Jermain Taylor vs. Jeff Lacy
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15th
HBO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM
NEW YORK, Wednesday, October 8th -It will be a career-defining fight for the ages. Former champions Jermain Taylor and Jeff Lacy will meet on November, 15th in Nashville, Tennessee on the campus of Vanderbilt University, in what is sure to be an explosive affair, considering what is at stake. For the winner — a chance to fight for another world championship and regain his status as an elite fighter. For the loser — a struggle to regain respectability in a sport he once ruled.
So for Taylor and Lacy, this fight is “All Or Nothing.”
“This fight could not be more important for these two fighters,” said Lou DiBella, president of DiBella Entertainment. “One of these guys is probably going to get knocked out, and the one who gets knocked out is probably going to have a really difficult time coming back to do anything significant in this sport. This fight really is all or nothing.”
DiBella Entertainment is presenting the 12-round super middleweight title eliminator in association with Golden Boy Promotions and Prize Fight Promotions. HBO World Championship Boxing will televise the bout from Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee (10:15pm ET / 9:15pm CT / 7:15pm PT). Tickets will go on sale next Wednesday, October 15th, are priced at $275, $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, and available through all Ticketmaster locations at 615.255.9600 or www.ticketmaster.com .
Excitement is already stirring in Nashville.
“It’s on Vanderbilt’s campus, in their great basketball arena, and I can tell already the campus is juiced up for it,” DiBella said. “I think you’re going to see a lot of young people, particularly in the upper deck, and that’s always good for the energy. And this is the biggest fight to hit Nashville in years and years and years. It’s going to be a big event.”
The fight has been certified a WBC Super Middleweight eliminator fight, which means the winner will be guaranteed a title shot against the winner of the Carl Froch-Jean Pascal bout for the WBC belt.
A title shot will be sweet redemption for either fighter, who have both been kings of their division.
Taylor (27-2-1, 17 KOs), the favorite son of Arkansas, became the undisputed and undefeated middleweight champion of the world on July 16, 2005 when he beat the legendary
Bernard Hopkins at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Taylor defended his championship four times, including a Hopkins rematch, and was undefeated in his first 27 professional fights before back-to-back losses to current middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.
Lacy (24-1, 17 KOs), a St. Petersburg, Florida native, won his first 21 fights, picking up the super middleweight championship along the way. Lacy suffered his first loss to current undefeated world light heavyweight champion Joe Calzaghe on March 4, 2006. Since then, Lacy has reeled off three straight victories, including his most recent unanimous decision over Epifanio Mendoza on July 23rd.
Taylor and Lacy grew up in the amateurs together and are good friends, but they both know how important this fight is to their career, which means all friendship stops inside the ring.
“I’ve known him since amateur days, but we both know this is a business,” Lacy said. “Any fight where we’re going into the ring with all this on the line is one of the most important fights of my career. I know I’m up for the fight, and I know Jermain will be up for the fight.”
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Jeff, I think he’s a great guy,” Taylor said. “But I also know what I need to do in the ring on Nov. 15th. It’s going to be a great fight.”
The fight will also settle a long-running feud.
They were Olympic teammates in 2000, and regular sparring partners, which has become a point of contention. In June, 2006, when Lacy came to Memphis to support his friend Winky Wright in a fight against Taylor, Lacy was asked who got the better of whom in Olympic training sessions. Lacy said naturally he did.
“What? I whipped his butt,” was Taylor’s reply.
Lacy now insists the talk stop until it can be answered in the ring.
“I’m not a trash-talker,” Lacy said. “I’m all about doing my thing in the ring. Look, [on Nov. 15] we have to duke it out for 12 rounds and the best man may win. Then we’ll know.”
The Nov. 15th fight will be Taylor’s first in the super middleweight (168 pounds) division. Taylor hasn’t been in the ring since Feb. 16, when he lost his rematch with Kelly Pavlik, in what has been the longest layoff of his professional career.
“It took me a while to get back into it, but everything is all right now,” Taylor said. “I’ve been shadow boxing, sparring, it’s just like riding a bike. I’ve been doing this so long, no chance I was going to forget.”
“I do think he’s hungry again,” DiBella said. “He wants this fight. This is a big fight for him. No matter what we call it, it’s really is all or nothing. It gives a great opportunity for the person that steps up and wins the fight. This is a fight that could re-establish Jermain right at the top, and could get him a major matchup. This is a must-win fight.”
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