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Boxing News: Jermain Taylor Says He's Ready For Hopkins

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This week Jermain Taylor, middleweight boxing's rising star, participated in a national media conference call to promote his upcoming showdown with Bernard Hopkins. The two will meet  in a fight being billed as “NeXt in Line” on Saturday, July 16 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The card will be televised on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9pm EST/6pm PST.

NORMAN HORTON: Good afternoon, this is Norman Horton and on behalf of Team Taylor and DiBella Entertainment , we would like to thank all members of the media for their participation in this call today. On the line we have Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment; Pat Burns, trainer for Jermaine Taylor; and Jermaine Taylor. First we’ll open it up with opening statements from Lou DiBella and Pat Burns and then we’ll be open for questions.

LOU DIBELLA, PRESIDENT, DIBELLA ENTERTAINMENT: Everybody thank you for joining us and things in Team Taylor are proceeding exactly as we would have hoped. Jermaine’s in great shape, he’ll tell you about that. His training camp could not have gone any better so far and Pat will tell you a little bit about that in a minute. What’s going to happen on July 16th is a little bit of what you’ve seen in the recent past and what’s going to happen on July 16th is that youth is going to be served.

And Jermaine is bigger, younger, stronger and faster than Bernard Hopkins and on July 16th he’s going to prove that he’s also better. And the end of the Hopkins era is coming and there’s going to be a new sheriff in town, a new undisputed middle-weight champion on July 16th, and I think that people are going to be in for a treat when they watch this fight because, even though we do view Bernard Hopkins as a master, even though he does know every trick in the book, even though he has been a great champion, his day is coming to an end on July 16th. And Pat:

NORMAN HORTON: Pat go ahead.

PAT BURNS, TRAINER: Yes, yeah, just to reiterate what Lou said. It’s been a terrific training camp. Jermaine just came in psychologically prepared for this fight. He’s really wanted this fight for a long time and his wish has come true. He’s been training extremely hard. Just looks like a bear and I anticipate him having a great night.

LOU DIBELLA: I guess we can open up for questions.

NORMAN HORTON: We’ll open it up for questions, absolutely.

OPERATOR: Thank you. If you have a question or a comment, please press star, one, on your touchtone phones at this time. Once again that’s star, one, on your touchtone telephone.

The first question comes from Dan Rafael of ESPN.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN: Hi Jermaine, how are we doing today?

PAT BURNS: Actually Jermaine is standing by. I’m going to go ahead and put him on now, OK Norm?

DAN RAFAEL: I’ll start with Lou if he’s there.

LOU DIBELLA: I’m here.

NORMAN HORTON: OK.

DAN RAFAEL: Lou, we just were on the phone with Bernard a little while ago, right before this call, and he talked very much about this was personal for him and he was clearly speaking about your relationship with him or lack thereof.

LOU DIBELLA: I’m not talking about my relationship with Bernard Hopkins anymore. I’m not talking about my victories over him in court anymore. I’m not talking about his agenda anymore. I’m talking about a fight and the fight’s between Bernard Hopkins and Jermaine Taylor and from now on, between now and the date of the right my focus is on my fighter and my fighter winning that fight and Bernard Hopkins can say whatever he wants to about me. You know, I’m taking the high road which is a place he’s never been.

DAN RAFAEL: OK then.

PAT BURNS: Dan, I’m going to give the phone over, do you have any questions for me, Dan, before I go and give it to Jermaine?

DAN RAFAEL: You know what, I’d like to. If Jermaine is there that’d be great Pat.

PAT BURNS: OK hold on a second. Dan Rafael.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Hello.

DAN RAFAEL: Hey Jermaine.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Hey how you doing?

DAN RAFAEL: I’m good. Jermaine, can you talk a little about what so far in your first 20 plus fights has prepared you for the challenge that you have ahead of you? What makes you believe that you’re prepared for this sort of challenge?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: It’s not just my first, all the fights I’ve had, that’s like, my whole life has prepared me for this, you know, and I’ve wanted this all my life and I’ve been waiting on this moment, and now it’s my turn. You know, it’s finally come to pass. That’s what I’ve got training hard as to like, I work harder than any boxer I know and now I’m just ready to fight.

DAN RAFAEL: Anything into the particular fights though that has made you believe that you’re ready to face the best guy in the world?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I just feel like, it’s my style of boxing and my work habits. I’m a hard worker when I get into the gym.

DAN RAFAEL: Now one thing. I know you’re training down in Miami and Bernard’s training down there also. Somebody had said to me that you guys were actually out running one day and you sort of, I don’t know if you crossed paths or you saw each other. Is that true, and if so, can you explain the circumstances of that?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: It was a rumor, ain’t nothing happen like that.

DAN RAFAEL: You never saw each other then?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: No, I never seen him out on a run, I don’t think. He probably seen me, but I ain’t never seen Bernard on a run.

DAN RAFAEL: OK. Thanks a lot Jermaine.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: OK.

