TWO SECONDS FROM GLORY, TWO SECONDS TO HEARTBREAK

Two seconds.

How long is that? Maybe long enough for 1½ beats of the average human being’s heart, or for a long inbounds pass to Duke All-America Christian Laettner, who made one of the most memorable buzzer-beating shots in college basketball history.

It is but a tiny snippet of time, a few blinks of the eye, a sneeze, a hiccup. But a snippet is enough to make the difference between a gold medal and a silver in the Olympics, or between victory and defeat in one of the most controversial boxing matches ever.

The Ring magazine very well might have selected the epic first clash between undefeated super lightweight champions Julio Cesar Chavez and Meldrick Taylor its Fight of the Year for 1990 even had that bout ended two seconds sooner. But those two seconds had yet to tick off, and the nature of the bout’s conclusion – with referee Richard Steele waving his arms and awarding Chavez, who was too far behind on the scorecards to win on points, even with the benefit of his 12th-round knockdown of Taylor – has stamped it as a matter of perennial debate. Should Steele, who had to be aware of the flashing red light in his field of vision as he administered a standing-eight count to a badly shaken Taylor, signifying that the fight was in its final few seconds, have allowed the Philadelphian the benefit of that sneeze or hiccup? Or did Steele, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014, make the right call, one rendered on the side of caution?

So incredible was the unification fight of two 140-pound kings at the height of their powers – the 23-year-old Taylor, the IBF titlist, went in at 24-0-1, with 13 knockouts, to 67-0 with 49 wins inside the distance for Chavez, 27, the WBC ruler and Mexican national hero — that Chavez-Taylor got that Fight of the Year nod over a little scrap in Tokyo five weeks earlier, in which a 42-to-1 longshot named Buster Douglas knocked out heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, the most fearsome visitor to the Land of the Rising Sun since Godzilla.

I was at ringside for both fights, and although Tyson-Douglas was undoubtedly the bigger event from a historical perspective, given the aura of invincibility that clung to Tyson that afternoon (because of the 14-hour time difference between the East Coast and Japan, the bout began Sunday afternoon in Japan, Saturday night in the U.S.), but Chavez-Taylor, to me, was the more compelling scrap. It was, in every sense of the word, worthy of all the hype, which might or might not be the case when welterweight champs Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao swap punches in an even-more-anticipated unification pairing on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

It was my opinion then, and now, that Taylor deserved the victory he had earned in the first 35 minutes, 58 seconds of a war for the ages. Chavez knew there were only a few seconds remaining until the final bell, and he was right behind Steele, poised to charge forward and get in one last, telling lick. Had Steele signaled Chavez to return to the farthest neutral corner, the fight almost certainly would have ended in a Taylor split-decision victory.

There were, however, other ingredients in the bubbling broth of woulda-coulda-shoulda. What if Taylor co-trainer Lou Duva, an excitable sort under the best of circumstances, not mounted the ring apron and distracted Taylor, who turned his head to look at Duva instead of Steele when the referee was asking him if he was OK? It can be argued that Duva’s actions were tantamount to a towel toss, signifying surrender. But had Steele even noticed him?

What didn’t wash, at least to me, was Steele – whose integrity I didn’t question then, nor do now – saying that he treated all fighters the same, be they journeymen or celebrated world champions. It was Steele who, queried about his reluctance to call a halt in the third round of WBC middleweight champion Thomas Hearns’ June 6, 1988, defense against Iran Barkley, with ample time left on the clock and Hearns badly hurt and sagging against the ropes, said that, “Thomas Hearns is a great champion, and great champions deserve the opportunity to fight their way out of trouble.”

Make no mistake: What happened to Meldrick Taylor, whose downward spiral after the first Chavez fight (he was stopped in eight rounds in the rematch, on Sept 17, 1994), would have happened regardless of the outcome. The damage he absorbed from JCC’s heavy blows that night at the Las Vegas Hilton, it became increasingly obvious, was irreversible. Although Taylor, a gold medalist at 17 at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, would go on to capture another world title, scoring a unanimous decision over WBA super lightweight champion Aaron Davis on Jan. 19, 1991, and successfully defending it twice, he was a ghost of his former brilliance in losing on a fourth-round TKO when he challenged WBC super welterweight king Terry Norris on May 9, 1992.

