Jermain Taylor: “I am confident I can put it all together”
INTERVIEW By Gabriel Montoya (Sept 15, 2007) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Everlast)
Earlier this week, Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor took time out of his very busy schedule to answer more than a few of my questions. He was candid, confident and guarded regarding his upcoming fight with Kelly Pavlik September 29th in Atlantic City.

Gabriel Montoya: With criticism mounting in the boxing media and without a knockout win since you stopped Daniel Eduoard, can you talk a little bit about how this camp differs from past camps? Do those things factor into your preparation?

Jermain Taylor: Criticism comes with the territory. I could have knockout my last five opponents and still had criticism. All I can do is prepare myself the best I can and perform. A big difference with this camp is I'm in Poconos mountains and it has allowed be to focus more and I'm preparing for a right hand fighter, my last 3 fights have been against southpaws. Southpaws are very difficult to fight. I can't remember of any fighter fighting three southpaws back-to-back-to-back. Name one?
GM:  After your last fight, you spoke in a matter that seemed out of character when you proclaimed that whoever brought the most money that was whom you would fight next. Where did that come from? Was it simply a heat of the moment reaction?

 I think it was not so much what I said, but how I said it, in the heat of the moment. This is a business and boxing is not a very long profession. You have to make what you can while you are in this business and think about your family also. I'm no different than any other fighter; I want to make the most I can out of this profession while I can.
GM: Kelly Pavlik appears to be in line with the type of tough tests that you faced in Winky and Bernard with one exception: his tremendous punching power. Do you agree that he is up there with your toughest opponents?

On paper it looks that way, but I really can't answer that now. Ask me that question after the fight and I can give you a better answer. Styles make fights and his style is the kind I like to fight. Also, we did face each other in the amateurs.
GM: This is your fourth fight with Manny Steward and your first with him against a right-handed fighter. Do you feel that this is the fight that all your experience, talent combined with his lessons will come together?

Yes, as I mention before, styles makes fights. Kelly has the kind of style that I like to fight. He's comes to fight. This is the kind of fight I want to be in and it's the kind of fight Emanuel has wanted to prepare me for also.
GM: Did you feel it impossible for those things to come together given the difficult styles you’ve faced in the past with Steward?

No, it's not impossible, that's what we work and train on as professional fighters... All great fighters have to be able to make adjustments. Remember, I faced a lot of different styles when I was an amateur and since I turned professional. Fighting different styles comes with the territory. I'm very confident I can put it all together against Kelly.
GM:  Who have been your chief sparring partners?

  No comment
GM:  What does each of them bring to the table to prepare you for Pavlik?

  I will say that I'm very pleased with my sparring partners and I will be well prepared for Kelly Pavlik on September 29th.
GM:  What weaknesses do you see in Pavlik?

Kelly has some weaknesses, but I will not comment on his weaknesses because then I would be giving away some of my game plan for the fight.
GM: What strengths?

I will refer to my previous answer.

GM: How do you prepare for him? Do you watch film or will you simply feel him out when you get in the ring?

I have somewhat of a feel for Kelly because we fought each other as amateurs, but I have been watching films of his more recent fights. 
GM:  Do you feel a decisive knockout victory will bring you the praise you deserve?

Maybe, but I'm not so concerned about that, because there is always going to people who will see things different no matter how well I do in the fight. What's important is that I can get the victory and perform well in the victory without any physical harm to myself. This is a very dangerous profession.
GM: Why do you feel you’ve been criticized for going the distance with two men who, 1) are hard to look against; and, 2) are even harder to stop?

People like to see knockouts, that's what they want and I have not delivered any knockouts lately. I'm not saying I'm going to approach this fight trying to get a knockout, but if it presents itself I will go for it, which is what I'm suppose to do as a professional.
GM: If you could change one thing about the sport/business of boxing, what would it be?

No comment.

GM: What title is more important to you; pound for pound or the one you currently hold?

I don't get hung up on the pound for pound title. I'm the Middleweight Champion and I'm quite happy with that title.
GM: Is this your last fight at 160 lbs?

Yes this is my last fight at 160 lbs, I will be moving up to 168 pounds for my next fight.
GM: If so, would you consider a move to light heavy for a rubber match with Hop for the light heavyweight title?

I'm not thinking about light heavyweight or fighting Bernard for a rubber match at this point in my career. Right now my focus is on September 29 fighting Kelly Pavlik.
GM: Or a fight with the winner of Calzaghe/Kessler at 168?

A fight with either one of them would be good for me and good for boxing. They are both very good fighters.
GM: What fighters do you consider influences?

I did not watch a lot of boxing on TV growing up and boxing was not a big sport in Arkansas. I really can't say any one fighter had any influences on me.
GM: If you could fight one fighter in history, regardless of weight class, who would it be?

I have to think about that a little more.

l would like to thank Jermain Taylor for taking out the time from a very intense training camp to answer my questions. I would also like to thank Norman D. Horton and DiBella Entertainment for putting us in touch with Mr. Taylor.

Gabriel at:
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