Lou DiBella has resigned from his position as Jermain Taylor´s promoter following the former undisputed middleweight champion’s decision to continue to take part in the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic. DiBella says he has concerns about Taylor’s health following his brutal twelfth round knockout loss to Arthur Abraham in October. Following the bout, Taylor was hospitalized in Berlin with severe concussion. He also suffered short term memory loss.
Taylor has lost four of his last five fights and suffered bad knockouts in three of them. In both of the fights he has had in 2009 he was kayoed deep in the twelfth round. Aside from the loss to Abraham, he was knocked out with fourteen seconds left on the clock in challenging Carl Froch for the WBC super-middleweight crown in April.
In 2007 Taylor lost his middleweight crown when he was knocked out in seven rounds by Kelly Pavlik. Four months later he was outpointed in a rematch with Pavlik. His lone victory during this spell was last year’s point’s decision win over fellow American Jeff Lacey. On paper that win looked impressive, but Lacey has been on the slide since losing heavily to Joe Calzaghe in 2006.
Taylor is now scheduled to fight Super Six tournament favorite Andre Ward on April 17th in Oakland, California. In marked contrast to the rapidly declining Taylor, Ward looked sensational taking the WBA super-middleweight title from Mikkel Kessler in November. The 25 year old Ward is undefeated in 21 fights (13 ko´s) and will surely rate his chances of doing a demolition job on Taylor (28 -4-1, 17 ko´s).
Jermain Taylor won the undisputed world middleweight title from the legendary Bernard Hopkins in July 2005, and repeated the feat five months later. At that point it looked like Taylor had all the tools to become a great middleweight champion. Tall for a middleweight at 6´1´´, he was a fast, skilful boxer with good power. But the two fights with Hopkins have proved to be the pinnacle of his career so far. He laboured in his three subsequent title defences, drawing with Winky Wright, outpointing Kassim Ouma, and only beating blown up welterweight Corey Spinks on a split decision before Pavlik relieved him of his crown. Ironically, he started sensationally against Pavlik, flooring the challenger heavily in the second and coming within inches of stopping him.
Lou DiBella said in an interview last Friday;
“It is with a heavy heart, but strong conviction, that I will excuse myself and DiBella Entertainment as Jermain’s promoter. Jermain’s career has been outstanding, and it has been a pleasure and honour to promote him. His victories against Bernard Hopkins remain the highlights of my career as a promoter. Jermain is not only a great fighter, but a good and decent man with a wonderful family. It is out of genuine concern for him and his family that I am compelled to make this decision. I informed him, as I do all my contracted fighters that my goal was to help him secure financial stability for his family, maximize his potential, and leave our unforgiving sport with his health intact. It is my belief that the continuation of Jermain’s career as an active fighter places him at unnecessary risk. While he is undoubtedly capable of prevailing in future bouts, I cannot, in conscience, remain involved given my assessment of such risk. I wish Jermain all the best in his future endeavors. All of us at DiBella Entertainment hold Jermain close to our hearts and consider him and his family part of our family. We wish him Godspeed and continued health.”
DiBella is currently the promoter of former IBF junior-welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi and current WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto.
In 2005, DiBella´s fighter, the then IBF lightweight champion Leavander Johnson was knocked out in the 11th round by Jesus Chavez. Johnson collapsed in his dressing room, and died of a brain injury in hospital a week later. He was 35.
“Losing Leavander was a profound experience for me and, if not for Leavander’s family encouraging me to stay in, I had serious thoughts of leaving the game. Any time you have that kind of loss or experience, I’m sure it impacts you. The one thing I want people to understand is that this comes out of a genuine affection for Jermain and that I care deeply about him and do not want to see him fight anymore.”
Boxing is a fantastic, exciting sport; but it is just that – a sport. Nobody wants to a see a fighter that’s too brave for his own good get seriously hurt in the ring. Showtime TV must now follow Lou DiBella´s lead and remove Jermain Taylor from the Super Six series, even if they have to pay him substantial compensation as a result. DiBella is walking away from a fortune by cutting his promotional ties with Taylor. If he can lose money by doing the right thing, then Showtime can.
And the WBA should not sanction the fight. No one who has suffered two straight KO losses should ever be in a position to challenge for a world title.
Fight odds; Andre Ward 1/6, Jermain Taylor 7/2 William Hill