What Chavez started, Norris clearly finished, so much so that Taylor, who had retained his WBA welterweight championship, was never a factor in relinquishing the title a one-sided, eighth-round stoppage to Crisanto Espana on Oct. 31, 1992, in London, on the undercard of heavyweight Lennox Lewis’ –round blowout of Razor Ruddock. So alarmed was Lou Duva by what he saw of Taylor, who at his finest could not possibly have been beaten by the likes of Espana, that he urged Taylor – then all of 26 — to immediately retire. Not surprisingly, Taylor refused. He would go 6-5 in his final 11 bouts, mostly against second- and third-tier opposition.

“I love the kid and I’m not going to let him get hurt,” Duva said after Taylor’s beatdown from Espana. “As far as I’m concerned, he shouldn’t fight again. He’s a great person and he’s been a great champion. He’s recovered from every disappointment he’s had in this sport, and he’ll recover from this.

“There’s been some wise guys who’ll try to convince him to keep on fighting, but it’s pretty obvious he’s through. I wouldn’t even put him in there with a four-round preliminary guy. Why? Because it only would take one punch to do it (seriously hurt Taylor).”

Had Taylor survived Chavez’s desperate 12th-round onslaught, would he have merited the win that seemingly had been within his grasp? That is a matter of judging preference; it was clear that Taylor, whose blurring hand speed was a marvel to behold, had the edge in quantity, landing punches in bunches. But Chavez packed more pop, so give him the upper hand for the impact of those shots that did connect. After the fight, Taylor spent the night at Valley View Hospital where he was treated for dehydration, a lacerated tongue and a small fracture in the bone behind his left eye. He also lost two pints of blood during the course of the bout.

“It was sad to see Meldrick last night,” Taylor’s twin brother, Eldrick, said of one of the more heartbreaking defeats ever suffered by any fighter. “`Two seconds,’” he kept repeating. “Two seconds.”

Those two seconds, truth be told, have haunted Meldrick Taylor until this day. They no doubt will haunt him for the rest of a life shrouded in recriminations.

“I think I fought the best fight I could have fought,” he said upon his release from the hospital. “I beat Chavez at his own game. A lot of people said he was going to wear me down with body shots, but I gave more than 100 percent. And then for the referee to stop it like that … it was traumatic for me.”

Until Steele waved his arms, Taylor – who, perhaps unwisely, had been advised by Duva before the climactic 12th round to continue to take the fight to Chavez instead of sitting on his presumed lead – was too far ahead to be caught on points. His rapid-fire combinations had found favor with judges Jerry Roth and Dave Moretti, who had him ahead by respective margins of 108-101 and 107-102, with Chuck Giampa favoring Chavez by 105-104. And for those who would argue that Taylor was foolish in not getting on his bicycle, remember that Oscar De La Hoya thought he was too far ahead to lose a decision to Felix Trinidad. Chavez’s status as a hugely popular Mexican icon might have had the Duva corner leery that the scorecards weren’t as tilted in their man’s favor as it turned out.

Lou Duva and his son, Dan, the Main Events president who served as Taylor’s promoter, reacted to the sudden, shocking ending by seeking to have the result overturned, citing violations of IBF rule 14, WBC rule 12 and NSAC rule 467.740, all of which essentially are the same. It was their contention that Steele, by not directing Chavez to the farthest neutral corner, had made a mistake that in essence deprived Taylor of his greatest moment of professional glory. But those official protests were not upheld, and neither was their alternative demand that the fight be declared a no-contest, which would have allowed Taylor to retain his IBF belt.

HBO revisited that amazing fight, and its aftermath, in 2002 with the documentary “Legendary Nights: The Tale of Chavez-Taylor,” with arguments made on both sides of the issue.

