Old master Bernard Hopkins' second try to defeat young gun and now middleweight kingpin Jermain Taylor ended much the same as the first, a close decision loss for "The Executioner". While the jury is still out on whether or not Hopkins will retire or keep trying to win his former belts back but Taylor should at this point be able to move on and face the winner of next weekend's Winky Wright - Sam Soliman IBF title fight
Round One: The highly anticipated rematch of the top two middleweights in the world begins with both fighters meeting in the center of the ring with Hopkins charging in early and Taylor pummeling Hopkins on th back of the head with his right hand, an intense start to a high drama rematch. Jay Nady warns Taylor about punching in the back of the head and the fight's order is restored. Hopkins, after the initial charge ahead, starts fighting like the Bernard Hopkins boxing fans are used to seeing, staying on the outside and looking for openings without throwing anything. Taylor isn't to active either, only throwing a left hook that went over Hopkins' head with about 10 seconds left. Both were inactive that round.
Round Two: After a very slow start, Hopkins once again looks to be pacing himself for the first 10 or so seconds before charging ahead and enduring an onslaught of Taylor hooks, none of them landing flush. Hopkins steps back and once again fights at his pace. Hopkins lunges in once again with about a half a minute left in the round and is sent stumbling by a Taylor left hook. Taylor charges Hopkins on the ropes but fails to land anything. The fight is rather slow for the last half of the round until both land left hooks in the closing seconds of the round.
Round Three: After seemingly losing the last round, Hopkins comes out of his corner searching more, with dropping his left hand a little bit which typically means, for Hopkins at least, that he is ready to start trading, but through the first minute, that doesn't seem to be the case. Hopkins is still feeling Taylor out, and Taylor is employing his jab, and is throwing it much more then he did in the first fight. Hopkins bull rushes Taylor with only seconds left and Taylor nails Hopkins in the ear with a left hook. Taylor's round.
Round Four: After a tense first 3 rounds, Hopkins is stepping in a little bit more, and fighting at a closer distance and he seems to be more settles in. Taylor has fully incorporated his jab at this point, and he is putting his hands in Hopkins' face every time Hopkins steps in, disallowing Hopkins any chance to hit Taylor flush. Hopkins is pressing the fight to the inside a bit more, but hasn't been able to land anything, instead choosing to tie up Taylor's arms while Taylor tries to land a left hook. The round ends with Taylor jabbing from a short distance from Hopkins.
Round Five: The round starts with Hopkins eating a Taylor jab after trying to lunge in on Taylor. Hopkins has been denied any opportunity on the inside thus far, and Taylor I still working the jab. Taylor looks settles in at this point, and with a minute left Taylor throws the lead left uppercut and follows up with a series of hooks. Taylor then steps back and finishes the round, much like th elast, jabbing from a close distance. Taylor's round.
Round Six: Hopkins lands his first big punch of the fight about 30 seconds into the round, a straight right hand that catches Taylor on the nose. Taylor recovers though and charges Hopkins with a jab. Hopkins ducks it and lands a left hook to Taylor's head. Hopkins charges in with about a minute left and is met by a very stiff jab that echoes throughout the building. Taylor gets back to habbing and the two close the round trading hooks until the bell, with Taylor getting the better of the exchanges.
Round Seven: After his best round of the fight, and maybe his career, Taylor roars out of his corner and meets Hopkins on his side of the ring and Hopkins greets him with a left hook that forces Taylor to clinch. Taylor looks very willing to trade, and isn't moving his head much, which is leaving him open to Hopkins' straight right hand. Taylor has abandoned the jab in this round, and with about 30 seconds left, Taylor gets caught with another straight right hand. That was Hopkins' best round of the fight.
Round Eight: Taylor looks anxious right now, and he isn't moving his head and he isn't tucking his chin, Hopkins is taking advantage by throwing the straight right hand. A minute into the round, Taylor gets hit with a straight right hand but counters with a straight right of his own that catches Hopkins backing up. Hopkins is definitely settles in, and looks very comfortable in the ring, and is doing damage with his straight right hand. With about 5 seconds left, Taylor charges Hopkins on the ropes and lands to big straight right hands that catch Hopkins flush at the bell.
Round Nine: Both fighters look they're ready to fight, and are letting their hands go. Taylor isn't throwing his jab much in the late portions of the fight, and is instead choosing to lead with his lead left uppercut or his straight right hand, neither are garnering much success for Taylor. With 30 seconds left, Taylor charges in with a straight right hand that Hopkins counters with a straight right of his own that might have rocked Taylor. Taylor clinches and the two close the round at a distance.
Round Ten: The championship rounds begin and Taylor looks to have recomposed himself after seemingly losing the last few rounds. Taylor is waiting of Hopkins, opting to counterpunch for the entire first half of the round and Hopkins is forcing Taylor off balance by feinting with his punches. Taylor isn't a counterpuncher and this strategy isn't working out for him, as he is leaving himself open to the straight right hand. Hopkins lands a straight right hand with about 30 seconds left that seems to have shaked Taylor. Taylor is getting beat to the punch and he needs to shape up in the next couple rounds.
Round Eleven: Taylor comes out and immediately attacks Taylor, landing his jab and two straight right hands that send the crowd into an uproar. Hopkins steps back and is hit with a straight right hand backing up, that was Taylor's biggest punch of the fight, and he is really taking it to Hopkins this first half of the round. Taylor once again disbands the jab and is now leading with the straight right hand and is overshooting with the right. Hopkins lands a left hook with about 30 seconds left but Taylor comes back and hits Hopkins with a straight right to end the round.
Round Twelve: The twelfth and final round begins with both battling on the inside with hooks to the body. Taylor backs up and is caught with a straight right hand that sends him off balance. Taylor recovers and the fighters take the fight to the ropes where Taylor lands an overhand right that dazes Hopkins, Hopkins circles off the ropes and Taylor gets hit with a straight right coming in. Both fighters are fighting on the inside, letting their hands go with neither landing much of anything. With about 10 seconds left, Taylor lands 4 unanswered hooks to Hopkins' head with Hopkins left frozen in the middle of the ring at the round's closing. The fight goes to the cards.
The official decsion from the judges at ringside awards Jermain Taylor a 115-113 victory on all three scorecards, sending Bernard Hopkins down in defeat for the second consecutive time.