Jermain Taylor definitely down, but is he out?
By Benny Henderson Jr., DoghouseBoxing (April 29, 2009) Photo © Tom Casino / SHOWTIME  
Many fighters that have boxed in the bang for your buck sport have come to a crossroads in their career, and it would seem that if you lose three out of your last four bouts as Jermain Taylor has, you would be humming the famed tune by The Clash, “Should I stay or should I go.”

At this time it does not appear that the song is even ringing in the champs head, but the band has to be tuning up for an upcoming show if the downslide slowly continues.

At one time there were high hopes for the 2000 Bronze Medalist, a media darling if you will who was showcased regularly on HBO as he defeat all in his path on his way to world championship stardom as well as all star status.

Outside the ropes and prior to becoming a solidified champ, Taylor came from the school of hard knocks, but persevered to reach the stars so to speak to become a world champion.

Managed by Lou DiBella, the pride of Arkansas began his journey to the top. Wins over Raul Marquez (TKO 9), William Joppy (UD) and Daniel Edouard (TKO 3) had the fans and media talking. His close decision win over the legendary Bernard Hopkins in the summer of 2005 made him a unified champion.

Taylor went on to defeat Hopkins again; the second go around unanimously before fighting to a draw against Ronald “Winky” Wright in ’06, a fight that many thought could of have or should have gone against him.

His two lackluster wins over Kassim Ouma and Cory Spinks – mostly on the shoulders of his opponent’s due to their lack of effort – although not that entertaining, seemed to keep Taylor in control.

But the end of his reign came to a sudden halt when Taylor was stopped by then unknown Kelly Pavlik in seven rounds, and matters got worse for Taylor when he lost the rematch against Pavlik, catapulting Pavlik to stardom and dropping Taylor from a high quality shine to a fogged unclear career.

Nine months after his second loss to Pavlik, Taylor got back on the winning track by defeating Jeff Lacy with a tactical performance in the WBC super middleweight title eliminator.

All seemed to be back in order for Taylor, who was ready for another world title shot in taking on the undefeated Englishman Carl Froch this past weekend, for Froch’s WBC 168-pound title.

Many boxing fans, as well as media (including myself) had their money pinned on Jermain Taylor to send Froch back across the pond beltless, but what the boxing world was not aware of, Froch had a little surprise for us all, including Taylor.

Winning on two of the three scorecards going in to the twelfth and final round, Taylor seemed to be on his way to another world title, but after being staggered and ultimately knocked down by Froch, Jermain’s dream of earning himself another title was in jeopardy. Although reaching his feet in a whole hearted effort to keep his win intact, Taylor was sliced down by Froch with fourteen seconds to the final bell, giving Froch his hard earned win, and Taylor his third loss out of his last four bouts.

So where does the former champ go from here?

Well, we have seen fighters in the past rise from the ashes to once again claim supremacy; Wladimir Klitschko had two losses just a year apart and seemed to be going out the door, but now is at the top of the crop of the heavyweight division. Bernard Hopkins went 2-3 and seemed to be parting ways from the sweet science when he shocked a lot of the boxing population by putting Kelly Pavlik through a boxing clinic. So there should be no reason for Taylor not to jump back in the mix of it all and get another world title shot. Jermain is calling for a rematch with Froch, and who would not want to see that throwdown once again?

But with the crop of contenders and titleholders such as Froch, Lucien Bute, Mikkel Kessler, Allan Green, Andre Ward, Jean Pascal, Edison Miranda and Anthony Mundine (just to name a few) who are standing in Taylor’s way, or who are lurking in the shadows, it might be more feasible for Taylor to get those vocal cords warmed up for a rendition of The Clash, but this is the boxing biz, and we all know anything can happen.

One thing for certain, Taylor is definitely down, but at this point in time, not necessarily out. Time shall tell the tale.

You can listen to Bob Carroll, Butch and “THE Big Dog” Benny Henderson Jr. every Wednesday night from 6-7pm EST on Fightin’ Words Radio Show. To listen live via the internet, go to www.1490wwpr.com and look for the ‘listen here’ tab. Don't forget to check out the Fightin' Words Radio Show website, www.fightinwordsonline.com

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