- Jermain Taylor had outpointed Bernard Hopkins in July in their first meeting, handing 40-year-old Hopkins his first defeat in 12 years, by a razor-thin split decision in a less than entertaining encounter. Judge Jerry Roth had scored the bout 116-112 for Hopkins, but was overruled by judges Duane Ford and Paul Smith who both had Taylor winning the fight, and taking the world middleweight titles, by a 115-113 margin.
- The rematch was set for December 3, 2005 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas. A now more fired up Hopkins, desperate to win back the belts Taylor had taken from him in their first encounter, warned the younger champion ‘‘your 90 days are up’’.
- Hopkins had planned to retire after winning the rematch and go out the way another great former middleweight champion, Sugar Ray Robinson had done – majestically in front of a big crowd on a special night dedicated to his memory. This would not be the case.
- Taylor successfully defended his world middleweight championship against Hopkins, who he had dethroned in July, this time by a unanimous decision. The three judges at ringside, in Dave Moretti, Chuck Giampa and Patricia Morse, all scored the fight 115-113 in favour of Jermain Taylor.
- In actual fact the fight could perhaps have gone either way, with many feeling that Hopkins had done enough to win or at least garner a draw.
- The compubox statistics revealed that Hopkins had out landed Taylor in both total punches and power shots throughout the bout, however, the veteran had conceivably given up too many of the early rounds to be able to overhaul the deficit on the judges’ cards, despite coming on strong in the second half of the fight.
- Our post-fight reaction looked back on the rematch as an encounter where some rounds were difficult to score; a punch here and there being the difference between the two competitors. So many of the rounds were so close and passionless that the decision was reasonable.
- The rematch was made to clear up the controversy of the first meeting and provide a clear winner; however, both men later said they felt they had done enough to win the sequel.
- Ultimately, though, it was Hopkins who was left to complain about the judging for a second time in just six months.
- This would be Hopkins’ last fight at middleweight as he decided to jump up two weight divisions in his next contest to defeat light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver via unanimous decision. Taylor, on the other hand, would retain his titles next time out courtesy of a draw with Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright in yet another tight contest.
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Unbeaten Jermain Taylor wins a second close decision against legend Bernard Hopkins, writes Jack Webb