King exiled by Bad Intentions

By Steve Bateson on October 9, 2014
Jermain Taylor is on top of the world once again after defeating Sam Soliman

Jermain Taylor shocked the world and silenced his critics by becoming the new IBF Middleweight Champion last night, recording a unanimous decision over the extremely courageous Sam Soliman at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. ESPN2 screened live.

Taylor (who suffered a bleed on the brain after a 2012 KO defeat to Arthur Abraham) took advantage of a serious leg injury to his opponent, dropping him four times en route to a verdict that was never in doubt after seven rounds.

In the first half of the fight it was a scrappy affair, neither fighter able to land many clean punches or establish control, and many observers believed Soliman to be edging it on the scorecards. Taylor was neglectful of his jab and allowed Soliman’s unorthodox style to pose him problems but that all changed in the second half of the contest.

In the seventh round a straight left jab from Taylor knocked Soliman backwards and down onto the canvass, his knee seemingly jarring underneath his own bodyweight as he fell, and although he beat the count comfortably is was glaringly obvious that he was no longer in control of his balance.

Every time a punch landed from Taylor it became a task for Soliman to remain upright and his defence was starting to leak badly. The Australian champion hit the canvass three more times before the final bell but it is a huge testament to his heart and bravery that he was able to see the conclusion.

It is mere consolation for the former champion but Soliman can hold his head high after this warrior-esque display whilst Jermain Taylor can now look forward to future nights with the best that the 160lbs division has to offer.

Many believed Taylor should never have been granted a license, the brain bleed and his ongoing legal issues the reason, or a title shot (4-0 against sub-level opposition since his last big fight)but the fact remains that he was granted the opportunity and he seized it with both hands.

The former Undisputed champion is once again a name in the Middleweight division and with the influential Al Haymon managing his affairs we can expect bigger tests and possible unification bouts for the Arkansas fighter in the coming months. We might be seeing the same fighter who ended the great reign of Bernard Hopkins but Taylor still has something to offer.

The scorecards read: 116-111; 115-109 & 116-109 in favour of the Jermain Taylor (now 33-4-1 with 20KO’s).

In the co-main event, Andre Dirrell took another step back towards world title contention with a fourth round destruction over the very game Nick Brinson.

Dirrell’s superiority was obvious from the outset but at times he was guilty of coasting, slowly moving himself through the gears, but when he found an opportunity to let his hands go he exploded on his opponent with debilitating effect.

Brinson showed no fear as he came forward and teed off with punches, even surprising Dirrell with a huge right hand at the end of round number 3, but it was his over eagerness to pull off the upset that ultimately cost him.

The “Machinegun” met Dirrell head on in the centre of the ring and tried to engage in a firefight. However, his attempted wide hook was still locked in the chamber as Dirrell unleashed a devastating short left hook to the jaw. Brinson, to his credit, didn’t go down but his eyes rolled back in the head and he staggered back to the corner. The referee could have waved it off there but he allowed Dirrell to move in and finish the job with a barrage of punches.

Dirrell (now 23-1-16 KO’s) has got to be looking to step up his level of competition again in his next outing (mooted for December) because it is plain to see that he still has plenty offer in the upper echelons of the 168lbs division. His brother Anthony (the WBC Champion) may be off-limits but Carl Froch (the only man to defeat Dirrell) , George Groves, Arthur Abraham and Andre Ward are not. I’d expect Dirrell to be contesting world championships by this time next year.

It took just over a minute for hard-hitting Light Heavy Ahmed Elbiali (now 8-1 with 7 KO’s) to add another stoppage to his record, dropping Dakota Dawson twice on his way to an easy KO victory.

Dawson looked over-matched from the get go (perhaps a mistake in moving down in weight) and it took just fifty seconds for him to meet the canvass, feeling the full force of a straight right hand from his Egyptian opponent. Dawson beat the count but he was on the floor again only moments later after a quick head-body combination. This time he was unable to answer the referee’s ten.

No judgement can be made on Elbiali just yet, he needs sterner tests, but he is certainly fun to watch for boxing fans.

Hard-punching Cuban; Carlos Velasquez scored a technical knockout victory over Jean Javier Sotelo in very bizarre circumstances. Velaquez (now 18-1 with 12 KO’s) unintentionally caught his Colombian opponent below the belt line in the 2nd round and after the mandatory 5 minute rest period Sotelo was unable to continue with the fight. Velasquez will take the victory and question marks will be asked about the desire of his opponent, a strange and disappointing end to this contest.

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Jermain Taylor vs. Sam Soliman

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