by David P. Greisman
Jessie Nicklow doesnít talk like the typical opponent selected for a former starís first fight back.
ďTune in on December 30,Ē he says, ďand watch me punch Jermain Taylor in the face.Ē
Nicklow, a 24-year-old from Baltimore, is a middleweight boxer with a full-time job, a man who works in security for a living and who has 22 wins, 2 losses and 3 draws in his side gig. His last big fight was two years ago, a stoppage loss to Fernando Guerrero. †
His side gig is about to bring him to California for the biggest fight of his career ó a middleweight bout, give or take a pound, with former world champion Jermain Taylor.
The bout will be Taylorís first ring appearance in more than two years, having not fought since an Oct. 17, 2009, knockout loss to Arthur Abraham. The fight left him with bleeding on his brain and concerns over whether his career would or should continue.†
Doctors have since testified that Taylor is healthy and in no more danger than he was prior to the injury.†
In this interview with BoxingScene.com, Nicklow not only talks about his fight with Taylor, but also about why Taylor shouldnít be seen solely for the four losses he suffered in his last five fights.
BoxingScene.com: Tell me about being Jermain Taylorís comeback opponent and why you wanted this fight.
Nicklow: ďAs soon as they gave me a call, I said ĎYeah, I definitely want the fight.í Itís an opportunity, and I want to make the most of it. The whole worldís going to be able to see what I can do. Iíll be in there with another good fighter, and you know, just let everybody know where Iím at, and Iíll know where Iím at myself.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Where are you at right now in your career?
Nicklow: ďIím just having fun. Iím 24 years old. I got 27 pro fights. I work a full-time job, and I train when I get off work. Boxing is just fun for me. Itís not like I have to do it or anything like that. I just love to do it.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Youíve had a couple of losses in your career. How do you think youíve grown since those losses?
Nicklow: ďI have one loss. I guess being more prepared, you know what I mean. When I had the fight with Fernando [Guerrero], I wasnít prepared and I didnít really go into the fight with a game plan, and I was just getting back in the gym. Now I stay in the gym all the time. Now we prepare, watch footage and things we should do.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Letís go back real quick. I donít always trust everything I read online. You said you have one loss, though online youíre listed as also having a win over George Rivera, and then two months later, in a rematchÖ
Nicklow (jumping in): ďI have a loss to George Rivera on my record but I didnít lose to George Rivera. I was fighting in his backyard. The fight was just crazy. George Riveraís a piece of shit. Virginia is a piece of shit commission. Anybody that decides to do anything in boxing, Iíd advise them not to go to Virginia.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Your contention, then, is that you got ripped off on the decision.
Nicklow: ďThatís not my contention. Thatís what happened. I clearly won the fight, but it is what it is. Who cares? Itís over and done with now. You win some and lose some. Thatís the name of the game.Ē
BoxingScene.com: And then you move on. So what will it be like to fight on Showtime on the night before New Yearís Eve?
Nicklow: ďI donít really think too much of it. Itís just another fight. Another guy in front of me that wants to kill me. Iím really looking forward to it. I canít wait to get in there and fight Jermain Taylor and show people what Iím about.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Jermain Taylor is coming off a long layoff. Where do you see him at this point in his career?
Nicklow: ďI think that heís a loss away from retiring and a couple wins away from being back to championship status. Everybodyís like ĎHeís done, heís done.í Iím not training like that. Iím training like Iím fighting the Jermain Taylor that beat Bernard Hopkins.†
ďJermain Taylor moved up to 168, and he wasnít the bigger guy and heís fighting bigger men. Everybodyís saying ĎHeís shot, heís done, he canít take a punch.í Heís getting knocked out by undefeated guys that can pretty much knock anybody out.
ďBoxing critics, unless youíve been in the ring, you donít know what the f*ck youíre talking about, pretty much. Jermain Taylor can fight. I just go out there and do my thing, make everybody know I can fight, because I know I can. Jermain Taylorís gonna know I can on the 30th.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What does a win over Taylor do for your career?
Nicklow: ďItíd be big. Iíd be a fight or two away from a championship shot. And Iím a loss or two away from being an opponent. Itís one of them things. Itís the timing in my life. Iíve had a lot of ups and a lot of downs. This is definitely going to be an up for me. A win over Jermain Taylor is going to set me and my future. Thatís what I plan on doing. I plan on going out there and doing my thing.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Anything else you want people to know?
Nicklow: ďTune in on Dec. 30 and watch me punch Jermain Taylor in the face.Ē
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org