In two days, the greatest fight of 2007 will resume in the MGM in Las Vegas when Jermain Taylor seeks revenge against Kelly Pavlik after suffering a devastating knockout last September in Madison Square Garden. The fight is at a 166-pound catch weight, so no matter what happens Pavlik is still the middleweight champion.
However, I find it intriguing that Taylor has stated that he has no particular strategy coming into the fight, other than to slug it out with Pavlik for 12 rounds (assuming he lasts anywhere near that long). Logic would indicate that Taylor's best bet is to box from a safe distance for 12 rounds and rely on the judges who love him to deliver him a gift-wrapped decision, like Julie Lederman was about to do in September before Pavlik wisely took it out of her hands. Granted, that would be the coward's way out, and I applaud Taylor for at least willing to go toe to toe with the most fearsome middleweight puncher since Tommy Hearns.
That having been said, this fight favors Pavlik in so many ways. He's a naturally bigger man who could stand to be even more powerful at 166 pounds. He's durable, as he proved in September after surviving a flurry from Taylor that would have taken out most fighters. He's got a psychological edge, with no one knowing how Taylor will react to being in the ring with the man who beat him so soon after. But most importantly, Pavlik has the power and the natural instincts of a finisher. His punches slowly wore Taylor down in September and they will do it again. Honestly, Taylor's best bet is that Pavlik pulls a Roy Jones and develops a sudden glass jaw. Otherwise, it's going to be a long and painful night for Taylor.
Other brief tidbits on this Valentine's Day
1. I couldn't stop laughing when I read that the only thing blocking a Jason Kidd Mavericks reunion was little Devean "Please trade me" George, he of the illustrious 0-11 shooting night. What's ironic is he's trying to protect Early Bird rights when blocking this trade means the Mavericks won't want to re-sign him anyway. He's gone, one way or the other.
2. Way to go, Arlen Specter. I'll be looking for that anti-trust yankety yank sometime before Election Day.
3. Memo to the Philadelphia Phillies: PAY RYAN HOWARD!!! Or at least trade him to Texas and we'll pay him.
4. If Floyd Mayweather comes back, it needs to be against Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito or Kermit Cintron, not Oscar De La Hoya. Ricky Hatton proved that Floyd could get hit, and Floyd proved that De La Hoya couldn't hit him. Another safe decision win for Mayweather (Yawn).
5. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of the Dallas Cowboys drafting Felix Jones and not trading up for Darren McFadden. And the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of the Dolphins taking Chris Long and not Glenn Dorsey.
6. The Phoenix Suns, last time I checked, are a running team. Shaquille O'Neal, last time I checked, could barely walk. What the hell just happened?
7. With all the power in major league baseball today, it's amazing that the Texas Rangers don't have a single outfielder in camp who produced 20 homers last season.
Until Next Time