Jermain Taylor finally takes a step up against William Joppy. TheSweetScience.com writers weigh in with their predictions.

Olympian Jermain Taylor, heir apparent to Bernard Hopkins, faces a severe test in former titleholder William Joppy. Outside of Hopkins and Trinidad, a good argument came be made on Joppy's behalf, that he has been the third best middleweight in the world over the last five or six years. A few years back Trinidad exposed Joppy's chin as Tito won in five rounds. Recently Joppy was outclassed and out-brawled by Hopkins. Nevertheless Joppy remains a formidable contender and a true test for the unbeaten Taylor at this stage of his budding career. Give Taylor and his management credit for being willing to let their prospect take on a live body. Granted Joppy is getting a little long in the tooth, but he keeps himself in pretty good shape and he has a wealth of boxing knowledge behind him. How will it go? Well, with everything lining up toward a Hopkins Trinidad rematch, Taylor can put together a couple of solid wins and make himself the guy to fight for the Bernard Felix winner. A win over Joppy and another top flight middleweight could give Taylor some valuable experience while he waits for the smoke from Tito's second try to clear. Although I respect Joppy, I have to go with Taylor. I just hope Jermain and his camp did not underestimate Joppy. That could be a very costly mistake!
Jim Amato


Unbeaten Jermaine Taylor should whip, and possibly stop William Joppy around the eighth round. Joppy is a pretty good boxer/puncher, but despite holding the WBA middleweight title he was never the best 160-pounder in the world. Joppy defended his belt against a slew of lesser lights, but when he stepped into the ring against Felix Trinidad he got absolutely destroyed. The same thing could happen against Taylor — though Taylor is much more crude that the gifted Puerto Rican. Joppy might outbox Jermain for awhile, and could get lucky and find his high chin, but Joppy is three inches shorter and eight years older than the 26-yearold favorite. Taylor has won all twenty-one of his fights, but he's finally stepping up after halting Raul Marquez and Alex Bunema in his last two contests.
Jim Brady


Hopkins couldn't stop Joppy, so this corner says Taylor won't either. But he won't have any trouble and will win a unanimous decision. Taylor W 12 Joppy.
Robert Cassidy


Despite all of the talk about Taylor finally fighting a true middleweight, I think that this will be his most impressive fight to date. Joppy insists that for the first time in a long time, his mind is free and clear and he's been able to conduct a smooth training camp as a result. I'm sure there's some truth to that, but not so sure it makes a difference. I'm a big sucker for underdogs and upsets, but don't see one here. Nor will I necessarily be rooting for one. Taylor KO7.
Jake Donovan


We know Joppy is tough. The fight with Hopkins proved that. Joppy will challenge Taylor and help him raise his game to another level. Taylor over Joppy by a late stoppage.
Robert Ecksel


At 34, Joppy has lost two of his last four (granted, the losses were to Hopkins and Trinidad) and was lucky to get the win over Howard Eastman. Taylor, at 26, just stopped Raul Marquez. One fighter is on the rise, the other is on his way out. Taylor by knockout in the later rounds.
Rick Folstad


There is nothing in Taylor’s performances thus far to suggest that he cannot be considered a possible heir to the middleweight throne nor anything in the merciless beating Bernard Hopkins dished out to Joppy to suggest anything other than a Taylor victory here. Taylor by Decision.
Chris Gielty


William Joppy will have his early moments against Jermain Taylor, but the Olympian will prove to fast, too strong, too young and too much of a complete fighter for Joppy to handle.  It'll be target practice for Taylor as he moves his record to 22 0 with a late round TKO's of Joppy.
Randy Gordon


Joppy is 34 and hasn't fought since Bernard Hopkins obliterated him a year ago. Fighters just don't come back from a beating like that and defeat a talented rising star such as Taylor. Youth will be served.  Taylor TKO-10
Tim Graham


Jermain Taylor is on his way to the top of the middleweight division and as I pointed out in my article William Joppy is just a stepping stone along the way. I think Taylor will stop Joppy somewhere in the middle rounds of the fight.
Sam Gregory


I don't see Jermain Taylor having too much of a problem with William Joppy
and figure that the up and coming Taylor will pound out a unanimous decision
victory   if it lasts till the end.
Mike Indri


If Taylor doesn't beat Joppy by knockout, then he and his team will have some serious PR spinning to quell the fires of doubt. All that should matter now is Taylor's final preparations before challenging Hopkins. This corner says Taylor in a route! Taylor KO6 Joppy.
Patrick Kehoe


It looks like a big step up for Taylor, but it's unclear what Joppy will have left after what Hopkins did to him. Taylor by decision.
George Kimball


Belief here is that Joppy is partially damaged goods from the beatings Hopkins and Trinidad put on his, although he may test Taylor early with his respectable power and true middleweight size   something Taylor hasn't faced yet. In the end, Taylor is simply the better boxer here and can crack alright on his own. If he boxes throughout the fight he will pick Joppy apart until it is stopped. If he goes to war it could be over early.
Joey Knish


This fight is one of boxing's most familiar scripts, an older retired former champ coming out of retirement to fight a former Olympian who is being groomed by the establishment to be the heir apparent to the current champion. And Taylor does have some ability, and knows the importance of using the jab. Joppy will not lay down for Taylor and is definitely hoping to rain on Taylor's impending parade, but I just don't think he has enough left at this stage of his career. This is perfect for Taylor, because he can't lose. If he stops Joppy, his management will scream “Hopkins Couldn't,” and if he is taken the distance we'll hear “Hopkins couldn't stop him either.” I can't believe the decision makers for Taylor make this fight without being almost certain that he can beat the eroded Joppy. I'm betting that Taylor's team is right.
Frank Lotierzo


Taylor, by extremely easy decision. More important, here we are, more than four years later, and the 2000 Olympic class is barely a rumor at the top of the professional ranks. I think Taylor whips Bernard Hopkins right now. So somebody wake me up when that fight finally gets made, because Taylor's leisurely pace toward a championship fight has grown tedious.
David Mayo


The rap against Jermaine Taylor is that he has dined on blown up opponents, light middleweights brought up from their natural habitat. Actually, three of the men that the undefeated Taylor has  fought in his last five fights have been a natural middleweight or a super middleweight. That would be meaningful if they had been more skilled, as is William Joppy, the former WBA middleweight champion who may be the true heir to Bernard Hopkins at 160 pounds. Joppy by decision.
Pat Putnam


Jermain Taylor vs. William Joppy:   In a prime example of two fighters on differing trajectories the upwards bound Taylor's youth, energy and rapid hand speed will overpower a sliding Joppy over the distance.  Even though he showed a yard of guts and staying power against Hopkins recently, Joppy will need more than just the ability to absorb punches to beat a Taylor who is entering his fistic prime.
Scott Yaniga