OPERATOR: Thank you. The next question comes from Chris Murray of Philadelphia Tribune.

CHRIS MURRAY, PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE: How you doing there Jermaine, how’s everything going?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I’m doing great, how about yourself?

CHRIS MURRAY: I’m hanging in there. Look, what convinces you that you can beat Bernard Hopkins? The guy has seemingly impenetrable defense and guys like Oscar De La Hoya and other folks have tried, Felix Trinidad. What makes you different from those fighters and how do you think you’ll penetrate his, his defense?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Well I think my style of boxing is going to penetrate it. I’ve got a good jab, I work all 12 rounds. I’m coming to fight. Well I’m actually coming to win.

CHRIS MURRAY: OK. And my next question, I understand your wife – well I know your wife plays basketball in Louisiana Tech. Has she given you any assistance in terms of training? Has she worked with you a little bit, or, you know, I know you’re both athletes and all that? Has she given you any insights on and how you’re going to prepare for this fight?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Really, all she goes is, she gives me peace of mind at home. You know, she takes care of our daughter, but as far as boxing, I handle it.

CHRIS MURRAY: OK. Thanks.

OPERATOR: Thank you. The next question comes from Lem Satterfield of Baltimore Sun.

LEM SATTERFIELD, BALTIMOR SUN: Hey you can’t get that name right, but that’s all right. Hey, Jermaine, I know you say, Lou said youth will be served, but you know, a lot of guys have made mistakes in counting on a guy getting old in the ring. One of the things Bernard did when he prepared for De La Hoya is he went back and looked at tapes of De La Hoya against Trinidad, you know, that kind of thing. Is that in any way something you’re doing? I mean, you might be telling us you’re going after an old man but are you preparing for Bernard that, you know, may not get old that night.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Exactly. Actually I’ve been watching the stage and the man is, is still a dangerous fighter. I mean I’m not taking that away from him. As far as him getting old, you know, nobody going to (inaudible). I know, you know, even if he does could always stay on and fight, you know?

LEM SATTERFIELD: You expecting him anymore desperate in terms of some of the tricks that he may use? I know Lou is very, Lou, we see Lou sometimes in, you know, at other fights, and he’ll tell us some of the things Bernard is doing in the ring and, you know, I’m sure Lou has given you a lot of insight.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: He has. I know how Bernard fights. I mean if that’s how you want to bring it, then I’m going to take it to that level too. You know, if you want to make it out a dirty fight, then it’s going to be a dirty fight, cause I ain’t backing down from nobody.

LEM SATTERFIELD: Another thing, now I understand that publicly you’re very cordial, you know, about Bernard. You know, you say you like him, you express a lot of admiration for him, but, you know, I understand that secretly, you know, maybe when you’re in training or with some of your other, you know, people, you have kind of developed somewhat of an acrimony for him. Maybe, you know, a possible visceral dislike.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I mean no. I’ve never said that because, you know, I’ve been boxing for 14 years and if I got mad at all my opponents I’d be the meanest person in the world. I mean, this is a sport. Of course, me and him are going to fight. I mean, I’m going to get in the ring, me and him going to fight regardless. So, whether I like him or I don’t like him, I don’t think it’d make a difference. I mean, he’s a human being, outside the ring and when we get in the ring I’m going to take care of business. I’m a boxer, that’s what I do. As far as outside the ring, it don’t make a difference, I’d take him out to eat or whatever, you know.

LEM SATTERFIELD: OK. Last question; when you say you’re going fight, he made a conscious effort not to go after De La Hoya and I think that crossed that De La Hoya blew up a little bit. A lot of people thought he was just going to go after De La Hoya and just try to beat him down and he actually kind of lured him into more of a boxing match. Is that something you’re prepared for? I know it’s a dumb question but can you, you know, enlighten us a little bit?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I’m prepared for everything. I’m prepared if he comes in, you know, he try to be dirty. I’m prepared if he waits and tries to steal around with those lower flurry of punches. I’m prepared for everything. I’ve trained hard; I’ve done all I’m supposed to in the gym. On the 16th I’m gonna prove it.

LEM SATTERFIELD: Great. Thanks a lot Jermaine. Good luck.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. The next question comes from Chris Givens of Arkansas Democrat.

CHRIS GIVENS, ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT: Say hey Jermaine, how ya doing?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: What’s up Chris, how ya doing B?

CHRIS GIVENS: Doing good; just listening to the tone of some of these questions and hearing some of the things that Bernard said, if people outside in the boxing world view that you as the underdog, does that both you, because you probably haven’t been an underdog in this situation before? And how is your mental approach?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Well I’ve never been an underdog, no sire I haven’t, but I’m not worried about it. You know, it is a difference, I mean, I’ll be coming out to the ring first and he’ll be coming last, you know, I mean, of course there’s a different feeling but I ain’t worried about it at all. I can’t wait to get in that ring and just take care of business and have a good titlist box.

