Jason Gonzalez: In Taylor's last three fights, stylistically it doesn't get any worse than Wright, Ouma and Spinks. As oppose to the proverbial slick southpaw that runs and hides, Pavlik will be in front of Taylor looking to land bombs. In the past whenever Taylor fought a conventional opponent, he utilized a potent left jab. This is no different. For Taylor to win he must work everything off of the left jab. However, Taylor isn't without flaws. Over his last three fights, it became abundantly clear that Taylor picked up some really bad habits, bad habits that could potentially cost Taylor the fight.
Taylor failed to get the most out of his 6'1 frame. If Taylor doesn't use his height, Pavlik will be able to walk him down and eventually wear Taylor down with relentless pressure. Taylor has also shown a tendency to drop his hands.
Pavlik's power should be respected; if Pavlik lands flush Taylor will know that he is not in the ring with Spinks. Therefore Taylor must keeps his hands up at all times.
And last but not least it seems like Taylor forgot to use what got him to where he is today: his legs. Taylor should look to keep the fight in the middle of the ring and stay off of the ropes. Taylor should look to make the most out of the large ring.
If Taylor is on point and executes a perfect game plan, then he wins an easy unanimous decision over the somewhat one-dimensional Pavlik.
But if Taylor gets sloppy expect Pavlik to exploit Taylor's flaws. If Pavlik is successful in backing Taylor up, Taylor could very well get knocked the hell out.
However, I don't see that scenario panning out. People we will be surprised by what they will see from Taylor on Saturday night.
I am expecting Taylor's final outing as a middleweight to be his best as a professional thus far. I am picking Taylor to win by unanimous decision by scores of 116-112 (2x's) and 115-113. But I think so highly of Pavlik that I know he will become a world champion much sooner than later.
Ralph Gonzalez: This is going to an intriguing battle between two of the strongest Middleweights in the game. Jermain Taylor has looked great against smaller opposition. Pavlik has also fought a lot of blown up middleweights throughout his career. But we can't discount Taylor's great performances against future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins. The kid has skills, strength and a lot of heart. That being said, Taylor will be meeting his match against the Youngstown, Ohio fighter. This fight is a toss up as far as I'm concerned but I'm leaning towards Pavlik after his impressive performance against Edison Miranda.
Mike Lynch: As our fearless leader, Michael Woods, has often pointed out, making boxing predictions is a fool's task. So who better than I to oblige with a prediction:
Supporters of Jermain Taylor point to his greater experience and natural ability as two great advantages for him. Pessimists who favor Taylor in this dust-up would perhaps allege that he is a made-for-TV star that boxing built out of a need for young heroes. Kelly Pavlik is another young, interesting fighter. Win or lose, perhaps no up-and-comer in the industry has greater forward momentum right now than Pavlik. The beating he gave Edison Miranda, an intimidator inside and out of the ring, proved plenty. But he can he beat the champ, whether paper or legitimate? Taylor has struggled against plenty of smaller men. When Pavlik hits him (and he will) Taylor will know it's not Cory Spinks in the other corner. But Pavlik, a righty, and a straight-ahead type of fighter will give Taylor the opportunity to utilize his jab and Pavlik should be easier to locate than some of the slick southpaws Taylor has seen of late. But if Taylor can't keep Pavlik in the middle of the ring, he will be in trouble. Taylor may be the champ, but he has not impressed in quite some time. I am going to take Pavlik by a 9th rd KO. Taylor can certainly win this fight. But he's got to prove it all over again to this fool.
Bob Mladinich: On paper this should be a walk in the park for Taylor. But I sense something in Pavlik that makes me think he's going to win and win impressively. Besides having great physical tools, Pavlik seems confident and comfortable enough to realize he's something special without having to tell the world how great he is. Pavlik TKO 9.
Ronan Keenan: On recent form it's easy to imagine the steadfast Pavlik steam-rolling through the version of Taylor that retreated from the undersized Kassim Ouma. The champion has been giving off the signals of a fighter who's clearly not enjoying himself, while Pavlik has been fighting like a scalded dog. But it's difficult to dismiss a boxer of Taylor's advanced ability, especially given Pavlik's inexperience. Taylor's jab should enable him to take the steam out of Pavlik's straight-ahead attacks to win a close decision. Taylor W12.
Phil Woolever: The best I've ever seen Taylor look was when he scored a 3rd round TKO against Daniel Edouard (sp?) prior to upsetting Bernard Hopkins in Taylor's next fight. If Taylor shows up in that attack mode Pavlik is in for a rough night under the boardwalk. Taylor is more a great athlete than he is a great boxer. He's beaten Hopkins twice and fought evenly with Winky Wright (I gave Taylor that nod), and that experience should be the story in a relatively easy Taylor decision. Still, Pavlik has stopped Jose Luis Zertuche and Fernando Zuniga, a pair of very sturdy true contenders, not to mention the demolition of Edison Miranda that earned Pavlik this shot. The images of Cory Spinks and Kassim Ouma holding their own with Taylor and comparative recent form hint that if the bigger Pavlik comes out with enough pressure, the folks in Youngstown could be singing.