Taylor-Lacy fight really will be "All or Nothing"

By Ryan Burton

13/11/2008

Taylor-Lacy fight really will be "All or Nothing"

The promotion has been dubbed "All or Nothing" for this weekend's bout between formeer world middleweight champion Jermain Taylor and ex-IBF super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy. The name of the fight truly tells the story.  The loser of this fight will face a long road back to respectability and meaningful fights.  For the man who wins this WBC super middleweight eliminator, many more big fights could be on the horizon. Joe Calzaghe,  Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, and Felix Sturm, are all possibilities for the winner on Saturday.  If Lacy pulls off the upset, a match with Kelly Pavlik is also a possibility.

The loser of this fight basically becomes a stepping stone for the up and comers in the division.  He will become undercard material, with likely fights serving as the "opponent" for rising stars like Lucian Bute, Allan Green or Andre Ward, guys looking to make a name for themselves.  Or worse, end up against guys who are well known but have never been true top contenders, guys like Peter Manfredo, Jr. or Sam Soliman.

In the betting world, Taylor is a 6.5-1 favorite currently.  The take back on Lacy is almost 5-1. That shows the respect the oddsmakers have for Taylor, even though he is coming off back-to-back losses to Pavlik.

All the talk from Taylor's camp is that he has a focus he hasn't had in years.  His trainer Ozell Nelson was quoted on jermaintaylor.com saying, "Jermain has been sharp and focused since the beginning of camp, and I can really tell he is as determined as he ever has been. I couldn't have asked for a better effort from Jermain at this training camp."

We heard this same story before the second Pavlik fight.  Taylor dumped  Emmanuel Steward and went back to his original trainer, Nelson.  Maybe Pavlik just had Taylor's number.  If Taylor had finished the job when he knocked down Pavlik in their first fight, just think where his career would be now, or for that matter where would Pavlik's career be?  The losses to Pavlik shouldn't take too much away from Taylor's resume.  In a little over the last three years, he still has two wins over Bernard Hopkins, and victories over Corey Spinks and Kassim Ouma.  Those are wins that any fighter would be proud of. There was also a draw with Winky Wright when Wright was near the top of most pound-for-pound lists.

Lacy on the other hand was a rising star, who had four defenses of his IBF title before running into Joe Calzaghe.  Lacy went to hostile territory in Manchester, England and was overwhelmed by Calzaghe. Since then, Lacy hasn't looked like the fighter he was before Calzaghe.  He has eked out close decision wins over Epifanio Mendoza, Peter Manfredo. Jr, and in a rematch with Vitali Tsypko (the first fight was a no contest due to a cut on Tsypko caused by a headbutt).

A career will be reborn.  Whose career shall it be?

All or Nothing is this Saturday live on HBO from Vanderbilt Universtiy Memorial Stadium in Nashville, Tennesee at 10:15 Eastern.