“I thought Richard Steele made a bad stoppage,” offered Larry Merchant, HBO’s longtime fight analyst. “Meldrick Taylor fought his heart out. He had earned the right of those extra two seconds.”

Counterpoints were offered by Boston sports columnist Ron Borges, and, of course, Steele.

“It was hard initially to step back and reallylook at what had happened,” Borges opined. “One guy (Taylor) got assaulted at the end, is what happened. Should they have stopped the fight? Yeah, they should have stopped the fight.”

Added Steele: “I was really thrilled to be selected for this fight … Really, a great moment in my life. I never regretted what I did.”

Again, the whirling dervish that had been Meldrick Taylor ceased to exist that March night a quarter-century ago. It was a fight that cost him a significant chunk of his prime, additional financial benefits (he had agreed to a six-bout, $10 million-to-$12 million contract extension with HBO, contingent on his winning) and, sadly, his health. His gift literally had been beaten out of him.

In the HBO documentary, Las Vegas ring physician Margaret Goodman said that Taylor, whose slurred speech just a few years after the Chavez fight was in marked contrast to the pre-Chavez model, “shows all evidence of chronic brain injury,” and that his continued participation as an active boxer makes me embarrassed for the sport.”

Some people – those who don’t understand the thrall in which boxing holds its participants — have told me that Muhammad Ali stayed too long at the fair, that if they were in his place and knew what awaited him, they would never even have taken up such a dangerous occupation. But there are others who gladly would risk all to know, even for a day, what it must feel like to be one of the most charismatic and admired athletes ever to walk the face of the earth. There is a steep price that sometimes must be paid to achieve extraordinary things, and I have to believe a significant percentage of those who never come close to breaking free from the shackles of the mundane would accept future diminishment for true greatness in the full bloom of their youth.

Meldrick Taylor came so very close to having it all, and one can only wonder if he could more easily accept his sad present circumstances had he only had the benefit of two seconds that forever will be just beyond his grasp.

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COMMENTS

-CPX :

Excellent read, I'll need to watch this fight again, it's been a while, a cruel twist of fate for Taylor..


-New York Tony :

Terrible decision by Steele, and no degree of rationalization will ever render it less terrible.


-Domenic :

This was like 2 weeks or so after Douglas-Tyson. Phenomenal war. Hard to disagree NY Tony. Steele contended that his job wasn't to focus on the clock, but the fighter. Fair enough. But context matters, and that's where he failed. How aren't you cognizant of that fact that the 10 second light is blinking in the background, and that damn near 3 minutes of war has elapsed in the 12th round. And you've shared the ring with two elite athletes at their respective zeniths. I'm with Merchant. He deserved those two seconds. That said, even though this fight ruined Taylor, he did manage to win another strap after it. This is one of those 'losses' that wasn't a loss at all.


-stormcentre :

Tremendous fight. Good read. Bad decision on Steele's part. Sure you always look out for the fighter's safety. But you have to have context. Steele (whom is of the better group of top-level referees today) saying that he treated all fighters the same, be they journeymen or celebrated world champions, but still - in relation to his reluctance to call a halt in the third round of the WBC middleweight champion Thomas Hearns’ June 6, 1988, defense against Iran Barkley - claimed that “Thomas Hearns is a great champion, and great champions deserve the opportunity to fight their way out of trouble.”; is all you need to know if you're judging this matter in terms of consistency. Sometimes - even though you shouldn't - you forget how much of a monster Chavez Sr. and Taylor really were. Stories like this bring it all back.


