Up close and personal with Pat Burns

By Brad Cooney


Up close and personal with Pat Burns

Taylor trainer speaks out!

Jermain Taylor's chief trainer Pat Burns speaks very candidly about Jermain's championship fight against Bernard Hopkins. In this very in depth conversation, Burns fires back at some of the Lou Dibella haters out there, and gives a detailed report on Jermain's performance in the ring. Burns also talks in detail about the severe cut that Jermain sustained during the fight, and how the cut impacted his performance against Hopkins. You do
NOT want to miss what Burns has to say.

BT - Pat, thanks for talking to Boxingtalk I really appreciate it.

PB - Brad, no problem.

BT - Pat let's get right into this, talk about Jermain's performance in the ring, and what is your response to Bernard Hopkins claims that he won this fight?

PB - Well in terms of Jermain's performance it was really remarkable, he was going along fairly well and we knew Bernard was going to make some adjustments. The cut that Jermain sustained was a very severe slash resulting from a head clash. The ringside doctor and the emergency room doctor, including Ray Rogers ( cut man ) all thought he lost around a liter of blood, and that is very significant. If any one of us were to bang our head on a cabinet door, or a kitchen sink, we all know what that feels like. It really rings your bell, and can throw your balance off. The cut was extremely deep, and it actually penetrated the cranium, and went right to the skull. The cut also did some tissue damage, the skin on the top of the head is 15 to 20 times thicker than that on the face. We have all banged our head, and we know what the pain is like, and  we usually don't come out of it with a cut, at worst usually a bruise, well now then you realize just how much the cut on Jermain's head impacted him. When you consider losing a liter of blood, and then mix in the anxiety of fighting for a world championship, if front of millions of people? Jermain kept on fighting though, he's a tough kid. The cut didn't effect him immediately, other than the fact that it was stinging him real bad. There was a continuous flow of blood, BUT I looked at the film, and it's hard to see it from the video due to Ray Rogers remarkable job in stopping the bleeding. Ray had to use 4 or 5 gauzes together, when you saw the bucket of blood you thought you were in the hospital or something. So for Jermain to overcome the cut and continue on, and win a few more rounds after the cut was remarkable. The kid continued to fight, and found out a way to win.

BT - Pat with a rematch clause in the contract, talk about what Jermain should do differently when he steps back in there to defend his title.

PB -  (laughing) Not to get a head butt!  Seriously, I think we will see a different Jermain because he's been there now. Jermain knows all of the things that he did well, and he knows all of the things that he did wrong. Jermain is a very intelligent person, he has a great ability to adapt for such a young fighter. Jermain is his own worst critic, he knows what he will need to do. We will see a much different Jermain Taylor next time. Jermain has cruised
through 23 fights and fought brilliantly, he had to really fight with this last one. This last fight has had a dominating effect on Jermain Taylor, he will be ready for the rematch.

BT - Pat the first 5 or 6 rounds were dominant for Jermain, do you think Bernard was a little surprised by how aggressive Jermain came out?

PB - No,  and we were not surprised by what Bernard was doing either. We knew Bernard would make some changes, and come on strong late. We would love to see Bernard come out early next time we fight, but that's not his style. Bernard is a very smart fighter, a seasoned fighter and he has to do what he does best, that's the way he has to fight.

BT -  I think Bernard may want to change up his philosophy a little bit, I thought he lost too many rounds early, and he got caught up in a " I have to knock him out" mode, and that's easier said than done against Jermain Taylor.

PB - Yes, that is easier said than done, and we would welcome him to come in and try to take out Jermain early. Bernard has always found a way to win so I expect Bernard to make some adjustments, but we are not going to sit and dwell on this too much even though Jermain won. Jermain would love to be as great a champion as Bernard Hopkins was, and that's a challenge to hold, and defend the title 20 plus times. Jermain likes being here and Bernard will have to bring out the dogs to take it back.

BT - Pat, was Jermain hurt at all in this fight?

PB -  Not at all, it was the severe cut that hurt Jermain the most.  I can tell you this, Bernard hit Jermain with 4 or 5 clean hard shots. If Jermain would have hit Bernard with one of those kind of shots, he would have knocked him out. In the 2nd round, I thought there should have been an 8 count when Jermain knocked Bernard into the ropes, and the ropes held Bernard up, that could have been a 2 point round. Bernard is really smart, and very hard to get clean shots on him. But no, as far as Jermain being hurt from punches, he was not, it was the loss of blood that had the effect on Jermain.

BT - Pat was the head butt the reason Jermain got away from his game-plan late? I remember you pleading with him to go to the body more. Or, was Jermain just fighting smart and staying away from Bernard's body due to Bernards counter punching ability?