CHRIS GIVENS: Bernard made the comment a few minutes ago, he said oh well he is not in Arkansas anymore and, you know, he’s in the bright lights of Vegas. Does that thought intimidate you? You’ve done this before but does the fact that you’ll be up on the marquee and this is a big fight for you, does it intimidate you at all?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: No sir, it’s not going to intimidate me at all and it’s actually going to help me out. I mean, it’s going to keep me on my toes; it’s going to keep me on point. You know, I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it.

CHRIS GIVENS: Last thing I’ve got for you before I see you in Vegas. Is it, does it make you feel good knowing that there’s a lot of people from Arkansas that are actually making the trip to Vegas, and then the support, do you feel it in Miami and will you feel it in Vegas?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I feel, it feels wonderful. I mean just to know that I am going to have my people there with me. They will be calling the holds and I can’t wait until they do it. As soon as I get a hold card then I go wild, you know what I’m saying? I can’t wait babe, I’m looking forward to it.

CHRIS GIVENS: All right we’ll see you down there. Thank you, Jermaine.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Take care.

OPERATOR: Thank you. We have a follow-up question from Chris Murray of Philadelphia Tribune.

CHRIS MURRAY: Yeah. My question is who have you fought in your career that has been similar to Bernard Hopkins? Is there anyone that’s similar to him in terms of ability or in terms of stature, mentality or whatever? Is there anyone similar to him?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I’m gonna say no one. I’m gonna say I just take a little bit from each one of my opponents, that’s added to my bank, you know. And after I beat Bernard I’m going to take some of him and add that to my bank.

CHRIS MURRAY: How, how far do you envision the fight going? Do you think you can stop him?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I feel like it’s going to be a great fight but after I catch Bernard he will be asleep.

CHRIS MURRAY: OK, thank you.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: All right.

OPERATOR: Thank you. The next question comes from Robert Morales of Los Angeles Daily News.

ROBERT MORALES, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Hey Jermaine what’s going on man?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: How you doing?

ROBERT MORALES: I’m doing all right. Hey listen, you know, or thanks to Norman, you know, you and I talked on the phone for a while a couple of weeks ago.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Yeah.

ROBERT MORALES: Well one thing I didn’t get from you, cause, you know, we talked about how your mom is still working and you’ve asked her to quit and she won’t do it.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Yes sir.

ROBERT MORALES: Two things, how old is your mom now and do you think you might be able to talk her into quitting after this fight, especially if you win?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I hope so. Hopefully I’ll be able to put enough money in her bank account where, you know, she will just say, well I’m not going to work today, I don’t need help. My mom, how old is my mama, 43, I think.

ROBERT MORALES: How old is that?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Forty three I think.

ROBERT MORALES: Forty three, OK.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I think now, you know, I don’t want her to get mad I don’t want to put it up there too much.

ROBERT MORALES: Well as long as it’s younger than she really is she…

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s what I’m trying to do.

ROBERT MORALES: All right Jermaine. Hey thanks man I appreciate it.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Take care Rob.

OPERATOR: Thank you. We have a follow-up question from Dan Rafael of ESPN.

DAN RAFAEL: Hey Jermaine I had another question for you.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: OK.

DAN RAFAEL: I don’t know if you heard the beginning of the conversation where I asked Lou about the things that Bernard was saying about his relationship or lack thereof with Lou, and I wonder, does it make you uncomfortable to be in a situation…

LOU DIBELLA: Dan, could you just tell him what I did say in response to that?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Hi Lou.

LOU DIBELLA: Hi man, how are you Jermaine?

DAN RAFAEL: Lou said that he wasn’t going to talk about that situation. But I want to know from you how it feels to be sort of in the middle between, you know, the constant acrimony between Lou and Bernard, and if it has any impact whatsoever on anything that you do in relation to this fighter promotion?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I don’t feel like I’m in the middle. I asked Lou about it, he you know, he explained to me what happened and I left it at that, you know. As far as him and Lou, that’s between him and Lou. But I just, I just know there had to be a lot of love there, you know, cause they into it like they is.

DAN RAFAEL: Now, one of the things…

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I don’t worry about that.

DAN RAFAEL: Bernard has seems to be using it as motivation for himself. He says that when he’s in the ring, you know, he’ll be fighting you, he’ll be seeing Lou and, you know, said some things along those lines. Is that in any way…

LOU DIBELLA: I hope he is seeing me because I’m a lot slower, I don’t have a good jab. I hope he’s thinking about me the whole fight.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: You can use anything you want to. It don’t make a difference. I’m going in there and I’m going to take care of business. I’m not worried about nothing.

DAN RAFAEL: OK. Thanks a lot Jermaine.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: OK, take care.

OPERATOR: Thank you. The next question comes from Chris Cozzone of Fight News.

