James (Buddy) McGirt vs. Meldrick Taylor

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1988-09-03 : Meldrick Taylor 140 lbs beat James McGirt 138¼ lbs by TKO at 2:00 in round 12 of 12

Note

McGirt and Taylor were originally scheduled to fight on June 12, 1988, in Chicago. McGirt, however, came down with tendinitis in his elbow, and when the fight was rescheduled for July 30 at Madison Square Garden's Felt Forum, Taylor's handlers said scheduling conflicts made it impossible for him to fight. Howard Davis Jr. stepped in as a substitute for Taylor and was knocked out in the first round. [1]


Taylor Stops Mcgirt For Ibf Crown
By Robert Seltzer, Philadelphia Inquirer, September 4, 1988

ATLANTIC CITY — Meldrick Taylor is no expert on precious metals, but he wanted to prove the value of the one that was draped around his neck in the 1984 Olympics.

He did - convincingly.

Just ask James "Buddy" McGirt.

Philadelphia's Taylor, displaying brilliant hand speed and unexpected power, stopped McGirt in the 12th round to win the International Boxing Federation version of the junior-welterweight title yesterday afternoon at Harrah's Marina.

Referee Randy Newman stopped the bout at 2 minutes of the 12th and final round, when manager Al Certo rushed through the ropes waving a towel to stop the pounding his fighter was taking.

Taylor raised his record to 20-0-1 with 11 knockouts; McGirt, of Brentwood, N.Y., dropped to 38-2-1.

"Everyone was underestimating me," Taylor said. "Everybody thought that I didn't have a chance. I won a gold medal. I've fought tough opponents. I don't know why everyone underestimates me."

All three judges had Taylor winning the fight through the 11th round, with Vinnie Rainone scoring it 108-101, Richard Murray 106-103 and John Stewart 107-103.

"I didn't show any weaknesses today," Taylor said.

McGirt had belittled Taylor earlier in the week, saying that the challenger was getting the title shot only because of the gold medal.

"He deserves the title," McGirt said after the fight yesterday. "He worked hard for it, and he was the better man today. It was one of those days when nothing worked for me."

Both fighters started at a furious pace, the kind that could leave most fighters winded and arm-weary by the fifth round. If it lasted that long, and it did not appear that it would. Taylor was so determined, so aggressive that the referee had to restrain him at the end of the first three rounds.

"I tried to get his respect early," McGirt said. "But he was throwing 100 punches to every one of mine. So I said, 'Whoa.' I hit him with a left hook in the first round, and when he didn't crumble, I knew I couldn't hurt this guy."

The challenger, still fresh in the fourth round, shuffled and slipped punches effortlessly, moving his shoulders from side to side as the shots whistled past him. Taylor countered every miss with left hooks or straight rights. He made the champion, a superbly gifted fighter, look almost helpless.

Taylor became careless in the fifth round, wading inside without regard to defense. He paid for the recklessness with a crackling right to the jaw. The punch convinced him to return to a more deliberate approach.

By the sixth round, the fight had become a mismatch. Not a mismatch on the order of the Mike Tyson-Michael Spinks bout but, somehow, just as thorough, just as convincing, just as brutal.

In the seventh round, McGirt looked like a man struggling against an undertow. The champion plodded around the ring, pawing the challenger with fists that had always landed with the force of a jack-hammer. He returned to his corner with a deep cut over his left eye.

"I'm trying, I'm trying," the champion gasped to his cornermen after the round.

The champion displayed that effort in the ninth round, when he staged a brief rally. McGirt landed a solid right to the jaw early in the round, and then he began to chase the challenger, not in desperation as he had before, but with a sense of purpose. It was his best round of the fight.

"That wasn't no second wind," McGirt said. "That was my guts. My second wind was gone in the second round."

It was an impressive comeback, but it was not enough. No one knew it more than the two men in the ring, especially the challenger. The fans could see it in his eyes, which seemed to exude the cold, naked menace of a loaded pistol.

"I took his heart," Taylor said. "I took his guts. I took everything. He thought I was a weakling. He tried to overpower me, but I was the one who rocked him. I didn't put him down, but champions aren't supposed to go down easy."

Promoter Dan Duva said he hopes to see a match between Taylor and lightweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez, generally considered the best fighter in the world pound for pound.

"Bring Chavez on," Duva said. [2]