As most anyone that would stumble upon this site probably knows, Jermain Taylor suffered his third brutal knockout loss this past Saturday. He fought bravely against the stronger Arthur Abraham for twelve rounds before he ate a straight right handthat sent him plummeting onto his back, causing his head to bounce violently off the canvas.
Immediately after the fight it was reported that Taylor was taken to the hospital for observation after suffering a severe concussion and short-term memory loss. He has since been released and is now vacationing with his wife in Europe. I began to think there was little possibility he would continue in the Super Six World Boxing Classic and who would replace him. After I realized I was being an insensitive dick, I turned my attention to concern for Jermain's health and future well-being. I can say without a doubt that Taylor will never be the same again. He probably wasn't the same fighter he was three years ago. In the last two years Taylor had been knocked out by Carl Froch and Kelly Pavlik. It took Wladimir Klitschko four or five fights before he was able to fight with the same confidence he had before he suffered his first knockout to Correy Sanders in 2003, I didn't think Taylor was any different.
Taylor may have been rushed along the road to becoming a champion too fast. Before the fight with Hopkins was announced I had noticed a change in Taylor's fighting demeanor - he seemed to lose the tenacity that earned him the nickname "Bad Intentions". His jab no longer snapped his opponents' heads back, and his right hand didn't power through gloves to reach its target. His fighting style became less deliberate and more "herky-jerky" - excessive arm and head movement at unnecessary times. I felt like he needed more improvement as a fighter before he was thrown to the lion, but was proved wrong...twice.
Following Taylor's back-to-back victories over Hopkins he defended his titles against Winky Wright, Kassim Ouma, and Corey Spinks, before suffering his first loss by brutal KO to Kelly Pavlik. His draw with Wright and Victories over Ouma and Spinks were not pretty, but were commendable given the difficulty with which Taylor chose his opponents. It can be said that Taylor's resume is very impressive and worthy of eventual Hall of Fame consideration.
Is it possible that Taylor left everything he had in the ring with Hopkins? Maybe. In Taylor's subsequent title defenses he struggled to sloppy split decisions and one draw. He didn't improve before he fought Pavlik, he seemed to show his vulnerability. His skills seemed to grow stagnant rather than improve.
Now that Taylor has suffered arguably the worst knockout of his career, he is faced with the mortality of his life as a boxer. Taylor has made a bright future for himself with his winnings. He doesn't spend carelessly and shouldn't have a financial need to continue to box. So why should he continue in the tournament? I hope he doesn't do it to prove to everyone that he can come back, because to all those that consider themselves Jermain Taylor fans, he shouldn't have to prove anything.
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