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Taylor moving on and up

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

It's tough for any fighter to come back from his first loss, especially one as crushing as that of Kelly Pavlik pummeling Jermain Taylor last September.

It hadn't been long ago that Taylor was boxing's newest golden child, a two-time conqueror of middleweight king Bernard Hopkins, whose death-grip on the 160-pound division seemed as though it may never end before he ran into the highly-skilled, young, and hungry contender from Little Rock.

Once Pavlik put him down so brutally that even Steve Smoger was willing to call the fight off, it wasn't immediately clear what Taylor would do. He'd already said he wasn't returning to middleweight, but after having a second round knockout attempt nullified by Pavlik, only to have the challenger slay the champion five rounds later, Taylor's mettle was beyond tested.

Would he fight the man who beat him in an attempt to regain his status? It didn't take long for Taylor to decide, really. Yes, he would.

Taylor fared quite well in the rematch, though he lost again to Pavlik. He immediately parted ways with trainer Emmanuel Steward after the first loss to Pavlik, firing a legend who just did not mesh with Taylor and has maybe seen his best days pass him by, though that's a story for another time. Ozell Nelson made a good account of himself as Taylor's lead cornerman in the rematch.

Now, he's moving forward again. Lou DiBella, Taylor's promoter, is doing all he can to get Don King excited about a fight between the former middleweight champion and legendary Puerto Rican superstar Felix Trinidad, who is coming off of a return to the ring loss to Roy Jones, Jr.

The talk has the fight at a catchweight between 168 and 175 pounds, which would likely be 170, the same as Jones-Trinidad. HBO is reportedly interested in the bout, offering a September or October date. So it's all on King and Trinidad.

For Taylor, it would be a chance at getting a high-profile win against a big name who just is not big enough to challenge him, the same as he wasn't big enough to challenge Jones. For Tito, it would be another big payday, and another chance for Don King to wave his little Puerto Rican flag.

Should King and Trinidad balk at any point, DiBella says that Taylor is likely to take a 168-pound fight against Brian Vera, who recently upset Emmanuel Steward's prize pupil, Andy Lee, at middleweight. Vera has fought at 168 before, but he's not fit for the weight. This would just be a win for Taylor, most likely, as he's simply on a different level than Vera. But most thought the same thing about Lee.

Whatever Jermain Taylor does, I look forward to seeing him get back on the horse. He's a highly likable fighter, admits his downfalls, and hasn't made a single excuse about his losses to Pavlik. Whether it's Trinidad or Vera, I'll be tuned in.

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