ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Kelly Pavlik knocked out Jermain Taylor in the seventh round Saturday night to win the world middleweight title.
Far behind on points after absorbing a brutal beating in the second round, the Youngstown native cornered Taylor and stunned him with a hard right to the jaw, then sent him down with a flurry of lefts and rights.
Pavlik (32-0, 29 KOs) remained undefeated, while Taylor (27-1-1) suffered his first loss.
Undefeated Andre Berto stopped David Estrada in the 11th round to win the NABF welterweight title on the undercard.Middleweight Ronald Hearns also remained undefeated by stopping Robert Kamya in the first round. Taylor entered the fight looking to buff up his image after what some perceived as a lackluster decision over Cory Spinks in May. He did that almost immediately, pounding Pavlik in the second round with a flurry that sent Pavlik to all fours.
“I was hurt and shook real bad, but I told myself I can’t quit, I’ve got to stay out there,” Pavlik said.Pavlik survived the round and regained momentum in the third, backing Taylor into a corner and landing several lefts and rights to the head. But Taylor counterpunched effectively, leaving Pavlik bleeding from the nose and mouth by the end of the fifth round.
Taylor repeatedly worked out of the corners, often throwing some of his best combinations while working out of jams. But he used that tactic once too often, and in the seventh round it worked against him.
With the largely pro-Pavlik crowd chanting “Kelly! Kelly! Kelly!” Pavlik slowly gained momentum, though he was still taking most of the punishment right up until the knockout.He landed a straight right and left uppercut that put Taylor back against the ropes, then finished the job.
Taylor was winning on all three judges’ scorecards, with none of the three putting Pavlik ahead in more than two rounds.
“I thought I had him in the second round,” Taylor said. “I threw too many punches. He fought a great fight. In the middle rounds I thought I was losing and I wasted too much energy.”