Tuesday, 07 October 2014 15:24

This Week in Boxing: Jermain Taylor Rises Again?

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Another mark against boxing’s legitimacy will come this Wednesday when faded former titlist, Jermain Taylor, squares off with IBF middleweight champion, Sam Soliman (44-11) in Biloxi, Mississippi.

It has been nearly five years since boxing fans have seen Taylor (32-4) in a significant fight but, surprisingly, he will have an opportunity to regain a share of the middleweight title in spite of many factors which clearly indicate that he is undeserving.

Once the recognized champion at 160lbs, after twice defeating the legendary Bernard Hopkins, Jermain saw his reign come to an end after a knockout loss to Kelly Pavlik in 2007.

Taylor then suffered consecutive knockout losses to Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham in a 2009 super middleweight tournament, after which he was urged to retire by many around him, including his promoter, Lou DiBella.

Rather than heeding the advice of his handlers, Taylor opted to return to boxing in 2011, after a two-year sabbatical. Since resuming his career, Taylor has scored victories over four nondescript opponents. Not surprisingly, the former champion’s recent resume has gotten him little recognition from the mainstream boxing public, but neither fans nor media sanction fights. Enter the IBF, which presently ranks Taylor 15th among middleweights, yet has seen fit to sanction a contest with its 160lb champion, Soliman.

This situation would seem to have advisor, Al Haymon’s fingerprints all over it.

Haymon, who controls many of boxing’s biggest stars, including Taylor, has become one of the most influential people in the sport. He has a track record of lining up low-risk opportunities for his clients, such as this one for Taylor, against the light hitting Sam Soliman.

Jermain need not wait until his post-fight interview for the ritualistic “thanks to Al Haymon” routine in this case.

Greener Pastures for Canelo.......

In contrast to a former middleweight champion trying to regain past glory (Taylor), comes the possibility of a future contender in the 160lb division. As part of his continued quest to take on all comers, Canelo Alvarez (44-1-1) has changed television networks, from Showtime to HBO; a move that will likely usher in his middleweight career.

With the exception of his loss to Floyd Mayweather, the Mexican star has all but cleaned out the super welterweight division, with wins over Austin Trout, Alfredo Angulo and Erislandy Lara. The move to HBO is almost certainly with an eye towards the network’s substantial, contracted middleweight stable, which includes champions Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin. HBO can also offer a good deal of name recognition among former titlist and contenders, Sergio Martinez, Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray, respectively.

Alvarez, who had run out of 154lb competition under his former Showtime/Golden Boy network and promoter relationship, saw an opportunity with the recent reconciliation of Golden Boy President, Oscar De La Hoya and HBO.

Canelo will remain with Golden Boy, as their primary pay-per-view star, but with many more potentially high profile opponents.

The move also solidifies HBO, which has retained Manny Pacquaio and re-established relationships with Bernard Hopkins and Miguel Cotto, as the network leader for premium boxing events.

Fans are already clamoring for an Alvarez/Cotto meeting.
Mike Nashed

I am 35 years old and was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.  I studied journalism at Boston University, but eventually graduated with a degree in the sciences.  

Presently, I work in biotechnology and am also an entrepreneur with a business that specializes in sports entertainment.

I particularly enjoy boxing because, of all major sports, it offers the most poignant moments of truth – “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

I presently write for multiple online publications, including BoxRec News, and am typically in attendance for most major US boxing events and believe that my strongest area of understanding is of the business side of boxing.

Increasingly, in recent years, networks and promoters have directed the sport.  This aspect is sometimes overlooked, however, I believe that one must have a grasp of the various business relationships/rifts in order to truly understand boxing.

Though complicated, it’s a great sport.

I can be reached at mike@bostonboxoffice.com. Also, follow me on Twitter at @mikenashed.