QUOTE (Fitz @ Apr 28 2009, 10:48 PM)
I agree with most of your post hype, but I wouldn't say Taylor is still 'green'. To me he is who he is, just didn't live up.
Maybe green isn't the exact word as he's certainly not green in experience, but he's green as far as skills are concerned. He still lacks a lot of fundamentals that he SHOULD have picked up if he wasn't rushed into fights with guys that he wasn't ready for. His jab is gone, he still doesn't know how to clinch effectively, he doesn't work the body enough, he wastes a lot of energy on big punches that are missing or blocked (not to mention the energy he wastes every time he taps himself on the forehead with that herky-jerk movement that he does)...those are things that he should have worked on had his career been managed properly. If he fought a few more veterans like Joppy, he could have learned how to hone some of those skills...instead, he was forced to try and work on those skills against the likes of Hopkins, Wright, Ouma, Spinks and Pavlik...he can't work on those skills when he's too busy trying to survive. And I think that's part of his problem...he's so used to surviving and conserving energy that he just automatically shuts it down midway through a fight.
Just to put it in perspective, Pavlik started his career 6 months BEFORE Jermain Taylor. By the time he was 24-0 (in March, 2005), he was taking on the likes of Dorian Beaupierre, Fulgencio Zuniga, Bronco McKart, Jose Luis Zertuch and Edison Miranda before getting his first crack at a title. Despite still being a basic fighter, Pavlik had a lot more time to learn a lot of the fundamentals that Taylor still struggles with. Taylor, who again started his career 6 months AFTER Pavlik, was facing Bernard Hopkins by the time he was 24-0 (in July, 2005...roughly the same timeframe as Pavlik). He had only really been "tested" against the likes of Daniel Edouard, William Joppy, Raul Marquez and Alex Bunema...and honestly, those weren't even tests...just punching bags who folded under the "sheer energy" (as Lampley would call it) of Taylor. After facing competition like that, they actually thought he was freakin' ready for Bernard Hopkins...and the reality is, he wasn't. And since that fight, Taylor's never really had an opportunity to fix his flaws because it was too late to put him in with softer competition. Instead of finding weaker opponents, they just found him smaller opponents, who were still skilled enough to cause him severe problems and put serious doubt into his head. I guarantee if Pavlik was 24-0, as opposed to being 35-0, the first time he fought Hopkins, then he probably wouldn't have attained the level he's currently at...especially if he had to fight Hopkins again, followed by Wright, Ouma and Spinks.
Personally, I think Leon's TOTALLY wrong on this one. If Taylor was truly done as a fighter, I'd expect him to look like Sam Peter just did in his last fight...a guy who was unwilling to try and win the fight. You can tell Peter has totally checked out of boxing. Taylor, on the other hand, was definitely trying to win that fight...in fact, 2 of the judges thought he WAS winning. I still think there's a lot of guys that Taylor can beat, including Allan Green, Edison Miranda, Andre Ward, Jean Pascal, Jesse Brinkley and several others. I think as a fighter, Taylor just suffers from mental toughness and lacks some fundamentals...a problem that can be remedied if he got with the right trainer. As odd as it sounds, I think Taylor could actually do himself a huge favor if he made the move to the West coast and enlisted the services of Freddie Roach, who's pretty good at teaching the fundamentals and would probably have the right personality to help Taylor get over that mental hump (I also think Michael Moorer would help out extremely in that area). Two stoppage losses does not mean the end of the world for a fighter...at least it certainly didn't mean the end of the world for Roy Jones Jr. (who, ironically, you don't here Leon saying is "done"). Now if he were getting pounded and knocked out cold, that's a totally different story.