Al Bello, Getty Images
Kelly Pavlik celebrates his world middleweight title victory over Jermain Taylor on Saturday night.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Kelly Pavlik knocked out Jermain Taylor in the seventh round to win the world middleweight title on Saturday night.

Far behind on points after absorbing a brutal beating in the second round, Pavlik cornered Taylor and stunned him with a hard right to the jaw, then sent him down with a flurry of lefts and rights.

Pavlik (32-0, 29 knockouts) remained undefeated, while Taylor (27-1-1) lost for the first time.

Taylor entered the fight looking to buff up his image after what some perceived as a lackluster decision over Cory Spinks in May. He did that almost immediately, pounding Pavlik in the second round with a flurry that sent Pavlik down on all fours.

Pavlik survived the round and regained momentum in the third, backing Taylor into a corner and landing several lefts and rights to the head. But Taylor counterpunched effectively, leaving Pavlik bleeding from the nose and mouth by the end of the fifth round.

With the largely pro-Pavlik crowd chanting "Kelly! Kelly! Kelly!" Pavlik slowly gained momentum, though he was still taking most of the punishment until the knockout.