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Cayo-Taylor should make for style skirmish

3/7/2013



Expect an explosive clash of styles when junior welterweights Victor Cayo and Emanuel Taylor meet in Atlantic City, N.J., on this week's "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/WatchESPN, 10 p.m. ET).

Cayo, of the Dominican Republic, is a veteran whose only losses have come against world champions (Lamont Peterson, Nate Campbell and Marcos Maidana). Taylor, nicknamed "Transformer," is a promising fighter who thus far has no big names on his résumé. Taylor is fighting in the main event of a nationally televised card for the first time in his career, and he'll do so against a qualified opponent.

"Victor Cayo is a very good fighter, but I'm sticking with my style -- I'm going all out," Taylor said. "I am a boxer and a puncher. I love to walk people down, but if need be, I can box as well."

Taylor (16-1, 11 KOs) is an aggressive, frontal fighter who likes to take the center of the ring early, imposing his rhythm and using a strategy similar to that exhibited by Peterson when he stopped Cayo in 2011. Taylor most recently was in action in January, when he scored a sixth-round TKO against the promising Raymond Serrano.

Cayo (31-3, 22 KOs) -- quick, fast on his feet and supremely technical -- has won his past four fights, three by stoppage, since being stopped by Campbell last March. Cayo figures to stay on the move and try to impose his jab and land double combinations against Taylor.

"We studied Victor and we saw he throws a lot of punches," Taylor said. "He puts combinations together very well. That's what makes me train harder: I know he is going to be prepared."

Cayo needs to avoid short-range exchanges and Taylor's counterpunching, one of the youngster's best assets. It was counter shots that Taylor used to open up Serrano before demolishing him with powerful combinations on the ropes until the referee stopped the bout.

"There are several flaws in Victor's style," Taylor said. "He keeps his hands down, he leans forward when he's trying to rest. But he's very deceptive; he throws punches from difficult angles. I think my defense is pretty tight. It will need to be against Victor."

A more objective observer might kindly comment that Taylor's defense needs work. He properly protects his left side too infrequently, either holding his arm too low or seeking to elude punches by rolling his shoulder Floyd Mayweather Jr.-style. Against Cayo -- a faster fighter who throws lots of straight punches and volleys with his right hand -- that style spells trouble.

And although Taylor typically throws very little at his opponent's midsection, body punching should be on the menu against Cayo. In 2010, Maidana used his powerful hooks to the liver to neutralize Cayo's speed before knocking him out.

In the co-main event, Russia's undefeated heavyweight prospect and knockout artist Magomed "Mago" Abdusalamov (16-0, 16 KOs) defends his regional heavyweight belt against former Puerto Rican Olympian Victor Bisbal (21-1, 15 KOs). Abdusalamov, now living in Oxnard, Calif., has won all his fights by KO -- none of them going beyond the fourth round. Bisbal is coming off two straight knockout wins.