PB - Jermain wasn't giving any respect to Bernards power, especially when he got in close, and the punches were shorter. But those are the things that Jermain will look at. Bernard is very cagey, very hard to hit solid, he gets down low. He does give you alot of opportunities to go to his body and part of going to body is getting counter-punched, and if you go to Jermain's body you are going to get rocked. You saw that when Bernard went to Jermain's body, Jermain ripped hard shots to Bernard's head. When it's all said and done Jermain will win that exchange.

BT - When do you see a rematch date set for this fight?

PB - As of right now Jermain is on a 45 day suspension due to the cut on his head. I think around December, or early next year but I still have to talk to Lou Dibella about it. Jermain wants to fight Bernard again, it was a close fight.

BT - Pat, paint a picture for the fans out there what the scene was like for Jermain, and the Taylor camp when you won the Championship.

PB - Jermain was extremely happy in the locker room, he was happy for his family, my family, and for the fans of Arkansas. We did a short interview with the media because Jermain has always been very gracious to the media. We left the interview and went directly to the emergency room, and we were there until 2 AM in the morning, the cut required over a dozen stitches. The first few days after the fight Jermain went over the fight in his head, and talked about the things he did right, and wrong. Then Jermain listened to Bernard talking about how much he won the fight, so Jermain sat back and let Bernard say what he thought he needed to say. Jermain finally fired back and said that the judges gave him the fight, he is the world champion and for Bernard to quit crying. Bernard will have his opportunity to come in and knock Jermain Taylor out in less than 5 rounds like he was telling everyone he would do the first time. Then I went out to Little Rock on Thursday evening, Friday we had a huge parade in Little Rock about 10,000 people showed up, it was awsome.  The streets were just lined up with thousands of people, and I think it was at that point when it all hit Jermain, that he was World Champion. Bernard stepped up to the podium at the parade, and told the crowd the he heard the chants, JT JT JT JT and that he remembered me telling him that he needed the 12th round. Jermain said the crowd gave him the juice that he needed to finish strong.Jermain is now on a cruise enjoying the moment.

BT - Pat, I thought the fight was close and that Jermain Squeaked out the win.

PB - Brad, I would like to make a few comments for the record. It has been overwhelming for me since winning this thing. My personal friends, people at church, etc.. I had over 100 messages on my cell phone saying it was a close fight, but Jermain won the fight. The few writers that I actually read and listen to gave the fight to Jermain. Tom Houser had the fight even, the majority had Jermain winning the fight. I do understand there are some writers taking shots at Lou Dibella and trying to use Jermain to get at Lou, and I think it is very immature and irresponsible journalism. If you want to get at Lou, don't use Jermain, and if you want to get at Jermain, don't use Lou. Another comment I want to make... I give very few interviews and what happens is, some of these writers will read your article or another article that I have given my time to, and they read that article and simply plagerize it, and speak as if "they" interviewed me, and they simply have not done it. Certain writers do it all of the time, and it's a shame that certain writers have to do that because credibility is everything. You don't have to agree with me, you don't have to tell me that Jermain won. If you think Jermain won, fine, if you think Jermain lost, fine that's your opinion. I thought the University of Miami did not interfere with the receiver in the Championship game against Ohio State, that's my opinion, but the ref said the Ohio State receiver caught the ball, and Ohio State are the champs.So these guys making these vicious attacks, and what they do is very immature journalism, it's guys trying to make a name for themselves, but in the long run it won't work.  a lot of these guys are good writers, but instead of being patient and building there reps on merit and facts they are going on the attack, and basically what happens is people will just shut down, and not give these guys interviews anymore.

BT - Pat, I am going to put all of this in this interview because you seem pretty passionate about this.

PB - Brad, please do, put it all in there, keep all of this on the record just as you are saying you will do. For some of these guys that are being so vicious it's not too late, if you don't like someone rethink what you are doing to the sport that you supposedly love. These guys need to think what they are doing when they are beating up someone in this sport. They are hurting themselves in the long run, a kid like Jermain.... We had... HBO reported over 350, 000 Pay Per Viewers. Jermain was a relatively unknown name outside of the boxing world. HBO brought in 17.5 Million dollars, that's an awful a lot of money. The ability to cross over to different markets is imperative to this sport, there are a lot of people taking shots at the sport, and Jermain Taylor is a kid that can cross the sport over. When these writers go on the attack, they need to think about not only what they are doing to
the fighter, but also what they are doing to the sport of boxing. Think about what you are doing to the future of the sport. When they do interviews just be objective, you don't have to agree or disagree, just be fair.


"There isn't a boxing fan out there that shouldn't have this book"
HBO's Harold Lederman

"I enjoyed this book, especially about the author's experiences, I enjoyed the interviews as well" ACTOR GENE BORKMAN  "RAGING BULL"


Send questions and comments to: bradcooney1@bellsouth.net