Lem Satterfield

Lem’s latest: Russell Jr., Taylor return; Berto update

TAYLOR REUNITES WITH TRAINER PAT BURNS FOR SECOND TIME

Taylor will be in his second straight bout with trainer Pat Burns, who guided him to a mark of 25-0, 17 knockouts, including consecutive victories by split and unanimous decision over Bernard Hopkins in July and December of 2005, the first of which earned Taylor the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight belts.

“I think that it’s a great reunion. Jermain Taylor was at his best when he was with Pat Burns,” said Dibella. “I also think that this is a situation where Jermain is totally dedicated to the sport. He’s in superior condition, and he’s not allowing his weight to get out of control. That’s the stuff that Pat Burns does the best with.”

Taylor, who had faced 12 world champions in his last 13 bouts before defeating Nicklow, had a draw with former champion Winky Wright in June of 2006, and was 27-0-1 with 17 knockouts before experiencing his first loss with a seventh-round knockout by Kelly Pavlik in Sept. 2007.

Taylor also lost his non-title rematch with Pavlik by unanimous decision in February of 2008, when they each weighed 164 pounds, and was subsequently knocked out in the 12th round by Carl Froch in his second super middleweight bout in April of 2009.

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DIBELLA SAYS SERGIO MARTINEZ IS IN TOUGH AGAINST MATTHEW MACKLIN

DiBella believes that RING No. 3-rated middleweight Mathew Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs) will be a difficult task for the man he promotes, Sergio Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KOs), THE RING’s middleweight champion and No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter.

Martinez is coming off an 11th-round knockout of London’s Darren Barker (23-1, 14 KOs) in October during which he was tagged several times by the wily fighter, and faces Macklin, an Irishman, on St. Patrick’s Day at Madison Square Garden.

“This could be a very, very difficult fight. Macklin is a good fighter,” said DiBella. “He’s very rugged and he’s strong. This could be a very, very difficult fight.”

Martinez won the undisputed middleweight title with a unanimous decision over Kelly Pavlik in April  of 2010 before scoring a second-round knockout of Paul Williams in November of that year in a rematch of their 2009 fight that Williams won by a controversial majority decision.

Martinez was then forced, however, to give up his WBC belt for fighting Sergei Dzinziruk in March on HBO, a bout Martinez won by an eight-round KO.

“Sergio’s last two fights have been very tough. Dzinziruk wasn’t an easy fight, although Sergio looked spectacular. Barker wasn’t an easy fight either. And against Macklin, you know, he’s going to be sitting in a sold-out room with 4,000 Irish people there rooting against him,” said DiBella.

“Sergio’s a consumate professional, and I’m confident that he will do just fine, but he’s going to obviously sort of be on hostile ground. Anyone who thinks that this isn’t a dangerous fight hasn’t taken a serious look at Matthew Macklin.”

In his last fight in June, Macklin lost a controversial split-decision to RING No. 2-rated middleweight and WBA beltholder Felix Sturm (36-2-2, 15 KOs), of Germany.

During an interview with RingTV.com in December, Macklin displayed confidence going against Martinez. 

“Martinez certainly showed some vulnerabilities and he certainly showed that he was hittable. He looked tired. But having said that, he had probably been looking past Barker, and I think that Martinez is certainly better than that. He still found a way to win, even though he didn’t seem to perform to the best of his abilties,” said Macklin.

“But, you know, on that performance, I think that I would have stopped him. If he came in like that against me, he certainly would not have heard the final bell. I don’t think that he will turn up like that against me. I expect a better Martinez, but I still think that I will beat him.”

After defeating Barker, Martinez renounced the WBC’s “diamond” belt.

“The only title that I’m going to defend from now on is the one that I conquered by defeating Kelly Pavlik,” said Martinez, “which is the RING Magazine title.”

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DIBELLA PROMISES ‘THE BEST OF’ BERTO IN THE REMATCH WITH ORTIZ

DiBella said Berto’s “reports on his recovery are that he is right on schedule” for the June 23 rematch slated to be televised on Showtime.

Trainer Tony Morgan told RingTV.com recently that Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) has “been recovering really well” over the course of his rehabilitation from a ruptured left biceps that was suffered during a sparring session on Jan. 30, forcing the postponement of his schedued Feb. 11 return bout with Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs).

“The fight will be June 23, and he’s right on schedule,” DiBella said of Berto, who recently resumed training at Goossen’s Gym in Van Nuys, Calif., with Ricky Funez, according to Morgan. “Everything is looking very well with his recovery.”

Berto’s first fight with Ortiz, last April, featured two knockdowns by each fighter before Berto won the WBC belt by a unanimous decision.

Ortiz was subsequently dethroned after a fourth-round knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in  September, the same month during which Berto rebounded by beating IBF welterweight titleholder Jan Zaveck by fifth-round knockout.

Berto gave up the IBF belt to face Ortiz in a non-title fight.

“He looked great in the Zaveck fight, and his conditioning was sensational in the Zaveck fight, so I think that he was incredibly confident wit his conditioning prior to the postponement of the Ortiz fight,” said DiBella.

“Obviously, right now, I don’t think that there is any change in that. I’m very confident that you’re going to see the best of Andre Berto on June 23.”

Photo by Craig Bennett, Fightwireimages.com

Photo by Emily Hardy, Fightwireimages.com

Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.

Photo by Phil McCarten, Hogan Photos-Golden Boy Promotions

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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