Feature | Premium | Sep 29 2019

Kelly Pavlik vs Jermain Taylor: The story of a middleweight classic

On this day in 2007, Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor engaged in brutal warfare
Kelly Pavlik
Chris Farina/Top Rank

IT was the night Atlantic City discovered life after Arturo Gatti. On September 29, 2007, Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor played rock ‘em sock ‘em with each other’s faces in the most cartoonishly brilliant middleweight title fight in years. A little more than two years after Bernard Hopkins’ age of austerity was ended, Pavlik and Taylor turned back the clock to produce a fight straight out of the eighties.

That was a time when “the matches themselves transcended the squalor of the business side of the sport and focused only on the men who fought”, as Pete Hamill wrote in the foreword to George Kimball’s Four Kings. And given the squalid aftermath of Taylor’s wins over Hopkins, when the then-41-year-old Hopkins went from calling his loss “a robbery” to “a rape”, Taylor’s fight with Pavlik was a necessary balm. Hopkins had taken to calling Taylor the corporate champion before their second fight, but there was nothing corporate about this. Forget the business of boxing: under the electric blue of the Boardwalk Hall’s barrel chest ceiling, this had all the gorgeous severity of a bloodsport at its best.

Subscribe now to keep reading

We're chuffed you’re enjoying our website, but I'm afraid you need to be a subscriber to read this story.

As a subscriber you'll get access to all online content, including weekly issues - you can opt for digital only or print and digital - plus an online archive of weekly digital editions back to January 2012.

You'll also be helping to support our editorial independence so we can continue to get to the heart of the stories that truly matter to you, the reader. Every subscription we secure will go directly to ensuring that Boxing News retains its voice for many years to come.

If you're not ready to subscribe there are plenty of free articles on the site you can enjoy by registering

To enjoy premium content such as this story, and to get the weekly issue you will need to subscribe

Got an account? Sign in