CHRIS COZZONE, FIGHT NEWS: Hey Jermaine. Bernard, in a teleconference before this one, talked about, he compared this fight with his 1993 fight against Roy Jones and how he was just a little bit, he was a little bit inexperienced to go up against Jones and he compares you to how he was when he stood up against Jones. What are your thoughts on that?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I watched him, I watched his Jones fight. I mean, he had nothing coming. I mean, he was just slow and Jones just gave up on him every time. As far as me, I know I’m a lot faster than Bernard. I’m a lot faster and a lot stronger. So if that’s what he comparing it to, you know, it’s going to be a long fight.

CHRIS COZZONE: He also said that he thinks you’re making a mistake by thinking just cause you’re bigger and a little faster, he says a little faster, that that’s to your advantage, but he says that it doesn’t mean that you’re going to win the fight and what happens if…

JERMAINE TAYLOR: It doesn’t. I mean, I’m sorry sir, I didn’t mean to cut you off.

CHRIS COZZONE: That’s OK go ahead.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: It doesn’t mean that I’m going to win the fight but I also have boxing skills and this is my style of boxing, how I use my jab and how I work my left hand. You know, that’s what’s going to win the fight.

CHRIS COZZONE: He also said what happens if he takes his jab away because he talked about taking it away?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Yeah.

CHRIS COZZONE: So let’s say he finds a way to take it away, how do you conquer that?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: He can’t take that jab away all 12 rounds like that. He can probably try it but he couldn’t only hold it for two rounds and, you know, everybody always got something. And say he does take the jab away, they don’t come with those vicious uppercuts cause if he take it away he going to have to lean in and as soon as he lean in he could be getting caught with the uppercut.

CHRIS COZZONE: OK. Thanks Jermaine.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: You’re welcome.

OPERATOR: Thank you. The next question comes from Rea Frey of Boxingtalk.net.

REA FREY, BOXINGTALK.NET: Hello Jermaine, how are you?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I’m doing good, how you doing?

REA FREY: Good. I just wanted to know if you see any weaknesses in Hopkins, just in his fighting style.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Any weaknesses. No, not really, I mean, of course you know that he’s getting older and he’s getting a lot smarter in the ring and he’s picking his punches a lot more, but as far as weaknesses, he’s a slow starter, you know, and I plan on capitalizing on that. That’s about it, I mean, he’s a great fighter. I’m not taking that away from him.

REA FREY: OK. What about, who inspires you as a fighter? Who keeps you motivated?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Who inspired me as a fighter?

REA FREY: I mean, who continues to inspire you as a fighter? Is there any fighter in particular, any person?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: No ma’am not really. It’s my coach, Olivera, he started me in boxing. He put the dream in my head and I just, I took it and ran with it.

REA FREY: OK, great. Thank you so much.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. The next question comes from George Smith of Ringside Report.com.

GEORGE SMITH, RINGSIDE REPORT.COM: Hello George Diaz Smith here. How you doing Jermaine?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I’m doing good, how are you doing?

GEORGE SMITH: Good, great. Bernard looks to taking you through eight and nine hard fought rounds to eventually where you’re down to the body. How would you counter that, you know, determined measure? And also, Jermaine, also Jermaine, Hop says that he will land the first hard punch and that will still taking you in deep later. What are you observations from that and are you ready for that punch?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: He said…

GEORGE SMITH: He said two-folded things. One was that he would take you deep through eight and nine hard fought rounds. Essentially that would mean, you know, working your body. But he also said that in the beginning of the fight, and I guess that this proves that he’s a slow starter, that he was going to land the first hard punch, and are you ready for that punch in any eventuality that he may, you know, take you there?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I think I am ready for that punch and as far as him talking about he going to come out eight rounds and go hard, you know, I’m not worried about that either, because, you know, that’s not his style I mean, and if he is switching up then, you know, then he switches up. What I’m saying is however he bring it, I’m going to take it to him. It don’t make a difference how he bring it. There is nothing he can do to beat me, nothing.

GEORGE SMITH: Thanks Jermaine. I also wanted to say, tell me one thing then, we enjoy your ring entrances here especially when they announce your name. When you move gracefully in the canvas from the bottom of your soles to your feet it looks like a purification rite, as some call it, as some sort of the matadors do before the slaying of the bulls in arenas. I mean, they would have loved you man. Why do you do it?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: To tell you why I do it. I had a coach that tell me always do something to stand out and then as an amateur, you know, I just picked it up. You know, I’ve been doing it ever since.

GEORGE SMITH: Thank you very much and God bless you.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Thank you so much. God bless you too.

OPERATOR: Thank you. The next question comes from William Trillo of Boxing 2005.com.

WILLIAM TRILLO, BOXING 2005.COM: Hello Jermaine, it’s my pleasure to be able to speak to you again.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Well thank you.

