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Back from a long hiatus: Pavlik/Taylor II post fight wrap up!

Boxing fans, I have been away from this site for a while, but a new year has been upon for a month and a half now. Guess what? This year is picking up where 2007 left off in terms of big intriguing fights.

Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor fought their rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last weekend. The fight, which will be shown on HBO tomorrow night, was televised live on HBO PPV.

Let me start off by saying that I knew this fight was going 12 rounds. Very rarely do you see a great fight, which ended in a KO, end within the distance a 2nd time in a row. Usually, a rematch of a crowdpleasing fight that ended in a brutal stoppage is not as exciting and it goes the distance based on the improvements of both combatant's defense (especially Taylor is this case). As it turned out, Pavlik defeated Taylor for the second consecutive time. This time, however, it was by means of unanimous decision. The official scores were 117-111, 116-112, and 115-113. Watching this fight at my favorite local Sports bar Miami Mike's, I thought the fight was closely contested. Boxing Chronicles scored the fight a draw at 114-114. This fight was pretty much witin the neighborhood of 7-5 for either guy or a draw.

While Pavlik virtually outworked Taylor down the stretch in the final two rounds, Taylor boxed better the first nine rounds than he has in the last three years of his career. Scoring of the fight depends on whether the viewers liked Pavlik's sheer activity or Taylor's cleaner punching. I liked both respective attributes on the part of two world class pugilists. Hence, the draw on my scorecard. The official judges obviously went with the busier fighter. No argument on my end, nor should there be any argument from any of the fans or media. Even though he lost two in a row, the effort Taylor put forth to exact revenge did nothing to dampen or reduce his credibity.

I thought both guys fought a tremendous fight. In terms of a rematch living up to an original classic, that is about as close as it gets to matching the intensity, drama, and action as the fight. While it didn't quite match the brawl that they staged in Atlantic City last September, it was a highly entertaining and crowd pleasing rematch from my stand point.

Taylor's chin was never as weak as some people wanted to believe it was. It was not as though Taylor lost the first fight to Pavlik by stoppage because he had a weak chin. That's completely inaccurate. He lost because he was worn down by an accumulation of punches. Anybody who gets hit with about 20 right hands, clean on the noggin, is inevitably going to collapse. If Taylor's chin was ever as weak some people suggested, he would've been blown out by one punch. Pavlik landed a lot of punches over the course of the 19 rounds he fought with Taylor. Taylor would not have gone 19 rounds with a puncher like Pavlik if his chin was made of glass.

Where do both boxers go from here?

For Pavlik, it's a return to middleweight. His 166lb tussle with Taylor was merely a one night stand. According to Pavlik's promoter Bob Arum, Pavlik's next outing will be a defense of Middleweight Championship that will likely take place at Madison Square Garden in NY in June, either against John Duddy or Felix Trinidad. Pavlik vs Trinidad for the Middleweight Championship? So soon after Trinidad lost a fight to Roy Jones Jr at 170lbs last month? Knowing that Trinidad has fought three times in the last six years? We'll see if the governing bodies are willing to sanction that contest as a championship fight under those circumstances.

As for Taylor, he could find himself in the ring with Jones later this year. Either way, we can all be assured that Taylor's days at 160lbs are long gone. Look for him to campaign as a super middleweight when he does return to the ring again. After two grueling fights with Pavlik, Taylor is probably served taking some time off. From 2005 up until last weekend, Taylor has fought Hopkins twice, Winky Wright, Kasim Ouma, Cory Spinks, and Pavlik back to back. A rest is long over due for Taylor.