Taylor is going back to basics versus Espana

October 30, 1992|By New York Daily News

LONDON -- Meldrick Taylor, coming off his three-round knockout by junior middleweight champion Terry Norris, moves back to the welterweight division Saturday night. But Lou Duva wants the WBA 147-pound champion going back even further, to when he was the 125-pound Olympic champion.

Duva has bought T-shirts inscribed "1984" as a reminder of the style that gained Taylor the Olympic gold medal that year.

"I'm taking him back in time," the trainer said. "For a while there, he got away from what he does best. He thought he was some kind of killer and wanted to stand there and go toe-to-toe. That's not his style, he's a boxer."

Taylor said he was going back to basics.

"Lou watched me train back up on my toes. 'Yeah,' he shouted as though that's been my theme for this fight," Taylor said.

It would be a dangerous proposition Saturday to stand toe-to-toe. He defends against undefeated and top-ranked Cristano Espana of Venezuela on the HBO card that features the Razor Ruddock-Lennox Lewis heavyweight eliminator. Word on Espana is mixed, from Irish manager Barney Eastwood's prediction of a three- or four-round knockout of Taylor, to English promoter Mickey Duff saying the challenger will be lucky to last that long if Taylor goes back to boxing.

"In 1984 he was beautiful," Duva said. "He'd put together four, five, six punches, moved, turned, got out of there. Maybe he can't move like that anymore. I think he can. He still has the fastest hands in boxing."

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