-mortcola :

Heartbreaking and epic. To NYTony, a question - one I?m not sure of the answer to: Is the fight to be decided on the basis of what happens before the final bell, or on sentiment, or on speculation about what will happen in two seconds? If a basketball team lands two three-pointers in the final 30 seconds, and are up by a point at the buzzer, do they win even though they were dominated prior to that? Basketball points are not the same as boxing points. The points only count before the final signal - even if there are only seconds lefts. More points means you win,and no one disputes whether the shot really went in the hoop. It is absolute. Like all other sports, basketball is judged not on how people analyze what happened in the rest of the contest. We don?t treat boxing like a sport. We treat it like life, like a kind of frontier survival test, with frontier justice in the form of opinions of three observers who have no objective criteria - standards we understand in words, yes, like ring generalship, effective punching, damage done, which fighter would you rather be - but nothing like the absolute fact that a basket is two points, a foul shot is one, a distance-shot is three; a touchdown (and football is also ?frontier?, and elemental, but also, like gentler sports, has absolute, quantifiable measurements) is six, the kick after is one, the safety is two, field goal...you all know this. A football ref may miss a call, but the standards for that call are absolute, and the penalty is the same for everyone. When I think of boxing just as a sport, it is ABSOLUTE to me that Taylor lost because he was rendered helpless before the final bell - no matter what would have happened next. ?After? and ?what if?? don?t exist, because nothing exists except what happens between the bells. Chavez accomplished what you have to if you want to win but are behind on points, and that is to beat down the opponent so that a ref, in the absence of a ten-count, has to make a JUDGMENT call about HOW BADLY the fighter is beaten down - but few dispute whether Taylor was hurt enough, whether another ref would have found him fine enough to continue. The argument is always about what would have happened two seconds LATER. When I think of boxing like life, I think Taylor got robbed, because he EARNED the win for all but a few seconds of the fight, and Chavez only made a nice play, nice try in the final two minutes, but didn?t have the points Which one is boxing? An epic tale, or a contest that happens entirely between the two bells? Food for discussion.


-Steve V. :

Okay, I'm going to be "that guy" for a moment and make a comment that has nothing to do with the main topic: Steele did not give Taylor a "standing eight count," as you say in the article, Bernard. He was completing the
mandatory eight count following the knockdown. Perhaps I'm being petty, but the difference in these two procedures is a significant one in the world of boxing, and it aggravates me to see more and more solid, knowledgeable boxing people blithely substituting "standing eight" for "mandatory eight." A standing eight is administered "when no knockdown is scored" and is at the discretion of the referee. Back on-topic: I don't have a big problem with the ending. Lou Duva lost that bout for Meldrick by illegally distracting him from the ring apron, which, as you pointed out, called for an instant DQ even if Taylor hadn't looked to him. Harsh, yes, but that's the way I've come to feel about it. Steve V.


-New York Tony :

An interesting take, mortcola, but for me it comes down to this: Taylor was ahead on the cards and would have won if Steele had allowed the bell to ring 2 seconds later. That Taylor was no longer capable of defending himself is irrelevant, given that he no longer had to. With 2 seconds remaining, Chavez couldn't possibly have gotten to where Taylor was standing. I'd be the first to agree with Steele if there'd been 10 seconds left, maybe even 5, but not 2. Steele's intentions were good, but we all know what's paved with good intentions -- in this case, a personal hell for Taylor.


-stormcentre :

Some mature, good and well-thought out posts here; so I am back. Mortcola; dropping some wisdom down like Rick Ross - from the back seat of the caddy and still with the shades on - telling cats on the corner to step up the pace a little, and if you do, big things are just round the corner. Steve V; you're raising good points about Duva and the count. This stuff can be like the airline crashes that that get investigated on those TV shows; usually the controversial, tragic and/or sensational incident is the result of multiple issues and/or failures. To a much lesser (but perhaps equally sensational) extent Floyd's fight with Ortiz and the ending was quite similar. Once 2 or 3 events happen that take matters outside of the usual frame of reference, the propensity then for any further unexpected event to result in controversial, tragic and/or sensational incidents and failures is statistically high. Ultimately where boxing is not like other sports and incredibly/instead "is" like real life - false and suggestible memory included - is with the fact that it is - both from a spectator viewpoint and also from a legitimate judging position - justifiably and extremely subjective. That is ultimately where the rubber meets the road and (along with the fact that we all, everyday, fight for survival in an unnatural commercial world) one of the reasons why boxing is so sensational; in every sense of the word. Here are some other cats that are also aware of this realisation . . . .
->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr-RqsEH9IU Enjoy. Keep it real.


