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JERMAIN TAYLOR VS KELLY PAVLIK
KELLY PAVLIK -190
JERMAIN TAYLOR +160
TOTAL ROUNDS - over 10½+145
TOTAL ROUNDS - under10½-175
Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik square off in their rematch this Saturday Night, February 16th. Unlike their first fight, the Middleweight Championship of the World will not be on the line. The rematch clause stipulated that the 2nd fight would take place at 166 lbs which means even if Jermain Taylor wins, Pavlik retains his Middleweight title.
But this fight is more about whether the career of Jermain Taylor will go down as a bust, or whether Taylor will continue on as a top fighter in today's game. Like most top fighters today, Taylor built his record against a string of unknowns with a few big names thrown in who were at the end of their careers, including Bernard Hopkins, who, with no disrespect, was over 40 when they fought. Since the Hopkins fights, Taylor has looked average at best, with a controversial draw against Winky Wright and a couple of decisions against Kassim Ouma and Cory Spinks (both southpaws) before being floored by Kelly Pavlik in their first fight.
Successfully betting on boxing requires the ability to find value which often times means finding live underdogs. In Jermain Taylor, perhaps we have a live underdog Saturday Night. Let's look at why that might be.
For Starters, Taylor was ahead on the scorecards in the first fight until he was knocked out. Of the first 6 rounds, Taylor won 5 of them, including the 2nd round in which he knocked down Pavlik and had him out on his feet more than once, but couldn't finish him off. Punch stats had Taylor landing 49% to Pavliks 39%. In the end, that didn't matter, as Taylor was KO'd in the 7th, and hey, if the fight went the distance, Pavlik may have even won a decision as Taylor was tiring and more than likely would have struggled down the stretch. But it shows you that the talent is there. It shows you that Taylor could get Pavlik out of there if he can finish, and also shows you that Taylor can out point Pavlik if his conditioning is right and he doesn't fade down the stretch.
There will be some big obstacles for Taylor to overcome. Such as, this fight takes place at 166 lbs as opposed to the Middleweight weight of 160. Who does that favor? That more than likely favors Pavlik because in our eyes, for Taylor to win, he'll have to use his superior speed to win a decision. The added weight could slow down Taylor.
Another major obstacle for Taylor is last fights result. A knock out. Many fighters are never the same after having been knocked out. Taylor's chin, in general, has to be questioned after the last fight. Do we have another Terry Norris here?
One last obstacle is trainer Emanuel Steward. Taylor dumped Steward in favor of Ozell Nelson, who was in his corner in his early days and has been a long time friend and mentor. The feeling here is, this is a good move that favors Taylor. Many suggest Taylor and Steward simply didn't mesh, and hey, sometimes, you just can't teach an old dog new tricks. Perhaps Steward was more of a negative on Taylor to begin with. Taylor and company believe that endurance played a role in the loss last time out, and suggested that endurance wasn't an area of concentration with Emanuel, whereas as this time around, it's a priority.
I think we all know the blueprint for success for Jermain Taylor in this rematch. Work that left Jab all night long setting up those combinations that the judges love. Simply, out box Pavlik and avoid getting caught. We already know he can handle the first part of the equation.........out boxing Pavlik. The question remains, can he avoid getting caught this time around. The feeling here is, yes he can. Most fighters will tell you that it's not that difficult to avoid getting knocked out if that's your intention going in. It makes for boring fights, with lots of clinching and grabbing, but it's a strategy nonetheless. That's what we'd expect to see from Taylor Saturday Night. Punches in bunches to go along with the jab, and lots of holding and clinching to avoid the exchanges inside.
A career is on the line Saturday Night. Expect Jermain Taylor to find a way to win. While he hasn't looked great his last 4 fights or so, give his opponents credit. Just about all of those fighters are impossible to look good against. Wright, Hopkins, Spinks. Yet, he didn't lose to any of them. Losing only to Pavlik and now just 5 months later, a shot at revenge. Expect Taylor to build up a big early lead on the score cards and hang on to win a decision as he once again tires down the stretch.
OUR PICK - JERMAIN TAYLOR +160
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