WILLIAM TRILLO: Let me just run a couple of things by you. One, Bernard mentioned in his conference just prior to yours, that when you guys met eye to eye that he could see that you were somewhat surprised that he was roughly as big a man as you, that maybe you had thought that he was a smaller man and when you first realized that he was, in fact, your size, that he could see, maybe not fear but some anxiety in you. Did you feel that at all, did you know that Bernard was the same size man as you?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: No, he took that the wrong way. Actually, you know, I am, I am a little bigger than Bernard, and I am a little, I think, his head is a little longer than mine, but as far as me being taller, I think I’m just a little taller than he is. But if he thought that I was intimidated by him, no, he got the wrong impression. I’m not the least bit intimidated.

WILLIAM TRILLO: OK. Now, this was the second time that I’ve heard Bernard when he’s talking about other fights and fights that he compares this too, that he’s used and looked at the Magabi versus Hagler fight. I’m just wondering, do you look back at history at all and say to yourself, OK here’s a fight that I can use, not to pattern yourself after, but more of the motivation of a young guy coming in and beating the undisputed champ? Is there something that sets you on fire when you look at it?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: No sir it don’t. I’m just going to go in there and I’m just going to box. I motivate myself. You know, I don’t too much look back on the old fights. But I do respect all of them, cause if it weren’t for them, you know, them paving the way, I wouldn’t be here.

WILLIAM TRILLO: So what I’m hearing is, is Jermaine Taylor is ready to make his own mark and make his own fight history.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Yes sir I am. Yes sir I am, I’ve been wanting this moment for a long time and now it’s my turn.

WILLIAM TRILLO: Well we appreciate getting the chance to talk to you, OK.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Thank you so much.

WILLIAM TRILLO: Best of luck, God bless you.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. The next question comes from Hector Duarte of Boxing Gladiators.com.

HECTOR DUARTE, BOXING GLADIATORS.COM: Jermaine, how are ya?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I’m doing good, how you doing?

HECTOR DUARTE: Good, great. I’m just wondering, outside of Daniel Edouard was the first legitimate middleweight you faced. Don’t you think it’s maybe a little, I mean a big leap going right after Hopkins now on July 16th?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: A leap. I feel like, of course it’s a leap, I mean, it’s the world championship and this is what I wanted ever since I first started boxing. And, you know, if I couldn’t get this time, this is what I got into boxing for. So I feel like it’s my time, my time is right now and Bernard ready for the taking.

HECTOR DUARTE: Also your Olympic pedigree is (inaudible) as an amateur. Do you feel that’s an advantage going into this fight with Hopkins, who, I mean, as far as we know was an old rookie at 22 when he came out initially?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I believe that that all my experience, has made me right for this point. You know, every fight I had up to now has prepared me for this fight. Everything I’ve been through has prepared me for this fight.

HECTOR DUARTE: OK, best of luck to you Jermaine.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Well, thank you so much.

OPERATOR: Thank you. We have a follow from Robert Morales with Los Angeles Daily News.

ROBERT MORALES: Hey Jermaine.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Hey.

ROBERT MORALES: Hey listen, you know, correct me if I’m wrong, the biggest thing in Arkansas is the Arkansas Razorback Football team.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: You’re right.

ROBERT MORALES: OK. Now that said, I know that you probably can’t touch that because that goes back a long, long way, but that said, how is your home town of Little Rock embracing this fight with Bernard Hopkins? And realizing that you’re not training there, but from what you know, from what you’re heard, the newspaper guys and gals that have talked to you, whatever, how is Little Rock embracing this?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Just like I’m a Razorback, you know, just like I’m a Razorback. Arkansas is behind me 100 percent. I never let them down. I’ll always be a Razorback. I’ll never leave. I’ll always have a home in Arkansas. I just love it that much. Arkansas has being real good to me.

ROBERT MORALES: All right man thank you.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Take care.

OPERATOR: Thank you. We have a follow-up question from Chris Givens of Arkansas Democrat.

CHRIS GIVENS: My question was already actually asked in between so I’m good to go.

OPERATOR: Our final question comes from Lem Satterfield of Baltimore Sun Newspaper.

LEM SATTERFIELD: Hey thanks a lot. Hey Jermaine, Bernard gets a lot of his motivation, obviously, from his prison past, but you didn’t have it quite so easy growing up and I’m sure that, you just said you get, you know, a lot what you’ve been through has prepared you for this moment. Can you go into a little bit briefly about your past and then talk about how it strengthens you and prepares you for moments like this?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I used to like, you know, there’s been a lot of ups and downs in my life and there’s been a lot of hurt in my life and a lot of things, a lot of times where I had to step up at the plate when it wasn’t my time. You know, and I also like, all that has prepared me for this moment.

LEM SATTERFIELD: You’re stepping up to the plate where a lot of people don’t think it’s your time right now, right?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Yes sir.

LEM SATTERFIELD: That’s the similarity?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Exactly.

LEM SATTERFIELD: Can you talk a little bit about your marriage? A lot has been made of, you know, how you’re a good father and I don’t know if you’ve talked to Chris Byrd about this but he changes a lot of diapers.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: No I haven’t talked to him, but I’m pretty sure he does. It’s all about your kids man. You know, it’s all about making your kids happy and I like seeing my little girl smile, or my boy. You know, I don’t know, I just, I love my kids man.