-stormcentre :

Some mature, good and well-thought out posts here; so I am back. Mortcola; dropping some wisdom down like Rick Ross - from the back seat of the caddy and still with the shades on - telling cats on the corner to step up the pace a little, and if you do, big things are just round the corner. Steve V; you're raising good points about Duva and the count. This stuff can be like the airline crashes that that get investigated on those TV shows; usually the controversial, tragic and/or sensational incident is the result of multiple issues and/or failures. To a much lesser (but perhaps equally sensational) extent Floyd's fight with Ortiz and the ending was quite similar. Once 2 or 3 events happen that take matters outside of the usual frame of reference, the propensity then for any further unexpected event to result in controversial, tragic and/or sensational incidents and failures is statistically high. Ultimately where boxing is not like other sports and incredibly/instead "is" like real life - false and suggestible memory included - is with the fact that it is - both from a spectator viewpoint and also from a legitimate judging position - justifiably and extremely subjective. That is ultimately where the rubber meets the road and (along with the fact that we all, everyday, fight for survival in an unnatural commercial world) one of the reasons why boxing is so sensational; in every sense of the word. Here are some other cats that are also aware of this realisation . . . .
->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr-RqsEH9IU Enjoy. Keep it real.


-stormcentre :

An interesting take, mortcola, but for me it comes down to this: Taylor was ahead on the cards and would have won if Steele had allowed the bell to ring 2 seconds later. That Taylor was no longer capable of defending himself is irrelevant, given that he no longer had to. With 2 seconds remaining, Chavez couldn't possibly have gotten to where Taylor was standing. I'd be the first to agree with Steele if there'd been 10 seconds left, maybe even 5, but not 2. Steele's intentions were good, but we all know what's paved with good intentions -- in this case, a personal hell for Taylor.
OMG you must have ESP - I had just returned after my above post and was just about to dump that here myself. That is the point exactly. Someone buy that man a beer.


-stormcentre :

The referee also has a responsibility to each fighter's career, even though that responsibility is less significant that that he has to their safety. However, in the case we're talking about here, there was almost no chance that Taylor would have suffered more. Additionally, the financial rewards he would have netted (had Steele allowed the fight to continue for 2 seconds) would have most likely assisted his health in later life.


-stormcentre :

The referee also has a responsibility to each fighter's career, even though that responsibility is less significant that that he has to their safety. However, in the case we're talking about here, there was almost no chance that Taylor would have suffered more. Additionally, the financial rewards he would have netted (had Steele allowed the fight to continue for 2 seconds) would have most likely assisted his health in later life.


-tlig :

No one seems to take into consideration Chavez? RIGHT to win the fight by KO even with a couple of seconds to go. Why not? He knew he was behind on points and needed the knockout and did everything he could to earn it- should he have been denied that on the basis of Taylor being so far ahead? For me, had Steele allowed Meldrick finish (despite him not responding to being asked twice if he was okay) just because there were two seconds left would have been tantamount to Julio being robbed of a clearly deserved victory.


-Radam G :

No one seems to take into consideration Chavez? RIGHT to win the fight by KO even with a couple of seconds to go. Why not? He knew he was behind on points and needed the knockout and did everything he could to earn it- should he have been denied that on the basis of Taylor being so far ahead? For me, had Steele allowed Meldrick finish (despite him not responding to being asked twice if he was okay) just because there were two seconds left would have been tantamount to Julio being robbed of a clearly deserved victory.
The referee did the right thing. He was not clock watching, but was watching out for the safety of the pugs. Taylor didn't respond with fight emergence, so Steele responded with referee emergence. Holla!


