Lacy, Taylor fight to avoid slipping into boxing oblivion
The interaction between
Back in 2006, Lacy was regarded as a rising star in the 168-pound division, a perfect blend of power and speed. Factor in his anti-establishment image (in a sport where many fighter résumés include criminal records, his most serious transgression was a penchant for speeding) and Lacy was being anointed by some as the new face of American boxing.
That is, until Calzaghe carved up that face like a Thanksgiving turkey.
Calzaghe did more than take Lacy's IBF title that night; he pummeled the confidence right out of him. After the fight, Lacy (24-1) went into hibernation, vanishing from the boxing scene until finally resurfacing (if you can call it that) nine months later, when he won a lackluster majority decision against the unheralded
Another man might have taken the beating by Calzaghe as a sign and used the torn rotator cuff as an excuse to walk away. But Lacy kept allowing his mind to wander back to Calzaghe -- not because he enjoyed reliving the worst moment of his career, but because of the lessons he says he learned from it.
"I learned a lot from that loss," said Lacy in a telephone interview from Nashville, where he will face
Lacy professes a newfound education, but in his recent forays in the ring he has looked like a lot like the same fighter. Maybe worse.
A year after his win over Tsypko, Lacy won a narrow decision victory over
Lacy's excuse? Mendoza wasn't good enough.
"I fight to the level of the competition," said Lacy.
If that is true, he'll be at his best Saturday night against Taylor, a highly skilled fighter who is at his own career-crossroads after back-to-back losses to
"Jermain knows how big this is," Taylor's promoter,
The same can be said for Lacy.
"This is an important fight," said Lacy. "It's my chance to step out of the shadows. My training camp has been great. My body feels great. I feel confident, relaxed, rejuvenated; it's not hard to get up for this fight."