Sunday, September 30, 2007

Who's Seeing the Ghost?


(Photo: Ed Mulholland)

Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik rebounded from a second-round drubbing to demolish former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor in the seventh round.

Taylor, who entered the fight with much to prove against following two lousy decision wins against smaller fighters, entered the ring with a focus that had not been seen since his challenge of Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins.

Taylor had his game face on as the round started and was jabbing and straight right handing with the longer armed Pavlik, even if he was losing the uphill climb. Then in the second, Taylor exploded a right hand on Pavlik's chin and after a few more, downed the taller fighter. Only Pavlik's superior conditioning and heart helped him get out of the round.

Maybe it was exhaustion from Taylor's assault. Maybe Pavlik's continued work rate following near-disaster aided Taylor's impotence. Or maybe Taylor just fell in love with his power and forgot to keep his hands up and keep circling to his right. Whatever the reason round three spelled the beginning of his downfall.

After close rounds between the third and sixth, Taylor kept moving to his left, with his left down and began to eat rights at an alarming rate. It doesn't matter who you are and what you're pedigree is, but when a puncher is tagging you with his best punch,you don;t eat and not expect it to wear you down.

Finally, in the fateful seventh round, Taylor was tagged with yet another flush right hand. This time he couldn't shake it off and Pavlik, who's as good a finisher as anyone in boxing today, followed with a barrage punctuated by a monster left hook that violently and quietly slumped Taylor in Pavlik's corner. The count was academic. Taylor was beaten down.

In the post-fight interview, Taylor said he would like rematch. Nobody ever accused Taylor of ducking anyone, but this is a match he may want to build again to fight. Maybe he will learn from his mistake, but the guess is that Pavlik will be too strong for him. Or maybe Taylor learns how to better finish off a man while he's focused.

The other pertinent question is, "Who is seeing "The Ghost" in the ring?"

A current look at the Ring middleweight rankings is like looking at a prison's lunch menu; appalling.

For now, only two real names stick out. Ronald "Winky" Wright and Arthur Abraham. Winky hides in his defense and Abraham straight brings it. Both would be good to see what they can bring out of Pavlik.

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