Posted Sept. 28, 2007 - In the main event from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Saturday, undefeated world middleweight boxing champion Jermain Taylor (27-0-1, 17 KOs) will take on Kelly Pavlik of Youngstown, Ohio in a scheduled 12-round slugfest.
"Kelly Pavlik is a fighter, just like me. He comes to fight, no running and no holding. This is my kind of fight. It’s about time.” Taylor said.
Pavlik who was in a brutal slugfest with Edison Miranda on May 19th in Memphis, has earned his shot at Jermain’s title. It’s the type of fight Taylor hopes he’ll get when the two face-off on Saturday.
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“I hope he chooses to fight me that way, but whatever he does, I know I’m going to win. Slug, box … It doesn’t make a difference. The outcome will be the same.”
I caught up with Jermain Taylor during his training at the Pocono Mountain resort, where we talked about cars, money and of course boxing.
When was the last time you’ve been to Little Rock?
It’s been a while, but that’s home. I live there, so I always go back. I love the people. It’s real country and that’s the way I like it. I’m a country boy to the heart.
Besides your heavy accent, what makes you so country?
I drive a big truck; a Ford Dually. I love and ride horses. I fish all the time. I go hunting out of my back yard for squirrels and rabbits. I own? a lot of guns. I go dove hunting. What else? I’m a big watermelon eater. I love some cornbread and chicken and a little bit of sweet potatoes. I’m starving for some fish and grits right now!
What other cars do you have?
I have a Lamborghini Geraldo, 650 BMW, ‘96 Impala sitting on dem thangs, and a ‘74 Pontiac convertible with a hell of a motor.
What does the Misses drive?
My wife drives the Cadillac Escalade.
I checked out your Myspace page and your song is Kanye’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” I guess you bought Kanye’s CD and not 50’s?
I bought both of ‘em. I don’t want to see one of them and have them ask me the same question. (Laughs) Matter of fact, I’m going to buy all my friends copies too.
Do you have your money right?
I got my money right. It’s nothing close to their level though. If I could rap, I wouldn’t be boxing. I’ll leave the rapping to the rappers. I’m gonna make as much money as I can and get out. I make smart investments. When I’m done, I’m done.
How much money do you make on a fight?
I will only take a fight if it’s over 6 million.
Woah. Boxers make a lot of money too.
If you’re on my level you do. If you’re on HBO, nine times out of 10, they’re paying you good. If not, it’s hard. You have to win a lot and keep winning and don’t lose to make big money.
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Well, you’re undefeated, so you must feel really good.
I still get scarred. That’s why I train so hard. I’m training my butt off. I want to go out there and look good. I’m going to win. Everything goes good as long as you don’t lose. I got to keep that zero right there. It’s work to stay on top.
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Does it really matter? Do you think your fans would turn on you if you lost?
To tell you the truth, half of my fans already turned on me because I haven’t been knocking my opponents out. If the knock out comes, I will take it, but I’m not going to make something happen if I don’t see it. Every fan wants a knock out. A fan is a fan. I know I gotta win, so I can’t be mad at a fan.
Are you upset you have a draw on your record?
I hate that I have a draw on my record. If Winky Wright was man enough and really thought he won the fight, he’d fight me again. It matters. It means that me and him tied. I’m from the street and if this was a street fight, there ain’t never be a tie. Either you won or I won. I offered him a fight, he didn’t take it. He fought Hopkins and lost.
Who are you a fan of?
I’m a fan of Mayweather, Oscar … That’s pretty much it. I respect how they respect the game of boxing.
Are you a fan of Kelly Pavlik?
He’s a good fighter, but he’s going to get beat up. I’m a better fighter. I’ve been in the ring with all types of components, the best, and I don’t lose. I go in there and I fight to the finish.
Pavlik is an aggressive fighter, so he will come to fight. He throws a lot of weird punches, but he gets hit a lot though. He’s just a basic fighter. He doesn’t do anything extra flashy.
If you could change anything physical about you, what would it be?
I’d probably be taller. I’m 6’ft. I want to be like 6’8 6’9 - something big like that. I want to look diesel, so when I walk in a room people are like, Dang!
How do people react now?
It’s cool because I’m a celebrity, but imagine if I wasn’t. I’d hear, Who’s that? It’s time for him to go. If I wasn’t famous for boxing, I’d probably up under somebody’s car trying to fix it.
What can we expect to see on Saturday?
Expect me to go in and do my thing. Expect me to look good against this opponent. Expect me to go in there and win. I’m going to do a lot of jabs. I love every punch I got – from the jab to the straight right hand, and I can knock you out on either one of them.