LEM SATTERFIELD: OK, good. How long have you been married now sir?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I’ve been married for two years.

LEM SATTERFIELD: How many years?

JERMAINE TAYLOR: I’ve been married for two years.

LEM SATTERFIELD: OK. Hey thanks a lot and good luck.

JERMAINE TAYLOR: Thank you.

SPEAKER: Thank you everybody for joining us and we’ll see you in Vegas.

NORMAN HORTON: Yeah on behalf of Team Taylor, Norman Horton, we’d like to thank everyone for their participation and patience today.

Articles of 2005

In Boxing News: Floyd Mayweather An All-Time Great, Valuev & More

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A Shot of Boxing on the Last Day of the Year

The Guardian reports that talks have already taken place between Nicolay Valuev‘s co-promoters – Don King and Wilfried Sauerland – and Danny Williams‘ promoter Frank Warren for Nicolay Valuev to face Danny Williams. I’d suggest Danny Williams needs to worry about Matt Skelton (who Williams is reportedly scheduled to fight in February) before he entertains notions of facing the Beast From The East.

The Mirror in the UK looks forward to a big year in boxing for 2006. The Mirror considers what the future might bring for Joe Calzaghe, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton, among others.

The Parksville Qualicum News has an interesting column on the travails of former Canadian Super Middleweight title holder Mark Woolnough. Woolnough’s career turned controversial – as widely reported in the Canadian press – at the beginning of this year when Woolnough and four other men were charged with manslaughter and assault after a fight outside a Parksville nightclub. The case returns to court next month. It’s an interesting read, as Woolnough is still looking to the future with hope.

Our own Marc Lichtenfeld provides plenty of food for thought with his Top Ten Wish List for boxing in the New Year. There’s plenty of good stuff here, but what really jumped out for me is Lichtenfeld’s opinion that a win over Zab Judah could have Floyd Mayweather knocking on the door of all-time great status. Seems to me this might be jumping the gun a little. Or is Marc right? Will it soon be time to call Floyd Mayweather Jr. an all-time great?

(More Boxing News Links at TheSweetScience.com)

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Articles of 2005

ShoBox Friday Night Fights

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Hot bantamweight prospect Raul “The Cobra” Martinez heads back to Chicago next Friday night as he is featured in the co-main event of SHOBOX “THE NEW GENERATION,” an action packed evening of professional boxing presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions,’ HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING, Kathy Duva’s Main Events Inc., along with Miller Lite and TCF Bank.

The two-time national amateur champion sporting a perfect 12-0 record with 9 knockouts, six of which have come in the first round,  will take on Colombian Andres “Andy Boy” Ledesma, 13-1 (8 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout.

Speaking after a training session at his home gym in Georgetown, Texas, Martinez said, “I’m truly looking forward to returning to Chicago. The fans were terrific in September, they were very supportive from the start of the fight,” an internationally televised first round knockout of Miguel Martinez on September 16th at the Aragon Ballroom.

Regarding his upcoming fight with Ledesma, “The Cobra” said, “I haven’t seen him fight, although I understand he’s fought at higher weights and will be naturally bigger than me. I’ve had great training for this fight and feel very confident. I really haven’t left the gym in months, just taking off Sunday’s and even then I get my running in. My thinking is that fights are won in the gym and complete preparation is the key.”

When asked about his being mentioned by Dan Rafael, ESPN’s boxing writer as one of the top prospect’s in the boxing world the 23-year-old San Antonio native said, ‘It’s a great compliment, but I still have much work to do. I want to be a champion for Main Events like Fernando Vargas and Arturo Gatti. But like Fernando said while he was in town, ‘be patient, work hard and your time will come.’”

Finishing the conversation, Martinez said, “I’m looking forward to starting out this year with a bang. I might have a couple less fights than the seven I had in 2005, but I’m looking to stepping up the competition, move up to ten-rounders and climb in the rankings.”

Headlining the evening is a ten-round welterweight showdown between boxing’s hottest prospect, unbeaten Joel Julio of Monteria, Columbia, and Ugandan native Roberto “The Doctor” Kamya. Julio, turning 21 years old the day before the fight, is 25-0 with 22 knockouts, twelve of which have come in the first two rounds. Kamya, now fighting out of West Palm Beach, Florida is 15-5 with four knockouts.

Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale in advance by calling 312-226-5800. Cicero Stadium is located at 1909 S. Laramie, at the corner of 19th and Laramie, just ten minutes south of the Eisenhower Expressway and ten minutes north of the Stevenson Expressway. Doors for this evening will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

The full bout lineup for the evening is:

Joel Julio vs. Roberto Kamya, ten rounds, welterweights

Raul Martinez vs. Andres Ledesma, eight rounds, bantamweights

Miguel Hernandez vs. Butch Hajicek, eight rounds, middleweights

David Pareja vs. Derek Andrews, eight rounds, light heavyweights

Mike Gonzales vs. Tony Kinney, four rounds, lightweights

Omar Reyes vs. Luis Navarro, five rounds, featherweights

Reynaldo Reyes vs. Ricardo Swift, four rounds, middleweights

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Articles of 2005

Pick ‘Em: Plenty of Big Upcoming Fights in ’06

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Here’s the early call on many top matches scheduled for the first half of 2006: Happy New Year!

