TAYLOR BEATS HOPKINS FOR MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE!
Las Vegas, NV-If you wanted to describe the Jermain Taylor-BernardHopkins fight, thats how best to do so. The youth, vigor, size, andstrength of Jermain Taylor prevailed in seven of the twelve rounds fought. Butit wasnt pretty, and it wasnt easy for the new World champion from LittleRock, AR. Winning the first four frames as though it was scripted by the Taylorcamp, Hopkins did just enough in the fifth to get a 10-10 call from me., Las Vegas, NV-If you wanted to describe the Jermain Taylor-BernardHopkins fight, thats how best to do so. The youth, vigor, size, andstrength of Jermain Taylor prevailed in seven of the twelve rounds fought. Butit wasnt pretty, and it wasnt easy for the new World champion from LittleRock, AR. Winning the first four frames as though it was scripted by the Taylorcamp, Hopkins did just enough in the fifth to get a 10-10 call from me.
FIGHT WAS JERMAINS TO “WIN OR LOSE!”
Thus, the writing was on the wall right? All Jermain, 160 lbs., had to do waskeep himself composed and hed win going away. Not so fast, after that evenfifth stanza, Bernard, 160 lbs, seemed like he was about to get his groove on. Not so, as he didnt win another round until the 10th. By hiscapturing the final three frames, Hopkins, also 160, would make things closerthan first imagined, but I still had Jermain up 116-113 at the final bell.
ROTH HAS WORST NIGHT IN MANY YEARS
Much to the surprise Im sure of everybody but Mrs.Jerry Roth, judge Jerry Roth had more than just a bad night as he called it for Hopkins 8-4in rounds, or 116-112. Thank goodness Duane Ford and Paul Smith wereon point as they tabbed Taylor a 115-113 winner, thus via split decisionJermain Taylor is the new World middleweight champion. To say this was prettywould be a lie. But a lot of that had to do with a 40-year old man fighting onmemory and fumes. With the exception of some right hands down the stretch,Bernard did little offensively over 12 rounds. Taylor, who also weighed 160, heis now 24-0. Hopkins, of Philadelphia loses for the first time in 12 years todecline to 46-3-1.
BERNARD NOT NAIVE ENOUGH TO THINK HE WAS IN IT!
That little act put on by Hopkins when the decision wasannounced for Taylor was just that, an act. Even Bernard had to realize thathe, like Marvin Hagler with RayLeonard some 18 years ago, its tough to make upground after losing the first four heats somewhat decidedly. As for Taylor, heis as green as guacamole and it showed. By putting his head out over his feet,his balance was at times impaired. The dropping of the right hand whilejabbing, pointed out by Roy Jones Jr., that maybe a flaw so intertwined in the fighters makeup that hecan never correct it.
LARIOS HAMMERS “POCKET-ROCKET” IN STOPPAGE!
If only a few of the heavyweights in boxing had the stonesof a Wayne McCullough, thedivision would be the talk of the sports world. But they would be touting himas the real life Rocky Balboa. Theguy that takes anything you got, and then some more, this was McCulloughSaturday night as he tried for the second consecutive fight to wrest the World122 lb. title from Oscar Larios.McCullough, 120 lbs, originally out of Belfast, Ireland, and now living in LasVegas, he was just too small to have a real impact on Larios who was declaredthe winner after Dr. Margaret Goodman, at the urging of promoter Dan Goossen,called a halt after the tenth round.
PRAISE THE ABILITY OF LARIOS, & THE “STONES” OF WAYNE!
The now 27-6 McCullough, he desperately wanted to finishon his feet. But when you consider the punishment he took over the prior tenrounds, the stoppage may have been a round or two too late! No knockdowns,although there were times when McCullough looked unsteady. Larios, 122, now56-3-1, he threw some tremendous combinations over the 30 minutes of battle.The body shots he let go with were thrown in beautiful combinations throughout,and they made you wince for McCullough who was protesting the in between roundsstoppage vehemently.
MONTIEL NO LONGER HAS THE “SIZZLE!”
HBOs Larry Merchant was right when hestated that 115 lb. Fernando Montiel, he doesnt have the “sizzle” he had before MarkJohnson defeated him a couple of years ago.Against a pedestrian foe in Nicaraguan Evert Briceno, Montiel floundered down the stretch, before prevailing onscores of 118-110, & 117-111 twice! Montiel of Mexico is now 31-1, andBriceno, also 115, he drops 21-3 in this WBO 115 lb. title scrap.
FORREST BURNS BY HAPLESS OPPONENT!
The return of Vernon Forrest was either magnificent, or disappointing, depending on how youlook at things. First of all at 154 lbs, the former welterweight (147) championlooked the part of a junior middleweight. Unfortunately for JoseRios, he either froze like a deer in theheadlights, or he couldnt spell the word f-i-g-h-t period! Needless to say,Rios, 154 1/2, out of Mexico, he was dropped twice in the second by theGeorgian Forrest, this before the referee mercifully called a halt to themismatch at the 2:40 mark. Vernon ascends to 37-2, with KO 27. Rios declines to17-2-1, (15 KOs). Pedro FernandezContact thewriter Pedro@RingTalk.com