-Radam G :

No one seems to take into consideration Chavez’ RIGHT to win the fight by KO even with a couple of seconds to go. Why not? He knew he was behind on points and needed the knockout and did everything he could to earn it- should he have been denied that on the basis of Taylor being so far ahead? For me, had Steele allowed Meldrick finish (despite him not responding to being asked twice if he was okay) just because there were two seconds left would have been tantamount to Julio being robbed of a clearly deserved victory.
The referee did the right thing. He was not clock watching, but was watching out for the safety of the pugs. Taylor didn't respond with fight emergence, so Steele responded with referee emergence. Holla!


-stormcentre :

Yep, good point Tlig and MMMRG. This is why, and a product of the game being, justifiably subjective. It's also why the referee's decision is (usually) final. As you could continually counter with something like . . . . . ""Well if Chavez and Taylor both earned the right to continue and reap the rewards of a win, then Steele - who must have known the 12th round was nearing its end, could have easily allowed the action to continue to it's natural conclusion and at the same time watched Taylor very closely; as Steele himself has done and openly says (with the above-mentioned Hearns fight)"should happen with champions"." That was a scenario-option that Steele had available to him but chose not to exercise on what was probably a Don King promotion (therefore defining who was, if not paying Steele, then ensuring Steele had high profile work). The end result was a clear diversion from the policy and philosophy not only that Steele himself claims should apply in those circumstances - but has previously applied. The end result was also a Don Kind fighter just scarping through with a victory in the 11th hour after being pretty convincingly beat on the scorecards for the majority of the fight.


-stormcentre :

Yep, good points Tlig and MMMRG. This is why, and a product of the game being, justifiably subjective. It's also why the referee's decision is (usually) final. As you could continually counter with something like . . . . . ""Well if Chavez and Taylor both earned the right to continue and reap the rewards of a win, then Steele - who must have known the 12th round was nearing its end, could have easily allowed the action to continue to it's natural conclusion and at the same time watched Taylor very closely; as Steele himself has done and openly says (with the above-mentioned Hearns fight)"should happen with champions"." That was a scenario-option that Steele had available to him but chose not to exercise on what was probably a Don King promotion (therefore defining who was, if not paying Steele, then ensuring Steele had high profile work). The end result was a clear diversion from the policy and philosophy not only that Steele himself claims should apply in those circumstances - but has previously applied. The end result was also a Don Kind fighter just scarping through with a victory in the 11th hour after being pretty convincingly beat on the scorecards for the majority of the fight.


-mortcola :

OMG you must have ESP - I had just returned after my above post and was just about to dump that here myself. That is the point exactly. Someone buy that man a beer.
I have a headache, because I agree with both points of view. But I keep getting stuck on the idea that a fight is judged on what happens between the bells, not on what we think would happen if the ref’s judgment is different based on what the clock says. We’ll never really be settled on this. Most of all, I feel bad for the price Meldrick paid for that fight, win or lose. Has a fighter not crippled or killed by a brain bleed ever been so ruined by the damage sustained in just one fight? He was one brave dude, and both lightning fast and willing to mix it up.


-the Roast :

Good to see the Plummy Bastard Mortcola back on the scene. If we could just get Robert Curtis back we'd be rollin. Great points made by everyone. You can see this from both sides. Yes he should have stopped it and no he should not have stopped it. Duva was being a douche as usual. Who can forget Roger Mayweather flooring Duva with an uppercut after the Paz fight? Duva was out of control back in those days. Meldrick Taylor is a tragic figure and was never the same after that fight. Win or lose. One of the most unforgettable moments in boxing history. Ain't no fight worth a man's life.


