NEW YORK (October 11, 2005) – For months after the fact, boxing fans and the worldwide media had only one topic on their minds: the July 16 middleweight championship bout between Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins. Who won? Who lost? Who deserved to win? Who deserved to lose?
Whether you sided with the new champion – Taylor – believing that he ushered in a new era of middleweight boxing on that summer night, or insisted that the former champion – Hopkins – had done enough to earn the victory and keep his crown, both fighters have demanded a rematch to set the record straight.
The rematch between undisputed world middleweight champion Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor (24-0, 17 KOs) and former undisputed middleweight champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (46-3-1, 32 KOs) is scheduled for Saturday, December 3, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Taylor vs. Hopkins II, aka "No Respect," is being presented by DiBella Entertainment and Golden Boy Promotions and will be broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.
"Jermain is the undisputed middleweight champion of the world, and will prove again on December 3 that he reigns in his division," said Taylor's promoter Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. "We respect Bernard Hopkins in the ring as a great champion, and he deserves the rematch. December 3 will be a great night for boxing and for Team Taylor."
"We have seen some great fights this year and I can't think of a better way to cap off 2005 than to have the two premier middleweights in the world squaring off again," said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "Hopkins and Taylor both have a lot on the line on December 3 and a fighter is never better than when the stakes are at their highest."
"Hopkins and Taylor established a great middleweight rivalry with their first fight", said Mark Taffet, HBO Senior Vice President of Sports Operations & Pay-Per-View. "Their rematch will be a highly-anticipated and exciting night for boxing fans."
Hopkins-Taylor I captivated the sports world, with its drama and stirring outcome making it one of the most spectacular bouts in recent history. They met July 16 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in front of a sellout crowd, setting a record for the largest walk-up crowd ever recorded in the casino's history. For Taylor, it is an opportunity to prove that his split decision win over the long-reigning champion was no fluke. For Hopkins, it is a chance to set the record straight with his spirited rival.
"Every boxer that puts on the gloves dreams of someday hearing the words 'and new champion,'" said Taylor. "I fulfilled that dream on July 16, and Bernard would have to be crazy to think I'm going to give these belts back to him. One dream is done, and now it's on to my second dream – to defend my championship for years to come."
Hopkins responded by saying "Jermain knows what happened in the first fight and I think everyone else does too. There will be no respect for him this time and come December 3, I will set the record straight."
In July, Hopkins, the long reigning middleweight champion, agreed to face the young and hungry Taylor for the undisputed crown. With both fighters in tremendous shape, Taylor used his conditioning and an aggressive jab attack early to build a comfortable lead against the wily veteran. Yet Hopkins stayed cool, using the savvy learned from over a decade atop the middleweight division to feel out the more inexperienced Taylor.
Action in the middle rounds was a give and take with the ringside judges splitting their scoring between the two fighters. Then, late in the fight, Hopkins went on the offensive, scoring decisively over Taylor to capture the final rounds on all but one of the judges' scorecards. A controversy ensued at the announced outcome of the fight, but in the end, it was too little, too late for Hopkins, as Taylor won a split decision victory and became the new middleweight world champion of the world.
Jermain Taylor is a 2000 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist who has carried that success with him into the professional ranks. A versatile boxer with a stiff jab and thudding power, the 27-year-old resident of Little Rock, Arkansas worked tirelessly to get into the position to challenge Hopkins for the title. Taylor gained his standing with defeats over former world champions Raul Marquez and William Joppy, and his spectacular victory over previously unbeaten Daniel Edouard at the Staples Center in February of this year sealed the deal. In July, Taylor made the most out of the opportunity, as he took on the challenge to face Hopkins and seized the title.
In what could possibly be his last fight as a professional, Bernard Hopkins – who is already assured a place in the Boxing Hall of Fame thanks to his over ten-year reign atop the middleweight division – is a warrior who has accepted challenges throughout his career, and is 3-0 in rematches with his opponents.
"I will do the same to Jermain Taylor that I did to each one of my other rematch opponents,” Hopkins said. “I will knock him out."
Tickets are priced at $800, $600, $400, $200 and $100 and are on sale at the Mandalay Bay Theatre Box Office and at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (Tower Records/WOW!, Smith's Food and Drug Centers, Robinsons-May stores and Ritmo Latino). To charge by phone with a major credit card, call the Mandalay Bay box office at (702) 632-7580 or Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
The Taylor vs. Hopkins II pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST on December 3, has a suggested retail price of $49.95, will be distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 50 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For your daily Taylor vs. Hopkins II fight week updates, log onto www.HBOPPV.com.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?