Saturday, February 16, 2008

:boxing: Least Expectations?:: Pavlik vs Taylor II

Five months. It has only been that scant amount of time since the cataclysmic battle of the undefeated middleweights commenced. Kelly Pavlik, nearly losing his head (and the fight) in the second round, surged back and defeated the champion, Jermain Taylor with a crushing seventh round KO. As HBO's god slumped to the ground in the corner, many whispered hushed sentiments about whether it was the end of the era of him. A good deal of the scribes would tell you that his unpolished style and bad fighting habits were his undoing and that the gangly warrior from the old mining town had more than a passing chance of winning, though high prophet Jim Lampley and company would lead you to believe otherwise. Alas, we gather in the old square den once again to see if the new king of the middleweights can dispatch of the former once more...lest he rises from his ashes and lays claim to what used to be....

Alright, placing the much-wrought analogous prose aside, there is, in reality, not very much to really talk about with this match. The first fight (further) exposed the numerous critical flaws in then-champion Taylor and Pavlik dug in after a disastrous second round and made the most of it. Now that he's back with the man that first got him into the sport, "Bad Intentions" may have been able to patch up the holes that led to his downfall and perhaps even restore a bit of that potential that caught everyone's eye prior to the first Hopkins bout. However, Pavlik has encountered both his the good side and bad and now has vital knowledge on how to make him crack. As energetic as he is, Taylor will most likely want to get to ahold of his former crown quickly and....well this is beginning to sound an awful lot like what happened in September. This time, Pavlik needs to keep his own head on straight, as his slight show of cockiness and relaxation nearly made him look like an eternal laughingstock early in that premiere match-up. The very same may happen again in some form tonight, but I doubt that it will be as big a concern or possibility as before as long as it is not late in the fight (late-round conditioning, on the other hand, has never been Taylor's strong suit). More of the same may sound great considering how good the bout was the last time around, though I don't think that it will be as it was then...

Prediction: Pavlik, KO 4 (if overconfident, Taylor KO in any round). Pavlik would be a fool to underestimate the uncouth, but still dangerous, Taylor, who could KTFO him with finality in any round under those circumstances. That being said, I'm not sure how much the latter has re-progressed, and when the heat of the battle kicks in, would it be the revamped Taylor that is present or the reckless wrecking ball with the wide punches and poor, near-non-existent guarding? It may truly be a mixture of both, though I think that the old "Bad Habits" will take the greater share--and possibly the blame for the loss.


Outcome: Pavlik, UD. It appears that the trainer switch may have aided Taylor in making his rematch effort a hard-fought and close one. However, reports seem to suggest that Pavlik managed close out stronger and remain champion. Now, it's onward--unfortunately--to a proposed match-up with the recently-dominated Felix Trinidad...

P.S.: The bout was a non-title one, so the WBC and WBO belts that Pavlik have were not on the line, as I originally thought. My mistake.

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