-ArneK. :

I experienced a flood of memories as I read this piece by Bernard Fernandez. Can it really be true that 25 years have elapsed since this unforgettable battle? A couple of points: Bernard writes that Steele had to be aware of the flashing red light on the corner post as he was administering the eight-count. Steele said he wasn't. Richard Steele is a man of high character and I would never question his veracity. If there comes a point when a fighter is in jeopardy of being badly hurt -- or worse -- a good ref becomes tunnel-visioned, blocking out all other stimuli. New York Tony is right about there not being enough time for Chavez to land another punch. But how often have we seen a fight end with a boxer landing a punch after the bell? Stormcentre says Taylor was convincingly ahead on the scorecards. It's indisputable that he landed many more punches, and that he was ahead by "7" and "5" points on two of the scorecards, but most of the ringside press thought that the margin was slimmer. According to the LA Times man Earl Gutskey, most ringside reporters had Taylor up by "1" to "3" points after 11 rounds. Gutskey wrote that he and his colleague, the late Allan Malamud, weren't in agreement. One of them -- he didn't specify who -- had Chavez winning the fight (105-104) going into the final round. So if Richard Steele had allowed those two seconds to tick off, Taylor would have won the fight, but by scores that most reporters (and me) would have considered too wide. In an earlier post, I wrote that back in the days when referees were the sole arbiter, they tended to favor the fighter that looked fresher at the final bell. So if this fight had transpired back in the olden days -- before any of us were born -- there's little doubt that the ref would have raised Chavez's hand. Throughout most of the twentieth century, most title fights were 15 rounds. If this had been a 15-round fight, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The ringside doctor would have never allowed Taylor to continue. Lest we forget, he was carried from the ring on a stretcher as a precautionary measure. At the hospital, the attending physician set that his injuries were consistent with that of a person that had been in a bad car accident. Chavez was basically unmarked. The announced crowd for this fight was only 9,130, but it was a full house in the ballroom of the Las Vegas Hilton and the atmosphere was electric. I was privileged to be there. Did Meldrick Taylor get robbed? Maybe, but in my mind the right guy won the fight.


-stormcentre :

Good points. Especially the 15 round thingy and also how much Chavez had bashed Taylor. I once - via the media - read a comprehensive medical report on Taylor when he was admitted to hospital that night. It wasn't pretty. Chavez was an animal and his punches - although not always swift in combination like some of the USA stylists he fought - were like sledgehammers. In his prime, that dedicated look of assassination that he had both before and during fights was awesome.


-Domenic :

Flip Homansky attended to Taylor after the fight, and said the following: ?Meldrick suffered a facial fracture, he was urinating blood, and his face was grotesquely swollen. This was a kid who was truly beaten up to the face, the body, and the brain.? (Source - HBO's Legendary Nights, which chronicled the bout) Had it gone to the cards, I had Taylor winning (obviously with a 10-8 Chavez 12th). But if you use Max Kellerman's 'which fighter would you rather be' scoring criteria, I don't think a single soul would have said let me be Taylor at the start of the 12th round. I'm with Dr. Mortcola. There's no right or wrong answer here. It's just a visceral call that's in the eye of the beholder. And Steele makes a hell of a case when interviewed immediately after the fight by Merchant. To paraphrase, he confidently said he's not the timekeeper, Taylor was being battered by "good, hard" shots, and no fight is worth a man's life (as an aside, Steele would ultimately take the whole bottle of aspirin with this rationale, pulling the trigger way too soon in Tyson-Ruddock 1). But I just think in a bout of this magnitude, the stakes of the bout, Taylor deserved the benefit of the doubt. Forget that Chavez had no time to land another shot. Even if he did, Steele could've hair-trigger stopped it right then (ala Bowe-Holyfield 3). Would Taylor's career have been different had he won? I don't think so, but who knows. Remember, even though this fight had pernicious consequences for Taylor, he did manage to take Aaron Davis' 147 pound WBA title less than a year later. Davis was undefeated at the time, and beat Mark Breland. This is a remarkable achievement, considering what he endured in the Chavez fight, and what we know today. Jim Lampley called it beautifully at the 48 minute mark: "If you're a fight fan, get ready for 3 minutes of high drama now, as a desperate and determined Julio Cesar Chavez tries to take out a fading and battered Meldrick Taylor, who has completely dominated him through most of the fight." Spot-on.
->http://youtu.be/m9zKwGeHIgM


-Domenic :

