Commentary: Final Thoughts On Taylor-Hopkins

By Tom Donelson
Updated: July 24, 2005

Jermain Taylor won a split decision over Bernard Hopkins Saturday.

NEW YORK — When is a boxing decision a travesty and when is it not? Consider the recent Taylor-Hopkins fight. I scored the fight 7-5 for Taylor, which was the same as HBO’s Harold Lederman.

As I mentioned in previous pieces, I have no problems with those who scored it in favor of Bernard Hopkins but to say that this was a boxing travesty as some pundits have suggested is crap. This was a close fight that happened in two parts.

In the first eight rounds, Taylor easily outworked Hopkins and averaged nearly twice as many punches thrown and landed. You would have been hard pressed to award Hopkins two of the first eight rounds. At best, Hopkins was down 6 rounds to 2 with four rounds left.

There is also no doubt that Hopkins dominated the last four rounds and you would have been hard pressed to give Taylor any of the last rounds.

Bottom line is that the best you could say was that Hopkins and Taylor fought to a draw. The best you can say is that Taylor eked out at a close victory.

This was not boxing’s worst decision and a split decision indicated that the judges were uncertain about the outcome. Close decision but hardly a travesty.

Was this decision comparable to the first Lennox Lewis-Evander Holyfield fight? In that fight, Lewis landed and threw twice as many punches, and dominated the action throughout the bout.

Yet, Holyfield came away with a draw. One judge later admitted that he made a mistake on his scorecard and Lewis should have won.

Then there was the first Joe Louis-Jersey Joe Walcott fight in which Louis hit the canvas twice and Walcott consistently beat the great Louis to the punch. Louis was one of the two most surprised men in the ring when the final decision was read, the other being Joe Walcott.

These two decisions were robbery of the highest order and far more obvious than the recent Taylor-Hopkins fight. There was nothing controversial about the fight and the recent commotion by Hopkins to reverse the decision is nothing more than hype to build up the rematch.

I agree with Hopkins that Duane Ford was wrong in giving Taylor the 12th round but we can just as easily ask, what fight was Jerry Roth watching in which he gave 8 rounds to Hopkins?

Just as Ford was as generous in giving Taylor the twelfth, Roth was even more generous in giving Hopkins eight rounds including four of the first eight.

Bottom line is that this fight was close and could easily have been scored either way. Two of the judges saw the fight going to Taylor by a close margin and the other judge saw it going to Hopkins by a slightly higher margin.

If you actually combined the number of rounds scored by all three judges, you will find that the judges scored it 18 rounds to 18 rounds- all even!! That is a close fight.

It is said that a challenger must take the championship from the champion and in first two thirds of the fight; Taylor was the aggressor. In the final four rounds, Hopkins took control of the fight.

This fight is comparable to the Leonard-Hagler, another close affair. Even today, that fight still causes some argument and as Richard Steele stated on Legendary night, every time that he sees that fight- it keeps getting closer.

Leonard won a very close fight against one of the all time greats and Taylor also won a close fight against an all time great. Only this time, there will be a rematch. And Hopkins recent complaints are designed to set the stage for the next bout.

The closeness that the judges scored it reflects what happen in the ring. Case closed and now let see what happen in the rematch.