Just read Lou DiBella, Jermain Taylor and Broadway Boxing by Bobby Cassidy (nice job by Cassidy as usual) and I couldn’t help thinking that Lou DiBella – who continues to bask in Jermain Taylor’s victory over Bernard Hopkins – would perhaps be best served by taking the high road on this one. It would appear from his comments, however, he would not agree:
“This is probably my most gratifying moment in boxing,” said DiBella. “I had done a lot for Bernard Hopkins and then got stung by a cobra. To have developed Jermain Taylor from his pro debut to five years later to win the undisputed middleweight title against the guy who screwed me, it was a beautiful thing. Payback’s a bitch.”
â€œI’m proud of Jermain and this is Jermainâ€˜s moment. But I’m happy to be one up on that b*st*rd.â€?
It’s clear that DiBella, Taylor et al. believe Hopkins will only continue to get older and that with the galvanising experience of the first fight under his belt, it will only get easier for Taylor the second time around. Following Taylor’s victory over Hopkins, there was part of me that was thinking the same thing.
But 3 weeks on, I don’t know that were I part of the Taylor brain trust I’d want to be fanning the flames that burn within Bernard Hopkins. I believe it’s what someone with a Legal background such as DiBella would term being “prudent.” It seems unlikely to me that a wily veteran such as Hopkins will be baited into forsaking his gameplan in the rematch and come in, fuelled by anger, reckless – in pursuit of a knockout. On the other hand, it’s hard to see how providing Hopkins with any extra motivation helps Taylor come December.
Speaking of the first fight … in the interests of full disclosure I should say I was hired primarily to code webpages and not craft prose at TheSweetScience.com, so I may not be steeped in the tradition of boxing to quite the extent as some of the names that appear in bylines at the site … but I do have to disagree with some of my venerable colleagues that Jermain Taylor won the first fight going away. In the end, I think Taylor 115-113 was about right and – unlike Bernard Hopkins – I wouldn’t begrudge Jermain Taylor his victory:
“[Hopkins] believes he won the fight. Fine. Two of the three judges disagree. That means he lost the fight. “
In principle I’d agree with Corey Long – the author of that quote – but it leads me to another point. In bouts like this there is something troubling about the 10 Point Must System and its interpretation by judges. I’d agree that due to Hopkins’ inactivity during the early part of the bout that Taylor piled up rounds and this is what won him the fight. But Taylor won many of those rounds without really doing anything overly effective, but still – and rightly so – won those rounds 10-9. Conversely, Hopkins pretty much beat Taylor pillar to post at moments late in the fight, but was also awarded those rounds 10-9.
In fact, there was a message delivered to our website from one the Supervisors from a sanctioning body you have actually heard of who was representing that organisation at the fight and who wrote to clarify that the manner in which the fight was scored was correct i.e. rounds are scored independently and there is nothing in the rules about a challenger having to emphatically take the champion’s belt. Let me speak for some of the common fans – after all, I’m only a webmaster – whom I know when I say there is sometimes something perplexing about how fights are scored. Why is it when one fighter shades a round which is effectively a coin toss that he is awarded the round 10-9, but then when a fighter wins a round emphatically, visibly hurting his opponent, he is often still only awarded the round 10-9?
Regardless, none of this is meant to take anything away from Jermain Taylor’s victory. He won the first fight fair and square and proved he has the mettle of a champion. If anything, the controversy surrounding the first fight makes the rematch even more highly anticipated, and that’s not such a bad thing for The Sweet Science.
– Chris Gielty