BASN Boxing Roundup: Taylor Tops Spinks, Pavlik Knocks Out Miranda In A War

By Francis Walker
Updated: May 21, 2007

Boxing Gloves NEW YORK — Jermain Taylor (27-0-1, 17 KOs) successfully defended his WBC/WBO middleweight championships by winning a 12-round split decision against Cory Spinks (36-4, 11 KOs), the IBF junior middleweight champion, in the main event of an HBO doubleheader this past Saturday at FedEx Forum in Memphis.

Since beating Bernard Hopkins twice in 2005, Taylor has defended his 160-pound championships against fighters moving up from the smaller junior middleweight division.

Taylor, a 28 year-old from Little Rock, fought a draw against Winky Wright and earned a decision victory against Kassim Ouma. Spinks, who made his middleweight debut and will return to the junior middleweight division as a 154-pound titlist, was the third consecutive current or former world champion to have moved up from the 154-pound class to fight Taylor .

A victory against Spinks, 29, St. Louis, registered Taylor’s fourth successful title defense as middleweight champion. But it wasn’t as exciting or easy to watch as Pavlik-Miranda.

Taylor fought Spinks in a highly technical boxing match. Spinks, a southpaw (left-handed) fighter used his foot speed and ring generalship to keep away from Taylor.

The middleweight champion spent a lot of time feinting, cutting off the ring, and trying to land left jabs. Taylor had difficulty landing more than two punches in one sequence. There were hardly any clinches or willingness by Spinks to engage Taylor in an exchange from close range.

“I felt like I did what I had to do to win,” Taylor said afterwards. “It was like a chess match but felt like I was doing all the chasing. You can’t win a championship running. He ran the whole night.”

Spinks was very fast and very difficult to hit. He kept moving around, which made it difficult for Taylor to hit Spinks cleanly. He was fast enough to land sneaky straight punches that connected on Taylor’s arms and shoulders.

Many of the punches that Spinks threw didn’t even touch Taylor’s gloves. Taylor pressed the fight by moving forward and attempting to throw punches. Taylor was the aggressor and was good enough to outbox Spinks through twelve rounds.

However, the three judges at ringside saw the fight differently. Two judges scored the fight a distant 117-111 and closer at 115-113 for Taylor . The third scorecard read an overwhelming 117-111 for Spinks.

BASN scored the fight 116-113 for Taylor, who landed 101 of 319 total punches (32%). Spinks threw 542 punches, but landed only 85 (16%).

Pavlik Too Skillful, Overwhelms “Pantera”

In the co-feature, which could have easily been the main event on any other fight card, unbeaten Kelly Pavlik (30-0, 28 KOs) knocked out Edison Miranda (28-2, 24 KOs ) in the seventh round of an action-packed, slugfest. Pavlik, 25, Youngstown, Ohio , has arguably become the consensus No. 1-ranked contender for the world middleweight championship.

“We stuck to the game plan that we had,” Pavlik said afterward. “He can punch like a mule, but our game plan was to keep having him fight going backwards. He can’t fight that well going back.”

In the opening round, Pavlik exchanged powered shots with Miranda, 26 of Columbia, Pavlik’s punches were straighter, a little sharper, and found their mark on Miranda’s chin. Pavlik was able to pressure Miranda against the ropes several times and caught “Pantera” with plenty of big shots. But Miranda kept firing back and landed some hard shots as well.

“[Miranda] hit me with a couple of clean punches in the first round,” Pavlik added. “He couldn’t hurt me and once he felt my power, he was really worried.”

It was very interesting to notice how Pavlik forced Miranda to fight moving backwards, as both fighters continued to whack each other with power hooks, uppercuts, and looping punches. Miranda couldn’t stop Pavlik’s right hand from landing flush on his chin.

The greatly anticipated slugfest eventually turned into target practice for Pavlik. Miranda was seriously hurt by a booming right hand and a barrage of punches that led to two knockdowns in the sixth round. Miranda was also docked one point for spitting out his moth piece between knockdowns by referee Steve Smoger.

Pavlik finished Miranda at 1:54 of the seventh round with a vicious barrage of punches that nearly knocked him through the ropes.

Overall, Pavlik landed 242 of 539 total punches (45%). Miranda missed 393 of the 504 punches thrown and connected only for 22% (111). Pavlik out landed Miranda in power shots (193-90) as well.

