I like that headline -- I could be blogging about The Hills for all I'm aware.
Dan Rafael has gotten word that Jermain Taylor has decided to go in a different direction in camp for his rematch with Kelly Pavlik, splitting with Hall of Fame trainer and HBO commentator Emanuel Steward, which just about everyone on earth thought was absolutely necessary.
The two did four fights together -- Winky Wright, Kassim Ouma, Cory Spinks and Pavlik. He went 2-1-1 in those bouts, but the only times I thought he looked impressive with Steward in the corner were portions of the draw with Wright, and portions of the loss to Pavlik. He killed Kassim Ouma, and he should have. But, frankly, he also should've knocked Ouma out. Where was the zip behind the punches?
He was just awful in the win over Spinks, and while it's true that Spinks' style can make a good fighter look really bad, that wasn't even it. Taylor looked absent for spells, and was clearly losing the fight early on by doing nothing and letting Spinks pop him just enough to take rounds.
In every fight, there was friction in the corner. Steward gave Taylor advice, Taylor didn't listen. Steward would get seriously frustrated with Taylor (check the corner talks during the Spinks fight) and Taylor didn't seem to care.
Taylor beat Bernard Hopkins two times with Pat Burns as his lead trainer, and Rafael says that there are rumors that Burns has been contacted to return to the team. Ozell Nelson may also take over as head trainer. The hang-up with getting Burns back is that it was Nelson's decision to can Burns and go with Steward, and Nelson and Burns do not exactly have the best relationship.
Taylor promoter and Steward friend Lou DiBella chimed in with this, which I consider to be quite an understatement: "Things didn't click as well as they could have and Emanuel thought that Jermain often didn't follow his instruction. Obviously, he's a great trainer, but sometimes a trainer and a fighter don't have the requisite chemistry."
The split between Taylor and Steward doesn't seem nasty at all, as Steward said he told Ozell Nelson that if he needed any advice, he'd be happy to give some. This really does just seem like a case where guys decided it was not working out like it should have, and have decided to part.