Taylor in the championship rounds or at least pull out a convincing decision.

Along with the Taylor/Hopkins mega main event, the evening will also feature an exciting under card featuring a World Championship unification bout between WBC Super Bantamweight Champ Oscar Larios (56-3-1, 36 KO’s) and IBF Super Bantamweight king Israel Vasquez (38-3, 27 KO’s) in this, their third meeting and two come backing former world champions in Vernon “The Viper” Forrest (37-2, 28 KO’s) and Ike “Bazooka” Quartey (36-2-1, 30 KO’s) in separate bouts. Also featured on the card is undefeated Super Lightweight prospect Demetrius “The Gladiator” Hopkins (21-0-1, 8 KO’s), Bernard's nephew.
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