Taylor and Cayo put on a show in the main event of the ESPN Friday Night Fights telecast.
Ringside Report by John Archibald, Resolution Sports
Three separate fights essentially went down in what was a thrilling main event on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, with Emmanuel Taylor (17-0, 12 KOs) battling back to earn an eighth round stoppage over a very game Victor Cayo (31-4, 22 KOs). Taylor controlled the early going of this encounter, only to see Cayo take over the middle rounds before a superb finish closed the book on this one.
Cayo came out working the body early and often, a strategy that definitely paid dividends over the middle phase of this bout. He used his slick style to circle around a sternly planted Taylor, who tried to pick his spots so he could unleash his powerful hands. The Maryland native also showed solid defense, keeping his hands high and attacking with precision in the type of manner that would have made former world champion Winky Wright proud. In the second frame, Taylor caught Cayo with a flush right hand that rocked him, and he immediately began to unload a flurry of ill-willed blows. However, Cayo showed true grit and an even better chin to somehow survive without tasting the canvas.
Over the next few rounds, Taylor seemed to be really breaking down Cayo, and it looked like a stoppage was a more of a question of when rather than if. However, Cayo showed phenomenal fitness and continue to throw a heavy volume of punches, and his quickness appeared to start giving Taylor some problems in the fifth frame. Late in the round, Cayo timed a perfect counter overhand left that sent Taylor backwards and to the canvas. While the Maryland native was able to quickly return to his feet, a new fight had clearly broken out.
Cayo had a new sense of momentum after that knockdown, and his early body work had truly begun to make things difficult for Taylor. Cayo continued to show off his chin, though, absorbing a thunderous left hook midway through the sixth round and somehow staying planted on his feet. At the same time, Cayo started slipping some shots through what had earlier been an unbreakable guard of Taylor. He also focused on more body work after it was obvious that the ribs of his opposition were significantly damaged, and, by all reports, Cayo was in control by the end of the seventh frame.
When the bell sounded to begin the eighth round, Taylor came out with a new sense of urgency, knowing he needed to battle his way back into the fight. He immediately walked down Cayo and unloaded a brutal left hand that had him rocked. He then followed up with a right cross that backed his opponent into the corner and quickly exploded on him, finally sending the gritty Dominican violently to the canvas. Showing amazing will, Cayo miraculously stumbled back his feet, and he was allowed to continue. However, that would be short-lived. Sensing the blood in the water, Taylor swarmed him until referee Benjy Esteves was forced to step in and end the fight.
The official time of the stoppage came at 1:11 of the eighth frame.