Thoughts On Taylor-Wright

By Tom Donelson
Updated: June 22, 2006

Winky Wright (left) & Jermain Taylor fought to a draw last Saturday night

Winky Wright (left) & Jermain Taylor fought to a draw last Saturday night

NEW YORK — Most of us have come to terms with the results of the Jermain Taylor-Winky Wright recent struggle. The statistic themselves don’t tell the whole story. Taylor threw more punches and his punches had more snap.

Wright’s defensive skills were superior as he avoided many of Taylor’s haymakers and his right jab proved accurate. There were numerous head butts including one in the ninth round that led to the swelling around Taylor’s left eye.

A clash of styles caused the head butts, but the fight itself proved to be both intriguing and action packed.

Wright’s version of the “peek-a-boo” proved problematic for Taylor at times as many punches merely slipped off the Wright defense. Wright’s boxing skills challenged the more raw Taylor, but there were times that Taylor’s power gave Wright trouble as well.

It was a fight that both fighters brought their A-game and neither fighter could truly dominate the other.

When Taylor retreated to the ropes, Wright’s boxing skills and accuracy proved advantageous whereas when the fight moved to the middle of the ring, Taylor’s hand speed and power took control.

Many of the rounds were flipped of a coin and the judges essentially did that. They flipped a coin and the fight came up even.

What does this fight tell us? Simply that for the moment, these are the two best Middleweights in a division that is suddenly deep.

For Taylor, this is his third tough close fight against two of the best pound for pound fighters. Hardly dominant in none of these fights, he still managed to take two of these three fights and came way with a draw in the third.

If nothing else, he showed that he is one of the best Middleweights and there should be no more questions on whether Taylor belongs among the elites of the Middleweights. He does.

As for Winky Wright, his boxing skills and tough chin showed boxing fans why he is one of the best in the business. For many years, Wright has toiled away from the maddening crowd of the main boxing world and fought many of his fight on the other side of Atlantic where Europeans boxing fans valued Wright skills more.

He may have bored American boxing fans, but Europeans appeared to appreciate Wright’s command of the ring.

So what is next? The obvious is a second Wright-Taylor fight and there is no doubt that this fight would attract even a larger crowd and more bucks. After the fight, Wright did not appear to want anything to do with a rematch whereas Taylor seemed perfectly happy to settle the question, who is truly the best?

But if Wright-Taylor does not come off, there are plenty of options for both fighters. For one, both fighters could easily fight the other Middleweight paper champions. Arthur Abraham and Felix Sturm have shown that they are worthy competitors for both Americans.

These fights would go a long way to unifying the title and if both Wright and Taylor triumph; this sets up even bigger payday as they come into a rematch with titles.

Taylor showed both many strengths and weakness. His strength is his arsenal of punches and hand speed. His power gives him an edge but as Lennox Lewis noted in his commentary, Taylor does have defensive liabilities.

He keeps his hand down and proved vulnerable to Wright’s right jab.Wright’s jab has bothered many of good fighters but Taylor made Wright’s job a little easier through defensive lapses and retreating to the rope.

Wright had his chance to clinch the victory, but like Ken Norton in his third fight with Ali, Wright gave the round away. He acted like the winner and moved away from Taylor.

While Taylor could not connect on any heavy punches, he did not receive any retaliation in return. Wright failure to close the show ensured Taylor continued hold on the true undisputed Middleweight champion.

In his last three fights, Taylor had taken advantages of veteran fighters’ momentary failures of proper strategy. Hopkins essentially threw away most of the early rounds in his first fight against Taylor and Wright gave Taylor the last round of their fight.

Taylor followed the old boxing maxim; keep fighting until the final bell and he always assumed that the fight was in the balance. It is that factor that has allowed Taylor to gain and then keep his title from two of the better fighters of the past two decades.