Taylor Dominates Lacy in "Comeback" Fight

November 16, 2008

Tennessee's Vanderbilt University hosted quite an entertaining night of fights on Saturday. The card was headlined by Jermain Taylor's convincing unanimous decision victory over former Olympic teammate Jeff "Left Hook" Lacy, and also featured some interesting contests on the undercard. Still, the most intriguing fight of the night was of course the main event, pitting former undisputed middleweight champion Taylor against the once-beaten Lacy.

Taylor and Lacy, roommates from the Sydney Olympics, both acknowledged prior to the fight that their friendship and familiarity with each other would make for an interesting dynamic once in the ring.

However, both men also emphatically stated that their friendship would be thrown out the window during the fight because this contest was a genuine "crossroads fight" for each. Although both fighters are barely 30 years old, and share only 3 losses between the two of them, many experts have pegged them as being on the downside of their respective careers.

The fight began with Arkansas’ Taylor scoring an overhand right over Lacy's left jab. With 30 seconds to go in the opening round, Taylor then landed a good right hand behind his trademark double jab. Lacy responded by backing Taylor up with a right hand of his own.

As the first round came to a close, the fighters clinched along the ropes, and Referee Laurence Cole warned about rabbit punches. Taylor likely won the round due to his higher work rate.

Lacy came out in the second round looking to be the aggressor. Meanwhile, Taylor worked behind a stiff triple jab, mixing in a straight right off of his jab. Although Lacy tried to establish a right hand to the body, Taylor was moving more fluidly and comfortably than Lacy, and he even worked in a pair of lead left hooks. With 25 seconds left in the round, Lacy walked right into a Taylor uppercut. Taylor followed up that blow with a nice three-punch combination to close out the round.

In the third stanza, Lacy still tried to attack the body, but Taylor was working well behind his re-discovered left jab. Taylor then caught Lacy with another uppercut, followed by a beautiful left hook that stunned his former Olympic teammate. The wobbled Lacy was forced to tie up Taylor. When the bell sounded, Lacy looked unsteady.

By round 4, Lacy's attack grew erratic, as he resorted to lunging at Taylor. At one point, Taylor countered by taking a step back and unleashing a barrage of about eight to ten punches. Taylor later unleashed a three punch combination, and then followed it with another. That effective activity netted another round in the bank for Taylor.

In round 5, Lacy backed Taylor into the corner with a nice overhand right. At the 2:07 mark of the round, Taylor tried to escape by pivoting out of the corner, but Lacy caught him with a two-punch combination. That combination caused Taylor to hit the deck. However, what looked like a legitimate knockdown, was ruled by Referee Cole to be an accidental slip. Because round 5 could have gone either way, the Referee’s decision might have prevented Lacy from having a 10-8 round.

Round 6 featured Lacy doing more feinting than punching, while Taylor was still mauling and holding on the inside. However, Lacy did land a nice counter left hook – his best of the night. Taylor responded with a mini-flurry to end the round.

In round 7 Taylor landed an absolutely hellacious right uppercut that snapped Lacy's head back violently. Bad Intentions indeed.

Round 8 again was a strong round for Taylor. He nailed Lacy with another Zab Judah-esque counter uppercut, and looked composed and confident through the round. Lacy, meanwhile, reverted to winging wild shots.

Round 9 saw Taylor shrewdly countering Lacy’s left jab with right hands over the top. A final closing flurry from Taylor won him this round as well.

In Round 10, Lacy was stopped dead in his tracks by another Taylor uppercut. At a minimum, Lacy’s ability to weather such shots throughout the night proved that his chin is solid and durable.

Round 11 was one of Taylor’s better rounds. He landed his right seemingly at will. He also continuously pumped his jab while circling to his right. Taylor’s attack had Lacy looking off-balance and tired. After a fairly uneventful twelfth round, official judges Gale van Hoy and Oren Shellenberger scored it 119-109 for Taylor. Third judge Joe Pasquale scored the fight 118-110 for Taylor. It was a well-deserved unanimous decision, sparked by Taylor's superior work rate, accuracy and ring generalship.

But, as always in boxing, the question must be asked of Taylor, "who's next?"

The opponent most mentioned is undisputed Light Heavyweight king Joe Calzaghe. However, Joe seems to be leaning towards retirement following his convincing win over Roy Jones Jr.

If Calzaghe does elect to retire, Taylor will still have no shortage of credible opponents at the top of the Super Middleweight division. The biggest name in that bunch would be Danish contender Mikkel Kessler. Other potential opponents include Canadian belt-holder Lucian Bute, rugged Mexican Librado Andrade, Australian Anthony Mundine, Contender Alumnus Sakio Bika, and the underrated Allan Green. All of the above-mentioned fighters could present stiff challenges for Taylor as he continues to campaign at 168. How the super middle weight division shakes out in the wake of Calzaghe's departure should be one of the more intriguing ongoing developments in boxing over the coming months.

As for the undercard, Deontay Wilder, USA Boxing's lone bright spot from the Beijing Olympics, made a memorable pro debut by stopping an unimpressive Ethan Cox in two rounds. Former welterweight title holder Kermit Cintron also was victorious in a preliminary bout, scoring a unanimous decision over former Australian titlist Lovemore N'dou.

By Kweku Turkson
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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