Joe Taylor’s life story is a gritty one. Born in New York, he is the son of a professional boxer and prizefighter who always wanted his boy to follow him into the fight game. Taylor (3-1, 2 KO’s) had other ideas a youngster though and went off the rails in his teenage years, leading to criminal convictions and spells of incarceration.
Then, when he was 28, his father passed away. Taylor decided that at last he would take the path his father had wanted for him and, at an age when some veteran professionals would be already close to retirement, he started working towards becoming a professional fighter.
He was a natural. In short order he won a Golden Gloves boxing competition and racked up some wins in kickboxing. His new path, he says, saved his life. “If it wasn’t for kickboxing I would be dead or in jail,” he shrugs.
When GLORY came to New York, Taylor got a call. He had already set his heart on fighting in the organization anyway, but the chance to fight on the New York card added a whole new dimension. His late father had boxed at Madison Square Garden in 1971 and the chance to follow in his father’s footsteps lit a fire in Taylor’s heart.
The spirt of Taylor Sr. was surely with his son in the ring at GLORY 43 and will have been proud of what he saw. Taylor put on a display of power and ferocity which had the crowd on its feet and going wild.
Being early in his professional career, the technical polish of the seasoned pro was not always present in his work. But the raw power alone was a threat. Huge right hands threatened Ariel Sepulveda (6-3, 1 KO) early and once one found its mark and had a visible effect, Taylor smelled blood.
Having worked diligently for nearly two rounds up to that point, the prospect of a finish sent Taylor into near-frenzy. He battered Sepulveda relentlessly, not so much putting combinations together as working stamina on a heavy bag.
Sepulveda defended as best he could but Taylor was not to be denied. The power-shots landed relentlessly and started finding their way through. Sepulveda went down. He got up, beat the count, got put down and again.
The ten-second clapper sounded. If Taylor could score another knockdown the fight would be over, ending on the three-knockdowns rule. It seemed impossible; Sepulveda clinched Taylor up to stifle his work and ride the clock out.
He would need stronger chains than that to contain Taylor’s animal ferocity though. Taylor simply would not be denied, forcing his way out of the trap and letting his hands go. Suddenly the impossible became possible - in the dying seconds of the round he found the shot he needed and Sepulveda went down.
A win is everything to any fighter. A knockout is the ultimate. But to knock your opponent out in your big-league debut in your home city in the same legendary venue that your late father fought in is a whole other level again. Taylor’s face said it all; he was feeling emotions that mere words can hardly describe.
Joe Taylor def. Ariel Sepulveda, KO, 2.55 R2