Friday, September 29, 2017

Today In Youngstown Boxing History: Pavlik Defeats Taylor 10 Years Ago Today to Become World Middleweight Champion


There are some moments in life that you will just always remember where you were when they happened, and watching Kelly Pavlik defeat Jermaine Taylor to become the lineal middleweight champion of the world is definitely one of those moments.

It's hard to believe it was 10 years ago today that I was sitting with a few friends and co-workers in my manager's basement with lot's of food, drinks, and excitement, a scene that was probably common over the Mahoning Valley.

Though Vegas had Pavlik as a moderate underdog that night in Atlantic City, the pro-Pavlik crowd believed in the Ghost just as much as I did sitting in that basement, even after Jermaine Taylor came out strong.

In the opening round, both fighters traded some nice jabs and blows and combinations but in the second round, Taylor showed why he was the champion as he floored Pavlik midway through the round with a barrage of punches after a hard right hand initially stunned the challenger from Youngstown.

Pavlik would survive the second round despite Taylor applying more pressure and landing some nice blows at will before Pavlik found his legs again towards the end of the round. 

Despite the rough second round, Pavlik asserted himself in the third round and bullied Taylor into the ropes and landed some nice blows early in the round before landing a nice combination later in the round. 

As the fight wore on, both fighters had moments of being in control, that was until the seventh round when Pavlik landed a flush right hand to the head of Taylor that staggered him back towards a corner where Pavlik jumped on him and landed punch after punch until referee Steve Smoger jumped in to stop the fight at the 2:14 mark of the round.

At the time of the stoppage, Pavlik was down on all three scorecards as Julie Lederman had it 59-54, and both John Stewart and Guido Cavalleri had it 58-55 all favor of Taylor. 

With the victory, Pavlik claimed the WBC, WBO, and The Ring Magazine titles, becoming the fifth Youngstown boxer to win a world title joining Ray Mancini, Harry Arroyo, Jeff Lampkin, and Greg Richardson. 

The Boxing Writers Association named the bout the Fight of the Year.

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