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. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.