by David P. Greisman
Emanuel Taylor has lost two out his last three fights and dropped three of his last five. His promoter remains optimistic, however, feeling that the junior welterweight’s defeats have come against good opposition and that a couple more victories could bring him to another major opportunity.
This past Saturday night on the preliminary undercard of Terence Crawford’s fight against Hank Lundy at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Taylor stopped Wilfredo Acuna (16-19 with 12 KOs) in six rounds. Some of Acuna's prior losses have come against recognizable names such as Chris Algieri, Dusty Harrison, Felix Diaz and Cletus Seldin.
Acuna isn’t the biggest name. The result, says promoter Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing, is what’s key.
“He’s got to stay in that win column, resurrect his career,” DeGuardia said. “We’re looking for some big things for him. He’s in a hot weight division. There’s a lot that he can have and do in that division, so it’s an important fight for him.”
DeGuardia was referencing the 140-pound weight class, although Taylor came in just shy of 144 pounds for the Acuna bout. The promoter wouldn’t rule out a fight at welterweight if “something presents itself at 147 that’s a great opportunity.”
Taylor is 19-4 with 13 KOs. His first loss came via split decision to Prenice Brewer in 2011. Then he was outpointed by Algieri in February 2014, won a decision over Karim Mayfield that July, lost a decision to Adrien Broner in September, and dropped a decision to Antonio Orozco last May.
Some people might see that as a sign of Taylor’s ceiling. DeGuardia saw those as good learning experiences.
“It’s better that you’re in the ring with top-level competition. So many guys that have been able to fight top-level competition then are able to come back and resurrect their careers,” he said. “Not even resurrect their careers. Your career’s not shot when you’re losing to guys like Chris Algieri, who became world champion in the next fight after that, when you’re losing to guys like Adrien Broner. You’re talking about real fighters.
“In that fight, he [Taylor] went to Cincinnati [Broner’s hometown] and lost by a point [the official scorecards were wider than that]. So you’re talking about good performances where he’s fighting elite fighters, top fighters. Now it’s just a question of taking that experience that he’s gotten under his belt and being able to take it and move forward to the next level.”
DeGuardia said Taylor needs another victory to be back in position. He said it’s not just that Taylor wins, though, but how.
“Obviously you’re as good as your last fight. You got to perform in that last fight. That’s the important thing,” DeGuardia said.
“I want to see a little more fire. There’s been a lot of times, like in the Orozco fight, where he had him and he was winning the fight, doing well, but didn’t have that fire to push forward,” he said. “He would settle in, almost as if he’s in the gym sparring. He’s got to take that step up where he pours it on, knowing the fight is on the line, knowing that this is something that’s going to determine your career. I want to see him step up and really apply the heat.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]