De La Hoya Blog: Taylor’s decision
Jermain Taylor must decide after his one-punch knockout loss to Arthur Abraham on Saturday whether to remain in the tournament or call it a career. The former middleweight titleholder is only 31 with 33 professional fights. Plus, he was competitive against Abraham until the hard-punching Armenian landed a big right that put Taylor down and out in the final seconds. However, Taylor has been knocked out in three of his past five fights. That’s why many in the boxing community are calling for him to retire. Oscar De La Hoya knows what’s like to mull retirement. He was in a similar position when he was stopped by Manny Pacquiao and ultimately decided to walk away. Here are his thoughts about Taylor’s situation.
Jermain’s first instinct is going to be, “OK, that’s it for me.” He probably walked back to the dressing after he was knocked out and was with his family and team. He probably said that he’s finished. I would say that the best thing for him to do is take some time off and think about it, though.
He’s still young. Arthur Abraham is one tough guy, one of the favorites to win the (Super Six) tournament. It wasn’t an easy fight but he hung in there like a champ. I’m sure that in a few weeks or a month he’ll once again get that desire to train, to fight. I don’t think he’ll walk away. It’s too difficult to walk away. With me, it’s still difficult to accept that I’m retired. Boxing is like a drug. Right now, I’m going through stages of withdrawal. It’s like I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t imagine what any other fighter goes through. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a good team around me, to make money. Financially, I’m fine. I still have that desire to get back in the ring and perform, though. It’s just in our blood. It’s a very, very difficult decision to hang ’em up. That’s why I don’t think Jermain will do that.
With me, it was a physical thing. I was getting beat up in the gym. That never, ever happened to me in my career, in all my years of fighting. I was always the one who dominated sparring partners and I used to have some real good sparring partners. When guys lighter than you who don’t have that much experience are working you over, that was my first sign that I should think about retiring. If I wasn’t able to compete against the best, why do it? I could compete against B-level fighters but I didn’t see the point. Take a guy like Andre Berto, for instance, a young, fast, up-and-coming guy. Back in the day, I’d fight him no problem. Today, with his speed, I’m sure he’d outwork me.
I think Jermain is in a different situation. Yes, he’s had the three knockouts. That’s a factor. I think he has to re-evaluate how he’s training, though, how he’s executing his game plan, especially in the second half of the fight. He always does great in the first half of the fight but he falls off the wagon. Something happens. He has to evaluate what’s going on. Is it his confidence? Is he worried about getting tired so he doesn’t want to push his body that hard? He has to do some soul searching because, with him, I think it’s more mental than physical. Physically, I think he’s fine. Against Abraham, he was throwing some great punches, some great combinations.
I think he can get past this. As long as you don’t lie to yourself, as long as you don’t listen to anybody else but yourself, as long as you want to search for the answer deep inside, I don’t think it’s too late for him. Hey, he got caught with one punch, a good, solid right down the pipe. Before that, he was snapping that jab. And whenever he snaps that jab, it’s hard to penetrate his defense.
Only he has the answer, only he can say if he should retire or not. My advice would be to not read any stories, don’t listen to anybody, even family members. He can figure it out on his own. He can’t be influenced by anyone else. That’s when it gets more difficult to make a decision. We fighters are easily influenced. If we want to retire, people say, “You can do this. You’re still fast, you’re still strong.” Then you get pumped up to fight again. And it works the other way, too.
I think Jermain will fight again, I really do. I think he’ll do the soul searching and think, “You know what? I’ve done some things wrong and I need to make some changes but I’m going to fight again.”
It’s up to him, though, only him.