Kelly Pavlik's victory over Jermain Taylor on Saturday to win the WBC and WBO middleweight titles certainly energized the boxing fans.
My inbox was full of comments about the fight. Many saluted the new champion, but a surprising number were upset by the judges' scoring.
I'll tackle that as well as numerous other boxing and MMA topics in the latest edition of the mailbag.
My answers, as always, appear in italics below the question.
Is Taylor top 10?
Now that Jermain Taylor was beaten by Kelly Pavlik, will Taylor still be on the Yahoo! Sports Top 10? Will Pavlik make the list?
Bacolod City, Philippines
It's hard to say what impact the loss will have on Taylor in the poll, though I have to think he'll drop out. He was ranked seventh in the last poll, but when the new one comes out later this month, I would bet he's out. I didn't vote for him in the top 10 in either of our first two polls. I'll be interested to see how the voters react to Pavlik. He had very little support prior to his knockout of Taylor. I'm guessing – and it's simply a guess – that he'll squeeze into the bottom part of the top 10.
After Pavlik's knockout of Taylor, the HBO commentators revealed that all three judges had Taylor ahead. What fight were they watching? Even Harold Lederman had Pavlik ahead. His daughter, Julie, who was an official judge, had Taylor way up. What was your scorecard through six?
I scored the fight EXACTLY the same way as Julie Lederman. I certainly didn't think the fight was a blowout and those who were sitting around me who thought it was one-sided are way off base. But Taylor was winning the rounds by a small margin, but still enough to be leading.
More on scoring
We finally get a good fight and the judges ruin it. Taylor-Pavlik put on as good of a fight as we have seen in a while, but I don't believe the judges scores up were even close to being indicative of what was going on in the ring. Most of Taylor's punches were wasted, except in the second round, and Pavlik was by far the aggressor. Do I need glasses or do I have something here?
Josh, I'm not sure how the fight was ruined since it didn't go to a decision. But I think the small uproar the scores have created point out the problems in the 10-point must system. In that system, the judges must give the winner of a round 10 points and the loser nine or less. Judges are strongly encouraged not to score 10-10 rounds.
In this system, if Fighter A barely squeaks by and pulls out a round in which little happens, he wins it, 10-9. Let's say he wins seven rounds like that. Fighter B wins five rounds very clearly, battering his opponent and driving the crowd wild.
Most of the people would think B won, but they'd be wrong. It would be A. The rounds are scored as individual units and it doesn't matter who is a champion. There is no such criteria as, "You have to take it from a champion to win the title," a view that is commonly held by fans. The champion's advantage is that he retains the title on a draw. He neither gets nor deserves any other edge.
Bring on Matt
I actually thought you would point out how Taylor let the other guy win by mistakes and not give credit as Emanuel Steward and Taylor did to the guy who won.
So, boxing is dying? And the guys you support crawling around the fenced thing are actually making more money and taking over. You must be a Republican.
Anyway, if you need fights picked just e-mail me and I'll tell you who win. they might not get the nod from the judges, but at least you will know who will win.
By the way, I'd love to fight Matt Hughes, for real, I'd even put up the money just to show your sport how weak their stars are.
Sorry, Flatoria. Wrong on both counts. Lifelong Democrat, love Bill Clinton, supporting Hilary and Matt Hughes would wipe the floor with you.
Manny's the problem
I think Taylor's biggest mistake was hiring Emanuel Steward. Since defeating Bernard Hopkins, Taylor has had some hard fights against guys he should not have had a hard time with.
The question is, why try to fix it if it isn't broken? I think if Taylor goes back to his roots and works with the people who got him where he is, in my opinion, he would be better served.
You raise an interesting point. Emanuel Steward is one of the great trainers of all-time. However, I agree with you. Taylor has not gotten better with Steward. I haven't seen the progress that you normally see when Steward concentrates on a fighter. I think a change would be warranted.
"The truth is, Taylor isn't a particularly overwhelming puncher. Pavlik, on a punch-for-punch basis, has far more power." Your version of the truth is delusional. Pavlik has fought no one. He has KO'd no one who has any credibility. Had Pavlik's last five fights been the same opponents as Taylor's, he would have KO'd no one. He would have lost five fights in a row, at least three by knockout and the boxing commission would be debating on whether or not to allow him to continue his career.
See what happens when you're mean to the guy with the final say? I print the letters you wrote before the fight and show how silly you are. Everyone get that?
GET RID OF JUDGES
In MMA title fights, what is your opinion on letting the match go until there is a winner without a decision? I know there is a greater possibility of injuries, but I just hate it when a title match is decided by judges.
It doesn't work on many levels, Lance. The greater likelihood of injuries, as you cite, is the primary reason. But the television time is also a factor. And if the fighters know there is a defined time period, they can go all out and try to get a knockout and thus make a more exciting fight.
Peter the champ
What's up with the WBC magically giving Samuel Peter the heavyweight belt? This is the second time the WBC decided to give a heavyweight fighter a belt without a fight. I didn't think Oleg Maskaev was going to win, but let Sam earn it for Pete's sake. I know the boxing federation wants a black champion, but come on man.
No one I know of has been a harsher critic of the WBC than I have been, but in this case, the WBC got it right. When Oleg Maskaev pulled out of his Oct. 6 title defense with Peter, citing an injury, the WBC named Peter the interim champion
. Peter defeated James Toney in back-to-back title eliminators and has been waiting for his shot since.
There is no harm to Maskaev in letting Peter be interim champion, because when he returns, he'll be the regular champion and can still defend his belt.
Peter gets a shot at the belt, which he earned in the ring, and fans still get to see a title fight.
I hate seeing fighters get stripped unfairly, but what happened in this case is the rare one where the WBC got it exactly correct.
UFC lightweight challengers
If Sean Sherk get stripped of the UFC lightweight title, who do you think deserves the next title shot? Joe Stevenson or Kenny Florian? My personal opinion would be Joe Stevenson because KenFlo has already had his chance, but let me know what you think?
If Sherk loses his appeal of a steroid charge, the UFC will strip him of his title. B.J. Penn would then fight Joe Stevenson for the vacant belt on Nov. 17 in Newark, N.J. Stevenson is on a roll and definitely deserves the opportunity.
Don't forget the Russians
Some of the comments I keep hearing about the heavyweight division, both in your column (and readers' opinions) and on boxing shows such as Rich Marotta's radio show reveal more about the world view of the person making the comment than they do about the sport. For Americans, this is a bad time for heavyweights. This is not true if you are from Russia or Eastern Europe.
Sorry, Santac. My world view is fine. I also have a good view of the heavyweight boxers and they all stink. Yes, the Americans are terrible. So, too, are the rest of them, including the Eastern Europeans.
Wladimir Klitschko is the best of the lot now, but there's no way you could say a division dominated by fighters like Maskaev, Nikolai Valuev and Sultan Ibragimov is thriving. At its best, it's mediocre.
Would UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture even want to fight Fedor Emelianenko? I've seen Emelianenko fight, and he's and a cross between a bear and a tiger. He has incredible power and is very quick for his size, especially when fighting in close or on the ground. His ability to put all his weight behind those punches reminds me of Rocky Marciano. I don't think Randy could take the punishment Fedor would dish out. What do you think?
Joe, Emelianenko is the best fighter in the world and I'd favor him to beat Couture. But nothing about Couture surprises me. He knows the game so well and is in such phenomenal condition that he'd have a legitimate shot. It would be a great fight, but I'd guess Emelianenko would find a way to win. But Couture definitely wants the fight.
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