Former middleweight king Jermain ‘Bad Intentions’ Taylor is back on top of the world seven years on from losing his unified titles to Kelly Pavlik.
The 36 year-old, who ended Bernard Hopkins’ ten-year reign in 2005, fought off calls for his retirement following a brain bleed in 2009 – along with a recent shooting charge, to take the IBF belt from Sam Soliman on Wednesday.
Soliman, 40, fought the last half of the fight with an injured knee, which Taylor took full advantage of, dropping the Australian four times in total from round seven onwards to take a 116-109, 115-109, 116-111 victory in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Some were questioning whether Taylor should have even been allowed to box for a world title given the fact that the American is on $25,000 bail for shooting his cousin, although the new champion wouldn’t let it dampen his celebrations.
“I heard it before now I’m hearing it again,” a dismissive Taylor told ESPN after the fight.
On Soliman giving his all despite the ailimenit, Taylor added: “He s a warrior. He did the same thing that I would have done.”
Upon losing his red belt in the very first defense, having ripped it away from Felix Sturm so impressively in May, a gracious Soliman added: “No excuses. If he wasn’t a good fighter then I would have been able to take the title back home to Australia. The knee was fresh during the fight. It wasn’t because of the knee. It was because of the performance of Jermain.”
ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas could not help but bring up the fact that Taylor has his license revoked in 2009 as a scan revealed a bleed on his brain following his bad knockout defeat to Arthur Abraham. It was over two years before Taylor would fight again after receiving his license to box in August 2011, although Atlas raised serious questions prior the broadcast of the Beau Rivage Resort headline bout.
“No matter what happens here, if I’m training Taylor and he had a brain bleed, I’m not letting him fight again,” said Atlas.
“Once the brain is compromised, I don’t think you should be in the ring taking punches ever again. Once somebody sustains that kind of injury, I’m not having them get in the ring again.”
With his new title belt firmly strapped around his waist, a defiant Taylor vowed to fight on: “I want whomever (my advisor) Al Haymon wants. I never dodged anyone in my whole career.”
All that will defend on the outcome of the shooting charge Taylor currently faces, with a court case reportedly scheduled for next week.
On the undercard, Andre Dirrell and BJ Flores had no trouble overcoming their opponents as they stopped Nick Brinson and Kevin Engel is four and three rounds respectively.
Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay for tweets of upcoming news on WBN