MIAMI, October 22 - The fight that could define his career in the super middleweight division is less than month away, and news from Jermain Taylor's camp in Miami, Florida is very good. It's good, that is, unless you ask Jeff Lacy, Jermain Taylor's opponent for the November 15th fight "All Or Nothing". HBO World Championship Boxing will televise the bout from Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee (10:15pm ET / 9:15pm CT / 7:15pm PT).
DiBella Entertainment is presenting the 12-round super middleweight title eliminator in association with Prize Fight Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions. Tickets are on sale now at $275, $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, and available through all Ticketmaster locations at 615-255-9600 or www.ticketmaster.com .
"Training is going very well for me, I'm on schedule with everything. I know Jeff is working just as hard with his preparations, but I feel very confident about November 15th. This is the longest I have been out of the ring since I turned professional and the time off gave me time to put my career in total focus."
Ozell Nelson is serving as Taylor's lead trainer for the second consecutive fight and likes the intensity & focus Jermain has brought to training camp.
"We are on schedule," Nelson said. "Jermain is in tremendous spirits and looks very good. He is enjoying this training camp with a commitment and purpose more than I have ever seen before."
Perhaps the environment is helping, because there is certainly good memories in Miami. Jermain is training in the Sunshine State for the first time since he defended his Undisputed Middleweight Championship on December 2, 2005, with a second straight victory over Bernard Hopkins.
"I have good memories from Miami, " Taylor said. "Miami is like my second home, I have always liked training in Miami. Everything is great here and I'm feeling good about everything as I prepare for
Jeff Lacy on Nov. 15th."
PUNCHING MORE THAN AIR:
Jermain Taylor is steadily moving into more aggressive stages of his training camp, moving away from conditioning and into more sparring work this week.
"We have some great sparring partners here and Jermain is really getting some good work," said Nelson. "We are still getting our running in, getting our legs right, but it's time to start hitting people too."
Taylor is already sparring 10 rounds a day and will move into 12-round sessions next week. One change from previous camps is that Taylor in interacting a lot more with his sparring partners, talking and joking with them, and taking advice from them. For this fight, it's all hands on deck.
"Everything is on the line for me with this fight, this is a total team effort with everyone involved with camp," said Taylor. " My sparring partners are really giving me some good work, It feels good to get there with my sparring partners, they are really pushing me."
Ozell Nelson and Jermain Taylor have been watching plenty of videotape from Taylor's two losses to middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, the only two losses of his career. The pair saw Taylor getting
hit with Pavlik's right hand too often, so they've gone to work on better defense in training camp.
"You've got to work on defense," Nelson said. "You don't want your offense to be your defense. We are going to dodge that right hand, stay behind him. Lacy's nickname is "Left Hook," but he has a
sneaky right hand. We're going to stay away from that."
But camp has been about more than defense. Much of the sparring and shadow-boxing work has been focused on getting Taylor to use his left hand more and Ozell expects that it will be Taylor who brings the fight to Lacy.
"I want him to dictate the pace, be more aggressive with his left hand, hooking off the left and jabbing," Nelson said. "We don't want to let Lacy plant his feet and get comfortable. We don't need to knock
Jeff Lacy out. I want him to box Jeff, move and pivot and frustrate him. Relax and dictate the fight."
Taylor has a more simple strategy.
"I just want the win," Taylor said. "I would be happy with a knockout, but what's important is that I dictate the fight and come away with the victory. I'm going to fight my fight."
RESTED AND READY:
Jermain Taylor will be stepping into the ring after nearly nine months away from boxing. Ozell Nelson was concerned how Taylor's transition back to competitive boxing would be after the longest layoff of his professional career, but so far, in training camp there have been no signs of rust.
"I was very concerned about the long layoff," Nelson said. "But Jermain needed the time off. His mental attitude and focus has been great. He wants to get back to winning and being in a position to go for another title."
Taylor said he was ready to get back in the ring before camp even started. Now that he's in the middle of camp, it's like he never left the ring.
"I've been doing this so long, it's part of my life and my profession. The nine months layoff was good for me, it allowed me to set some new goals for myself and to take a good look at where I am in my career and where I want to go. "