By Thomas Gerbasi
When Emanuel Taylor was in high school, his sights were set on the football gridiron. His father, Maryland Boxing Hall of Famer Maxell Taylor Sr., wasn’t having it.
“I wanted to play football, but my dad didn’t let me, so I didn’t get a chance,” said the 22-year-old junior welterweight prospect. “But I knew that I was gonna be a professional boxer and that this was gonna be my career.”
And with Taylor putting together 186 amateur and 16 professional wins thus far, his father’s choice may have been the safer one for his son, whose positive reputation in the fight game is growing with each passing bout. The next one? An ESPN Friday Night Fights main event against Victor Cayo at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.
“He’s real bony, real skinny,” said Taylor of his foe. “They say he has pop, but I don’t think he has the pop to hurt me. But it will be a good fight.”
If Santo Domingo’s Cayo doesn’t have the pop to hurt Taylor, he certainly has the experience to give him a rough night and perhaps his second pro defeat. The 28-year-old is 31-3, 1 NC with 22 KOs, riding a four fight winning streak, and his only losses have come against Nate Campbell, Lamont Peterson, and Marcos Maidana. If this is a case of too much too soon, we’ll find out soon enough, but in the meantime, you’ve got to respect a young fighter willing to actually fight tough competition and not nurse his record.
To Taylor, promoted by Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing and managed by David Price and Doc Nowicki, this is just the way he does things.
“I like to stay busy,” he said. “I’m glad I got the phone call just to stay busy, get my ranking up, and keep fighting.”
The Cayo fight comes on the heels of a January 25th stoppage of Raymond Serrano, where he laid in wait for his opponent until an opening presented itself, and at 1:42 of the sixth round, he finished matters.
“I was real confident going into the Serrano fight because I knew he didn’t have what I had,” said Taylor. “I knew that I would go in there and get him out of there and that I was stronger than him. I was gonna wear him down, and he had no pop whatsoever, so I knew I was gonna take that win.”
The victory was the second for the Maryland native since the lone loss of his career, a controversial split decision defeat at the hands of Ohio’s Prenice Brewer in November of 2011. It’s still a sore spot with Taylor, but at least it’s not the open wound it was in the aftermath of the disputed verdict.
“I think about it from time to time, but I feel like I got over it,” he said. “It was a robbery, I had the fight won, and it was real bad. I thought I had it, and I still haven’t gotten over that.”
After a win over 6-0 George Sosa that followed nearly a year off from the ring, Taylor landed two high-profile fights in Serrano and Cayo. If asked if the loss to Brewer made him want to step on the gas a little harder, he says no.
“I think it’s going the way it should have gone,” he said. “I still look at my record as undefeated and I think this is a good road that I’m taking and I still think I’m on the right path to being great.”
It’s a path that has made his father, a multiple-time Golden Gloves winner as an amateur, very proud.
“He’s real happy and I see that I’m making him proud,” said Taylor, whose brother, Maxell Jr. is a pro boxer as well. “He’s seen that I came a long way from where he started me from, so he’s very proud of me.”
Taylor was too young to see his father fight, but he has heard stories.
“From what my coach was telling me, he was a southpaw, an aggressive fighter and real strong. They said he fought like a Mexican and he was always in shape in every fight he went into, so I know he was tough.”
The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, and Taylor has a maturity in and out of the ring that should have him going places in the coming years, even though he’s not living the life of a typical 22-year-old.
“There are a lot of sacrifices,” he said. “Giving up partying with my friends, hanging out, going out of town and traveling.”
Any regrets though?
“I know in the long run it will all work out for me for the best.”