By: William Holmes
Going into tonight, there were two questions that this writer had about this card. Will we see the Jermain Taylor of old? Is Erislandy Lara the real deal? Both of those questions were answered tonight.
The former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor took on the undefeated Caleb Truax tonight on Showtime from Biloxi, Mississippi as the main event of the night, while Erislandy Lara took on Ronald Hearns in the junior middleweight division.
The first bout on the night was between Ronald Hearns (26-2) and Erislandy Lara (15-1-1). Hearns last fought Felix Sturm and lost by a 7th round TKO for a middleweight title and Lara was last seen losing a highly disputed decision to Paul Williams.
Erislandy Lara, the three time Cuban national amateur champion, blasted Ronald Hearns early in the first round with a straight left hand that knocked Ronald Hearns down. Hearns got back to his feet but still looked wobbly, and Lara aggressively attacked him. Hearns fell into the ropes and got a standing eight count from the referee. The referee could have stopped it at that point, but allowed Hearns to continue fighting . Lara wasted little time in blasting him again, and the fight was waved off.
Erislandy Lara improved his record to 16-1-1 with a first round TKO at 1:34.
Quite simply, Erislandy Lara is the real deal and a serious threat in the junior middleweight division.
The main event of the night was between Jermain Taylor (29-4-1) and the undefeated Caleb Truax (18-0-1) in the middleweight division. Truax had an impressive record, but let’s be honest, he’s a club fighter who has spent most of his career fighting in Minnesota and had not fought in nearly 11 months. Jermain Taylor was a gigantic step up in competition for him.
The fight started off slowly, as Taylor stayed behind his jab and kept Truax at Bay. Truax had his moments with his straight right hand, but for the most part was outworked and outpunched by Taylor. Taylor was comfortably winning nearly every round and the corner of Truax was begging him to be more active. Truax finally listened in between the 8th and 9th rounds.
Jermain Taylor threw a lazy jab in the 9th round and failed to bring it back high, and Truax took advantage of that mistake and landed a hard right cross that dropped Taylor to the ground. It was a clean knockdown, and Taylor looked wobbly and dazed when he got back to his feet. The referee gave him a standing eight count, and Taylor hung on for dear life the rest of the round.
Taylor surprisingly came out strong in the 10th round, and landed several combinations to win the round, but the way he got knocked down in the previous round stole some luster from his victory.
The official scores were 98-91, 97-92, and 97-94 for Jermain Taylor. In the post-fight interview, Taylor seemed exuberant that he was able to get back up from a knockdown. This writer is concerned about his health if he steps into the ring with a fighter who’s a step above a good club fighter.
Yes, we did see the Jermain Taylor of old.
We didn’t see the Jermain Taylor of 2005, the last man to be the undisputed middleweight champion of the world.
We saw the Jermain Taylor of 2009, the man who got knocked out in the last round two fights in a row.