NEW YORK– Unbeaten world middleweight champion Jermain Taylor is set to defend against Cory Spinks, the IBF junior middleweight champion.
Taylor (26-0-1, 17 KOs) vs. Spinks (36-3, 11 KOs) may be the headline attraction of an HBO-televised boxing doubleheader on Saturday, May 19 at FedEx Forum in Memphis.
However, the main event of the evening could be Edison Miranda (28-1, 24 KOs) against unbeaten middleweight prospect Kelly Pavlik (30-0, 27 KOs).
Taylor, a 28-year-old native of Little Rock , Arkansas, will be making the fourth defense of the WBC/WBO 160-pound titles he won in July of 2005.
Since ending the single 10-year, 20 successful defense reign of Bernard Hopkins, Taylor has defended against Hopkins (in a rematch), former world champions Winky Wright, and Kassim Ouma respectively.
Taylor believes that Spinks will be a challenge. ï¿½Every fighter I go up against will be a challenge,ï¿½ Taylor said. ï¿½The challenge is keeping my belts. Cory is a hell of a fighter, man”.
“Cory has speed – the way he moves, how slick he is. I have watch Cory fight since we where kids so I know what he will bring to the table. Heï¿½s coming to win and take my belts.ï¿½
Although Taylor will fight another world champion in Spinks, 29 from St. Louis, it will be his third consecutive title defense against another good fighter moving up in weight from the 154-pound weight class.
“I have just been wanting to fight the best and Jermain is one of the best out there,ï¿½ Spinks said. ï¿½So I just want to restore that going back to when fighters in boxing would fight anybody to make a good fight for the fame, you know. That’s what I want to restore back to this game. I am just pumped up about this fight and ready to go.ï¿½
Miranda Stalks Taylor
During the past several months, Miranda has made serious strides in an attempt to convince the boxing public, television networks, and promoters (namely Lou DiBella, Taylorï¿½s promoter), that he is the only legitimate contender for Taylorï¿½s world middleweight championship.
The idea is that if Taylor, by consensus, is universally recognized by the boxing community as the world middleweight champion, then Miranda wants to be the overwhelming favorite to challenge Taylor.
The question as to whether Miranda can beat Taylor is a completely different topic of conversation. Miranda, 26 from Columbia , has done a pretty convincing job of, at least, generating everyoneï¿½s attention.
Miranda has displayed one-punch knockout power (or at least knockdown power) in recent victories against Willie Gibbs and previously unbeaten Allan Green.
Miranda also has a victory against former world middleweight title contender Howard Eastman, a very tall and rangy boxer who dropped William Joppy and challenged Hopkins in title fights.
Mirandaï¿½s video-taped message to both Taylor and DiBella on the internet was an ingenious method of marketing by Warriors Boxing, Mirandaï¿½s promoters.
In attempt to sway Taylor into fighting him, Miranda simply referred to himself as ï¿½Panteraï¿½ and issued an open challenge. ï¿½Panteraï¿½ said that Taylor is running scared and called him a ï¿½coward.ï¿½
ï¿½Letï¿½s make Edison Miranda vs. Jermain Taylor happen,ï¿½ Miranda said during a highly publicized on-line video. ï¿½Because thatï¿½s what all the fans are waiting forï¿½ Everybody. The managers, promotersï¿½ Edison Miranda has eliminated everybody from his path.ï¿½
Unbeaten Pavlik Stands In Mirandaï¿½s Path
ï¿½We have entitled Miranda-Pavlik the right to fight,ï¿½ DiBella said. ï¿½This is a throw back fight. A fight between two guys who are clearly are the two biggest challengers to middleweight champion Jermain Taylor. Theyï¿½re taking each other on to determine which one of them is deserving of the shot”.
“The winner of this fight has a deep claim to being the real mandatory challenger, the man who deserves the shot to getting in that ring for the undisputable middleweight championship of the world.ï¿½
If Miranda wishes to convince Taylor that he is the number one middleweight contender, he must prove it against Pavlik, a fighter unlike the opponents that Miranda had mentioned in his clearly expressed, well-directed, and entertaining video.
ï¿½Itï¿½s going to be an exciting fight,ï¿½ Pavlik said of Miranda. ï¿½Iï¿½m going to make a statement again. Thatï¿½s what Iï¿½ve been doing my entire career. Itï¿½s very important that I go in there, take care of business, and move on to the world title. Itï¿½s been seven years. Iï¿½ve been waiting for this dream.ï¿½
Pavlik, 25 from Youngstown, Ohio has fought professionally since 2000 after compiling a successful 89-9 amateur record. Pavlik has two-handed knockout power. He throws long-straight-punches and uses his reach very well for a tall (6-foot-2) fighter.
Pavlik has the type of knockout power that wobbles opponentsï¿½ legs, causes delayed reactions, and sends opponents sprawling onto the canvas.
His recent KO’s of Jose Luis Zertuche, Lenord Pierre, and Bronco McKart is a clear indication that he is a dangerous fighter to be reckoned with.
Pavlik is currently riding a seven-fight knockout streak and has stopped 10 of his last 11 opponents. Pavlik has never fought past the ninth round in his career.
Pavlik, unlike Miranda is still unbeaten, and he is widely regarded by many as a threatening, top middleweight title contender. If Miranda beats Pavlik, then ï¿½Pantera,ï¿½ would have proven himself worthy of being the next challenger to Taylorï¿½s throne.