SYDNEY-Jermain Taylor is two fights away from boxing for an Olympic gold medal and after another convincing win Saturday night he said he doesn't fear anyone who stands in his way.
"I don't worry about nobody," said Taylor after stopping Scott MacIntosh of Canada, 23-9. "No sir, I take every opponent one by one. I don't overestimate anybody and I don't underestimate anybody. I take them all as they come."
Taylor, 22, of Little Rock, Ark., showed his stamina and patience when he outscored MacIntosh 11-3 in the third round. He threw a lot of punches during the round, including several good scoring combinations and two powerful uppercuts.
That came after an awkward first round when Taylor missed with several punches as MacIntosh danced around the ring.
"I wasn't trying to knock that guy out," said Taylor, a light middleweight who had been warned by coach Tom Mustin not to try for knockouts. "My game plan was to outbox him and to use my jab a lot and if I see an opening for the right, throw it. I was throwing the right hand a little hard, I guess. I was getting a little anxious because he was running.
"I was anxious because he was on the move and it was hard for me to catch up with him. So I figured if he's going toward the right hand I gotta throw the right hand.
"In the early rounds I wasn't coming back with my left hook and the coach got on me and said if you throw the right hand you should throw the left hook. And I did just that and I came out victorious."
As the fight wore on MacIntosh lost the spring in his step and Taylor's punches caught him more frequently.
"I think he tired himself out with all that running he was doing," said Taylor.
Featherweight Ricardo Juarez also won Saturday night, 17-15 over a tough German, Falk Huste. It was a close fight all the way, with both boxers standing toe to toe trading punches in the last minute.
Juarez now faces Somluck Kamsing of Thailand, the gold medalist in 1996. He has an awkward style and is tall and lanky. Juarez will have to get inside on him and stick to his game plan to advance. The two will meet during the Wednesday evening session.
Super heavyweight Calvin Brock, of Charlotte, N.C. was thrashed by Paolo Vidoz of Italy. Vidoz was ahead 21-5 when the fight was stopped because the point differential was more than 15.
The wins by Taylor and Juarez were important because the U.S. team suffered its first three losses Thursday and Friday. World champion light flyweight Brian Viloria lost a close fight 6-4 to Brahim Asloum of France and welterweight Dante Craig lost to Bulent Ulusoy of Turkey, 9-4. Lightweight David Jackson had to forfeit when he weighed in at more than the maximum 132 pounds.
After Brock's loss the Americans still had eight fighters left, most of the advancing to the quarter finals.
Saturday's fights were big because they helped the U.S. boxers regain the momentum they had after winning their first 11 fights.
"It was hard because I love both those guys you know," said Taylor. "Brian Viloria was like the backbone of the team. He was a world champ. When he lost I think he took a little piece of all of us. Everybody loves him. He's just like a brother.
"When you lose a man who's supposed to come and win the whole tournament, it's hard. But I picked myself up. I got back on the track and I'm doing pretty good for myself."
Mustin likes Taylor's chances for a medal. If he beats Adnan Catic of Germany in his next bout Wednesday night, he is guaranteed a medal. He would have to beat Juan Hernandez of Cuba to get to the gold medal match if Hernandez wins his next match.
"Jermain is awful big for his weight," said Mustin. "He's real strong. He's got quick hands, good speed. The thing that I worry about early with Jermain that he steps in with his jab and tries to throw his right hand too long and tries to pull out too quick. That's something we've been working on for six months now."
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