‘Bad Intentions’ Taylor returns

Published 9:03 am Friday, September 12, 2014

Any professional boxing fan in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast can tell you there is a dearth of big-time events in both Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Louisiana has its smaller pro cards in Baton Rouge and Opelousas, but nothing like the days when Clifford “The Black Rhino” Etienne and other big names prowled the ring.

The last nationally televised fight card I can remember was staged in February 2012 at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss. Showtime was in town that night to televise the top bouts, which included Little Rock middleweight Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor fighting in the main event against Minnesota’s Caleb Truax.

Other big-name fighters on the same card included Cuban exile Erislandy Lara fighting Detroit’s Ronald Hearns in a WBC semifinal light middleweight championship eliminator. Yes, Hearns is the son of Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, who was world champion in five different weight classes during a career that spanned from 1977-2006.

In the fight against Truax, Taylor was knocked down in the ninth round but survived and won a 10-round unanimous decision.

I was thinking the Lara-Hearns scrap was going to be strategic fight for all 10 rounds. Boy, was I wrong. Lara knocked out Hearns at 1:34 of the first round. To this day, Lara is known for his movement and quickness and jnot his power. But that is one of the reasons I enjoy watching the game so much because of the ocassional surprises.

Taylor (32-4-1, 20 KOs) returns to the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino on Oct. 8. Taylor takes on Australia’s Sam Soliman (44-11, 18 KOs) for Soliman’s International Boxing Federation Middleweight championship. The top bouts on the card will be televised by ESPN.

It’s almost a daily ritual for me to pull up Boxrec.com on the computer to check out what fights are on tap around the region. When I saw what was in store on Oct. 8, I almost jumped out of my chair. If the television executives feel the card is worth televising, you know it’s got to be a good one.

The remainder of the card at the Beau Rivage has yet to be finalized. But that is OK by me. The beauty of any evening at the fights is the undercard, not just the main event. I always arrive in time to catch all the fights, hoping to see a future champion in the ring performing at his best. I’ve seen some folks who come in late only wanting to see the co-feature and main event bouts. That’s not me. I’m there for the long haul, from the first punch to the last. I enjoy meeting fighters, managers and trainers.

It will be interesting to see how Taylor fares against the 40-year-old Soliman, who won his first major world championship in May with a unanimous decision victory over Germany’s Felix Sturm. Soliman appears to me to be simply a rough and tumble fighter who got lucky when it counted most. He’ll need some more of that good fortune when he meets up with Taylor.

I think the 38-year-old Taylor is well past his prime. He captured the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Organization, World Boxing Association and IBF championship belts with a split decision victory over Bernard Hopkins back in 2005. Taylor also won the rematch with Hopkins five months later.

Taylor was the undisputed middleweight champion in his heyday. Though age might not have caught up with Taylor inside the ring, maybe some legal troubles outside of it have. He was recently freed from jail on bond after Little Rock police detained Taylor in the shooting of his cousin. Taylor faces preliminary charges of domestic battery and aggravated assault from the shooting that happened at Taylor’s suburban Little Rock home. Both charges are felonies.

The Oct. 8 bout in Biloxi might be the last opportunity boxing fans from around the region get the chance to see Taylor in action pending his legal problems.

Let’s hope big-time professional boxing doesn’t leave with Taylor.

Randy Hammons is staff writer for the Daily News. He can be reached at 732-2565 or by email at randy.hammons@thebogalusadailynews.com