Q&A: Jermain Taylor

Originally Published: September 8, 2004
SportsNation

On Saturday night (9:30 p.m. ET, HBO), Jermain Taylor will take to the ring to defend his middleweight title against Winky Wright. Hyped as one of the biggest fights of the year, the bout gives Taylor another opportunity to show that he may indeed be the face of the future of boxing.

Undefeated as a professional (25-0, 17 KO), Taylor was last seen scoring a pair of wins against Bernard Hopkins, including a unanimous decision in December. While it's unusual for a fighter to take on three such tough fights in succession, Taylor has an opportunity to make a giant statement against Wright.

While Taylor was preparing for the fight, he sat down to answer some of your questions.

The man nicknamed "Bad Intentions" addressed his past fights with Bernard Hopkins, future bouts and the ''thug'' image associated with the sport.

Are you really satisfied with the Hopkins victories? I wouldn't be!! I watch them time after time and see no clear victor.
Chris (Pittsburgh)

Jermain Taylor: I'm very satisfied with the judges' decisions.

Do you think you will be able to break through Winky's defensive guard throughout the fight?
Manny (New York)

Taylor: I feel I have probably the best jab in boxing and it will be very effective against Winky.

What do you think of stepping up to supermiddleweight and taking on Joe Calzaghe after you have taken care of Winky? Personally I think Calzaghe has been overhyped following his victory over Lacy and I think you are the man to do the job on Joe.
Mark (London, England)

Taylor: That would be a very interesting fight against Joe Calzaghe and moving up in weight is something that will happen. I can't stay at 160 forever, and I have the body frame to carry 168 pounds.

What are you going to do differently to get over your one achilles heel: late round fatigue?
Robert (Anaheim, CA)

Taylor: Only in the first Hopkins fight did I ever get tired in the late rounds; in the second fight with Hopkins, my conditioning was very good. I have never really had a problem with fatigue as a professional.

Do you feel your jab is as good as his?
Fresno, CA

Taylor: Yes, I feel I have if not one of the best jabs in boxing. Everything I do comes off the jab and I will put my jab up against anyone.

Do you feel like you can change the trash talking, "thug" image of boxing with your honest, down to earth approach and become a role model for today's youth?
David (Bryant, AK)

Taylor: I can't speak for everyone; I have to be who I am. I'm not out to try and change the thug image, but sometimes when trash is being thrown at you, you have to throw it back, but it can be done in a way that it's not disrespectful.

What is the biggest thrill of your boxing career?
Matthew (Federal Way, WA)

Taylor: Being in the 2000 Olympics and winning the middleweight championship.

I noticed that whenever Felix Trinidad boxed Winky Wright, he made the mistake of wanting to connect his left hook to Wright's face all the time. Instead of his corner trying to guide him to do something else. He kept doing the same thing. What do you intend to do and if your plan does not work do you have an alternate plan in mind?
Dumas, TX

Taylor: I'm not going to give away and secrets, but working with Emanuel Stewart he has a plan B, C and D if necessary.

Congratulations on getting to where you are. Do you think that training with E. Steward will make the difference in whipping Winky?
Lu Jack, N.Y. N.Y.

Taylor: I really do. Emanuel teaches you to use all the skills you have. Before, I was doing a lot on pure strength and that's not always the way to fight, especially against someone like Winky.

What are you thinking before you enter the ring? Are you nervous or are you always confident?
J (Russellville, AR)

Taylor: I try to stay focused on the job that I have to do. Of course, there is a little nervousness with anyone before they get ready to compete. I think that is expected, but if you are well prepared and have done all your homework, being nervous will go away very fast.

Has this been your best training camp ever? And are you going to go back to your long time trainer after this fight?
Robbie (Denton, TX)

Taylor: This has truly been one of my best training camps. Everyone at Kronk is a champion. I don't want to talk about what I'm going to do on my next fight regarding Pat Burns.

Being a die hard Razorback fan myself, what advantages do you think you've garnered from being from a small state where the Razorbacks are the only thing going? Has it helped you to get more attention than say in a bigger market, or has it hurt you?
Dustin Dixon

Taylor: I think it has help me, because being from a small state like Arkansas, where boxing is not the major sport, it brings a lot of attention to yourself. In a way, I'm Arkansas' national sports team.

Will you knock him out?
Norfolk, VA

Taylor: I'm going to win the fight and it won't be any question who won the fight.