“I want Taylor ,” Pavlik added. “He’s the world champ.”

The stage is set for Taylor to defend his 160-pound championships against Pavlik, who arguably will be Taylor’s toughest opponent since winning the world middleweight championship.

Taylor will have a much more difficult time with Pavlik than he had with Spinks. Pavlik will test Taylor’s lightning-rod left jabs and combination punching which was hardly on display against Spinks. Both fighters are young, unbeaten, and can fight. Taylor-Pavlik has the makings of a very good boxer vs. puncher match.

There is also the possibility of Taylor fighting boxing’s current longest-reigning world champion, WBO super middleweight titlist Joe Calzaghe.

Hopkins vs. Wright In July

Former world light heavyweight and world middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins is coming out of retirement at age 42. Hopkins will face the man that Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad never fought, Ronald “Winky” Wright on July 21, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The bout will televised on HBO Pay Per View at 9 PM/EST.

Hopkins will be moving down to 170 pounds to face Wright, who will be moving up from the 160-pound middleweight limit to make the fight happen.

In his last fight in June 2006, Hopkins moved up from the middleweight division to win a 12-round unanimous decision against Antonio Tarver. Hopkins hasn’t fought since.

Wright, however, fought middleweight champion Jermain Taylor to a 12-round draw and won a 10-round decision against former welterweight champion Ike Quartey last year.

Johnson Stops Griffin , Earns #1 Spot

A pair of former light heavyweight champions fought one another recently. Glen Johnson (45-11-2, 30 KOs) stopped former WBC champion Montell Griffin (46-7, 30 KOs) in the 11th round of their IBF light heavyweight title eliminator on Wednesday, May 16 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, FL.

It’s amazing that Johnson, who after 11 career losses and an advanced age of 38 for a professional boxer, remains one of the top light heavyweights in the world.

Johnson, who has a knockout victory against Roy Jones, Jr. and decision win over Antonio Tarver, was dominant. Johnson was able to lead and counter effectively with left jabs and right crosses.

Griffin, who has fought with his left hand below his waist throughout his career, was tagged by many of Johnson’s left jabs and right-hand follows. Griffin, a counter puncher, kept getting hit.

The end came at 2:38 into the 11th round. Johnson landed a skillful barrage of punches that forced Griffin backwards. Griffin, unable to counter, couldn’t mount any offense and his corner stopped the fight.

Johnson-Woods IV

Johnson most likely will challenge the winner of the upcoming IBF light-heavyweight title rematch between Clinton Woods and Julio Gonzalez on June 23 in Las Vegas .

Johnson could easily be considered Woods’ arch-rival if they were to have fought a fourth time. After a 36 round trilogy, the score between Johnson and Woods is 1-1-1.

In November 2003, Johnson fought Woods to a 12-round draw for the then vacant IBF 175-pound title. One judge scored the bout in Johnson’s favor 8 rounds to 2 (116-112), but a second judge scored it 115-113 of Woods, and 114-114 even on the third card.

In the February 2004 rematch, Johnson lost a very close unanimous decision (115-113 twice and 116-112).

In their last encounter in September 2006, Johnson nearly stopped Woods in the ninth round of a very close fight. Woods finished the fight strong and walked away with a 12-round split decision (116-112, 115-113, and 112-114) and retained the IBF light heavyweight title.

Since Woods’ sixth round TKO loss to Roy Jones, Jr. in September 2002, Woods has fought all of his fights in his native England including the trilogy with Johnson.

Griffin Remembered

It’s pretty clear that Griffin’s boxing career is winding down. Griffin will be best remembered as the only fighter to hand Roy Jones, Jr. his first professional loss and to have defeated James Toney twice.

In March 1996, Jones was disqualified in the ninth round after hitting Griffin twice while he was down on one knee. Griffin won the WBC 175-pound title, but lost it on an emphatic first-round knockout in a rematch against Jones in August of that year.

After compiling an impressive amateur mark of 36-5, Griffin started his professional career in 1993 and has fought exclusively as a light heavyweight since. Griffin has fought all of the top light heavyweights in his time: Jones (twice), Toney (twice), Dariusz Michelczewski, Derrick Harmon, George Jones , Antonio Tarver, and Julio Gonzalez.