As the new calendar dawns, there are already a considerable amount of premium bouts on the horizon. Things don’t look to be bogged down by undetermined championships next year. In many cases the scheduled face-offs involve the best fighters in the division, or at least close enough for general bragging rights. If anybody else with proper qualifications signs up to force the issue, all the better.

It can be argued that some pairings could have taken place within a more optimal timeframe, or that some headliners carry distracting baggage, but there are certainly enough heavy hitters on deck. That nobody can deny.

It doesn’t matter whether one considers the proverbial glass half empty or half full; there’s still the same amount of juice in the vessel. It’s nice to know that even with a high number of cancellations, there will still be plenty of important contenders on tap.

With elite fighters in weight divisions from top to bottom on the agenda, it’s an equivalent to what fans in more mainstream sports expect in a consistent championship format.

Baseball fans can almost always count on a World Series. Some hoops fanatics say too much attention to playoffs distracts unmotivated NBA teams during their regular season. In college, they project Sweet Sixteens. Football fans know there’s always a Super Bowl ahead to raise advertising dollars and test the USA’s halftime morals.

So too, there is method in boxing’s current madness.

The midnight crystal ball hasn’t even been unveiled in Times Square and there are already a number of potential thrillers scheduled. Most feature contrasting personalities that almost guarantee going along for the ride will be worthwhile. Any subsequent drops will probably be cheered.

Don King jumps right out of the auld lang gate with a January 7th Showtime card featuring Zab Judah against Carlos Baldomir and Jean-Marc Mormeck in a cruiserweight unification against O’Neil Bell.

It will be the upset of the year, bar none, if Baldomir can tip the applecart before Judah gets to his scheduled super-showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Meanwhile, Mormeck is emerging and should keep on rolling against Bell, who can expose him if he’s not for real.

The proverbial Big Bang starts with a January 21st rematch of one of the finest fights of ‘05, when Erik Morales goes against Manny Pacquaio for the second time on HBO pay per view. The fact that Morales was upset by Zahir Raheem after beating Pacquaio was no real loss in box-office luster. Artful Raheem will get a spot on the undercard and hope his patience is rewarded.

Everyone figures Morales and Pacquaio will pick up where they left off. Like the first time, the rematch is a pick’em contest. Management distractions and glove restrictions cited as Pacquaio’s previous problems won’t matter this time. The two are very evenly matched and their styles will make for another whapathon. It could come down to corners, where Freddie Roach gets the edge since Morales will have a new trainer for the first time since replacing his father after the Raheem lesson.

February features four of the game’s most enduring attractions, in a pair of crucial matchups.

First up, Showtime presents the Jose Luis Castillo – Diego Corrales tiebreaker from El Paso on Feb 4th. This is another pick ‘em pair, barring any sideshow. In boxing that disclaimer may be a stretch, since the sideshow is part of the act and the charm.

As far as action inside the strands goes, every round these guys have fought has been great. There’s no reason to think that pattern won’t continue. Regarding the result, Castillo keeps the pressure on as he did in the second fight, but he’ll walk into trouble from a more reserved Corrales. We still don’t know which coin to flip.

February also holds a better late than never affair between two perennial favorites as Shane Mosley collides with Fernando Vargas on the 25th.  This fight could lead to a winning ticket in the Golden Boy sweepstakes for a fall bonanza against Oscar De La Hoya.

Vargas has been in tougher recently, based on comparable strength of opposition stats, but he’s seen little action. What weight they enter the ring at may have a lot to do with the result. If Vargas has to struggle at the scale, Mosley might have the battle in the bag after round nine.

It’s hard to imagine Mosley getting stopped early, but Vargas doesn’t have to hurt him, he just has to knock him down three times. With natural size, he may be able to do just that, but Mosley would have to box uncharacteristically flat.

Unless Mosley decides to heed the crowd, the most likely scenario is that Shane plays it safe, picks a few shots, and stays away enough to capture a comfortable, dull decision. An unbowed Vargas maintains his fan base but not his bettors.

March both comes in and goes out as a lion.

On March 4th Joe Calzaghe welcomes Jeff Lacy to Manchester UK for what may be the biggest blowout of the headlining bunch. Calzaghe gets the chance to prove his considerable home-based reputation once and for all, but if Lacy creams him as we expect, that glossy record will be severely tarnished.

All Calzaghe has to do is make a respectable stand, but that’s no small task against the rising Lacy. A motivated Calzaghe, songs of England ringing in his ears, could pull a big surprise if he can exploit Lacy’s relatively limited technical development, but that’s a longshot indeed.

