Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lacy gets key fight with ex-Olympic teammate

Since they were Olympic teammates in 2000 — two of the team's brightest, hardest-hitting stars, in adjoining weight classes — St. Petersburg's Jeff Lacy and Jermain Taylor have been heading toward a fight.

They will finally collide Nov. 15 at a site to be determined, with HBO televising the super-middleweight bout.

"You can almost call this fight inevitable,'' Taylor's promoter, Lou DiBella, said. "This has been talked about since they were amateurs.''

Lacy's majority-decision win over Colombia's Epifanio Mendoza on Wednesday in Cabazon, Calif., paved the way for the matchup, which was all but signed and sealed a few hours before the fight. It will be a WBC eliminator. Carl Froch and Jean Pascal are expected to fight for the WBC title, possibly on the same card.

"This is going to be a great matchup,'' said Lacy, 31, who improved to 24-1 with Wednesday's win. He had to rally late to eke it out by 95-95, 96-94 and 97-93 scores but was pleased with the outing.

"He had a hard time. He made an easy fight look hard,'' Taylor, 29, said. "He's still strong as an ox, but I figure I'll just have to give him a good boxing lesson.''

At their peak, Lacy and Taylor were considered boxing's future. Lacy was the IBF super-middleweight champion from 2004-06; Taylor, from Little Rock, Ark., was middleweight champion from 2005-07.

But the matchup has lost some luster in recent years. Lacy is still trying to find his way back from his only loss, to Joe Calzaghe in 2006, and 2007 shoulder surgery, and Taylor (27-2, 17 KOs) is coming off consecutive losses to Kelly Pavlik.

"They're still two of the biggest names in the business,'' DiBella said. "But it's a crossroads fight for both. The winner makes a statement.

"If Jeff loses, it's a huge problem for him. He hasn't looked good lately. And Jermain, if he were to lose, that would be three fights in a row.

"This is hugely important.''

Lacy and Taylor are friends and often sparred together as Olympians. "We talk,'' Lacy said. "But when the bell rings, the friendship stays outside the ring. Maybe we can have dinner afterwards.''

John C. Cotey can be reached at or (813) 909-4612.

Lacy gets key fight with ex-Olympic teammate 07/24/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 25, 2008 9:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs


    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  2. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  3. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  4. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.