LOS ANGELES (AP) - Jermain Taylor made a case for himself as the future of the middleweight division Saturday night, stopping Daniel Edouard in the
third round with a series of devastating shots to the head.
Fighting on the undercard of undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins' title defense against Howard Eastman, Taylor showed that he isn't far
from a possible title shot himself by taking apart Edouard apart before referee Ray Corona stopped the fight at 2:26 of the third round.
The 2000 Olympic bronze medalist remained undefeated and scored his 17th knockout in 23 fights in an impressive performance that had the crowd at
Staples Center on its feet cheering.
"This was exactly the kind of performance I wanted," Taylor said. "I think I answered a lot of questions."
Taylor not only landed a lot of punches, but landed them with efficiency as he dominated the fight and handed Edouard (16-1-2) his first loss as a
Taylor shook Edouard in the first round and again in the second, throwing big punches almost from the opening bell. The Little Rock, Ark., fighter
showed little regard for any power from Edouard, stepping through his punches to land 68 of the 124 punches he threw in a little less than three full
Midway through the third round, Taylor landed two right hands to the head and then followed Edouard across the ring. He trapped him in the neutral
corner and was landing punches at will against the defenseless Haitian when the referee moved between the two fighters and called the bout to an
Taylor, who holds the WBA No. 2 ranking among middleweights, was put on the card to showcase his talents as a fighter being groomed for a title shot.
He was coming off a lopsided win over former champion William Joppy, and was both more experienced and more powerful than Edouard.
"It was an honor to be on this card. I look up to Bernard Hopkins," Taylor said. "I felt like this was an audition and I could feel the pressure."
Taylor said he is willing to fight anyone, though he is not likely to make an immediate challenge of Hopkins, who was defending his title for the 20th
time against Eastman.
"It makes me nervous when they say I am the heir apparent," Taylor said. "He is not my king. Being a prince is OK, but I want to be the king."
Taylor actually weighed over the limit, 162[ pounds for the scheduled 10-round fight. Edouard was also over the limit at 161[ pounds.
Also on the undercard, 2004 Olympian Vicente Escobedo made his pro debut a short one, stopping an outclassed Abraham Verdugo in the first round of
their scheduled six round junior lightweight fight.