It looks like Lacy can get by on power alone. He could soon emerge as a pound-for-pound leader. Old Joe’s hometown advantage will last about two left hooks.

March 11th has the Ides of history to beware for at least one old lion, with farewell (we’ll see) fireworks featuring Roy Jones Jr. against Bernard Hopkins. Less than two years ago they were considered untouchable all time greats. Now between them they’ve lost five in a row.

This goodbye fight is contracted at light heavyweight, for what seems like an oldies night. Hopkins is the senior at age 41 to Jones’s 37, but Roy seems more the grandpa figure, last seen hanging on against Antonio Tarver. Youth, as it were here, will prevail.

This bout was signed quickly as each principal, usually sticklers for favorable contract clauses, agreed to parity in a demonstration of businessman first and fighter second. They may both expect easy marks. How much the boys have left by the time they get down to business remains to be seen. The history books will show this as a climactic career bout between Hall of Famers.

At 175 pounds, Hopkins may be in for rude awakening. Jones may have been more thoroughly outfought recently, but he was rumbling with bigger, tougher men than Jermain Taylor or Howard Eastman. Respectable as he is, Taylor still falls short of the level of Tarver, at least for now. The difference is still fifteen pounds less pop.

It will be quite a feat if Hopkins can stay in the fight, even at Jones’s advanced age. Our stars point to Jones winning in overwhelming fashion.

On March 18th, James Toney meets Hasim Rahman in another pairing of seasoned war-horses.

Toney and Rahman already had their introductions, when they brawled in Mexico during a WBC gathering to bestow Rahman’s new belt. Between formalities, Toney got married, which could bring up the old questions about carnal training.

Let’s hope when they meet in the ring, they restore some of the fire missing from the heavyweights in ‘05.  Toney might have an edge in recent form, but Rahman shows fine tuning he previously lacked. The winner might get newly “crowned’ Nicolai Valuev, an easy payday outside Germany.

Rahman could be the heavyweight that finally makes Toney look like a blown up middleweight. But anything less than a top effort will probably lead to embarrassing night for the Rock and give Toney solid claim to being the true heavyweight champ.

This might not be the most artful fight of the new season, but it could well be the most grueling, and the closest. He who’s faced the better big boys gets the nod. Advantage Rahman.

March 25 features Marco Antonio Barrera, probably the strongest overall claimant to 130 pound honors. The likely opponent is said to be always tough Jesus Chavez.

Chavez seemed rejuvenated when he met Leavander Johnson, but Johnson’s tragic death may have taken some of the steam out of thoughtful Chavez, said to have received Johnson’s family blessing to continue in Leavander’s name. That could mean a lot of inspiration. Either way, if he does meet Chavez, who hung tough with one arm against Erik Morales, Barrera won’t get any slack. The Fates say Chavez, whose wife recently served in Iraq, is a live, live underdog.

Another clash to be King of the Hill finds Floyd Mayweather Jr, arguably the game’s finest practitioner, bumping heads with Zab Judah, one of very few boxers who rivals Mayweather in speed, skills, and brashness.

Their hoedown, scheduled for April 8th, is one of the top pound-for-pound pairings in recent years. Judah will need a career best performance to have a chance of victory. That’s not to say he can’t pull it off, but currently Mayweather is in a different galaxy in terms of punching power. Slow-motion replays may be the only way to follow the flying fists once these two whirlwinds unload.

Mayweather should be around a 4-1 favorite. Judah is good enough to make taking the odds an attractive proposition, since that’s probably as good of odds as one is likely to see on Floyd for a while. Mayweather will stop Judah in his tracks.

The first half of next year is set to conclude with the star power of Oscar De La Hoya, probably against noteworthy foil Ricardo Mayorga on May 6. There could be some snags before a contract is finalized, but if it comes off count on Mayorga for promotional sound bite nastiness. One of the questions is whether or not he’ll be able to get under Oscar’s skin, and it might actually be entertaining to see the classy, model perfect De La Hoya show he’s human and freak out against the Nicaraguan maniac.

Mayorga may have burnt his best bridges already. De La Hoya has not only the boxing skill to negate Mayorga’s offense, but enough power to end it early. If Mayorga rushes in and causes a cut, De La Hoya might get ruffled enough to duck into defense and Mayorga could get a decision that goes to the cards after six rounds or so. It will be wild for as long as it lasts.

Pro boxing, like many sports, had its share of problems during 2005, but there were also many positives. Most notably, as usual, was superior and inspiring action inside the strands. Unless there’s a mass freeze-up at the top, early 2006 figures to see decisive interaction among many well-known fighters.

If even fifty per cent of the aforementioned pairings come to fruition, it’s a strong likelihood the upcoming year has at least one very positive half. Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Brian Viloria, and Shannon Briggs, to name a few, are also on deck. No matter how you chose to look at or measure mass qualities, there’s still just as much good to be seen.

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