Flip Homansky attended to Taylor after the fight, and said the following: “Meldrick suffered a facial fracture, he was urinating blood, and his face was grotesquely swollen. This was a kid who was truly beaten up to the face, the body, and the brain.” (Source - HBO's Legendary Nights, which chronicled the bout) Had it gone to the cards, I had Taylor winning (obviously with a 10-8 Chavez 12th). But if you use Max Kellerman's 'which fighter would you rather be' scoring criteria, I don't think a single soul would have said let me be Taylor at the start of the 12th round. I'm with Dr. Mortcola. There's no right or wrong answer here. It's just a visceral call that's in the eye of the beholder. And Steele makes a hell of a case when interviewed immediately after the fight by Merchant. To paraphrase, he confidently said he's not the timekeeper, Taylor was being battered by "good, hard" shots, and no fight is worth a man's life (as an aside, Steele would ultimately take the whole bottle of aspirin with this rationale, pulling the trigger way too soon in Tyson-Ruddock 1). But I just think in a bout of this magnitude, the stakes of the bout, Taylor deserved the benefit of the doubt. Forget that Chavez had no time to land another shot. Even if he did, Steele could've hair-trigger stopped it right then (ala Bowe-Holyfield 3). Would Taylor's career have been different had he won? I don't think so, but who knows. Remember, even though this fight had pernicious consequences for Taylor, he did manage to take Aaron Davis' 147 pound WBA title less than a year later. Davis was undefeated at the time, and beat Mark Breland. This is a remarkable achievement, considering what he endured in the Chavez fight, and what we know today. Jim Lampley called it beautifully at the 48 minute mark: "If you're a fight fan, get ready for 3 minutes of high drama now, as a desperate and determined Julio Cesar Chavez tries to take out a fading and battered Meldrick Taylor, who has completely dominated him through most of the fight." Spot-on.
->http://youtu.be/m9zKwGeHIgM


-stormcentre :

Flip Homansky attended to Taylor after the fight, and said the following: “Meldrick suffered a facial fracture, he was urinating blood, and his face was grotesquely swollen. This was a kid who was truly beaten up to the face, the body, and the brain.” (Source - HBO's Legendary Nights, which chronicled the bout) Had it gone to the cards, I had Taylor winning (obviously with a 10-8 Chavez 12th). But if you use Max Kellerman's 'which fighter would you rather be' scoring criteria, I don't think a single soul would have said let me be Taylor at the start of the 12th round. I'm with Dr. Mortcola. There's no right or wrong answer here. It's just a visceral call that's in the eye of the beholder. And Steele makes a hell of a case when interviewed immediately after the fight by Merchant. To paraphrase, he confidently said he's not the timekeeper, Taylor was being battered by "good, hard" shots, and no fight is worth a man's life (as an aside, Steele would ultimately take the whole bottle of aspirin with this rationale, pulling the trigger way too soon in Tyson-Ruddock 1). But I just think in a bout of this magnitude, the stakes of the bout, Taylor deserved the benefit of the doubt. Forget that Chavez had no time to land another shot. Even if he did, Steele could've hair-trigger stopped it right then (ala Bowe-Holyfield 3). Would Taylor's career have been different had he won? I don't think so, but who knows. Remember, even though this fight had pernicious consequences for Taylor, he did manage to take Aaron Davis' 147 pound WBA title less than a year later. Davis was undefeated at the time, and beat Mark Breland. This is a remarkable achievement, considering what he endured in the Chavez fight, and what we know today. Jim Lampley called it beautifully at the 48 minute mark: "If you're a fight fan, get ready for 3 minutes of high drama now, as a desperate and determined Julio Cesar Chavez tries to take out a fading and battered Meldrick Taylor, who has completely dominated him through most of the fight." Spot-on.
->http://youtu.be/m9zKwGeHIgM
Good post. There is no other sport like boxing and there is no other sport that is quite so subjective an almost all aspects. Using Max Kellerman's criteria; I know who I'd rather be.