‘The show must go on’ is that old show biz adage, accepted by crusty pros who understand that just about no matter the circumstance, short of a nuclear catastrophe or something similar, the curtain must rise, the clowns must cavort, the marks must be seperated from their green notes. Because mortgage note holders don’t much care if you have a really good excuse not to pay that month…they want their danged moolah.
We have an example of this adage popping up on Oct. 8, when accused cousin-shooter Jermain Taylor gloves up against Aussie Sam Soliman, who holds the IBF middleweight title. Because of his lengthy resume and name recognition, the past his prime Taylor was awarded this assignment, and the reaction to the match has been basically undisputed. People either say Huh? or Hell no!
But the ex middleweight champ Taylor has a name, has a top tier advisor making calls on his behalf, and still has a willingness to fight. If he passes medicals, and he’s had a mountain of them, then the man is going to do what the man is going to do.
But jeeze, when word dropped that Taylor had been arrested for shooting his own cousin at the Taylor home, last Tuesday, in a Little Rock, Arkansas suburb, the opportunity to pull the plug on this squareoff seemed to be ripe.
But no; the boxer was detained, and released on a low bond, and made it clear that he wants to face off with Soliman. I’m not being flippant when I say it makes sense for the man if he’s looking for things to do to take your mind off being tagged with domestic battery and aggravated assault charges. Maybe that’s just me looking on the bright side. I actually am pretty certain that JT, who just turned 36, makes it through the fight with the light-hitting Aussie, who is himself 41 in November, and who knows, he just might win. Taylor at 85% of his 2004 self might beat today’s Soliman. ESPN is the lucky outlet saddled with, er, lucky enough to present the scrap, which will unfold in a Mississippi.
Here is the release which went out today, announcing the bout officially, and no, no mention of the extracurricular target practice was mentioned. This is also the shortest quote I’ve ever seen by Lou DiBella in a release, for whatever that’s worth:
IBF MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP ANNOUNCED FOR OCTOBER 8TH
SAM SOLIMAN PUTS HIS IBF MIDDLEWEIGHT CROWN ON THE LINE AGAINST FORMER UNDISPUTED CHAMPION JERMAIN TAYLOR IN MAIN EVENT
TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH
New York, NY (9/3/14) – On Wednesday, October 8, DiBella Entertainment and Warriors Boxing, in association with Soliman Stanley Promotions, will stage an exciting night of boxing with IBF middleweight champion “King” Sam Soliman (44-11, 18KO’s) defending his crown against former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor (32-4-1, 20KO’s) in the main event. The card will take place at the beautiful Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, in Biloxi, Mississippi.
A national hero in his native Australia, Soliman, the longtime top-rated contender, captured the IBF middleweight crown with a dominant 12-round unanimous decision over reigning champion Felix Sturm, in Sturm’s backyard this past May. Soliman had previously taken Sturm’s belt the year before via close unanimous decision, only to see the verdict changed to a ‘No Contest’ when Soliman tested positive for a banned substance. The Australian vehemently denied the failed test results and promised to beat Sturm even easier if they fought again. He did exactly that when the two met in their eagerly anticipated rematch. Soliman is currently riding a nine-bout winning streak, dating back to 2009, with his last defeat coming at the hands of then-WBA world super middleweight champion Anthony Mundine in May 2008.
“I’m going to be stepping into the ring against a former world middleweight champion and super middleweight contender, who is chasing a comeback dream,” said Soliman. “Jermain Taylor has nothing to lose, and that makes him a very dangerous opponent. I know how dangerous that mindset is. It’s the same ‘all or nothing’ approach that I’ve taken into my last 10 fights to win the title. I’m bringing the same intensity to my preparation for this fight. It has taken me 20 hard years to get to where I am. Being a world champion is a special feeling, and one I plan on keeping. This is my first title defense, and I’m leaving no stone unturned to make sure it’s not my last.”
In 2005, Jermain Taylor was on top of the boxing world, having defeated longtime undisputed middleweight champion and future Hall-of-Famer Bernard Hopkins, not once but twice in the same year. Fast forward nine years later and the 36-year-old Taylor will be getting another crack at reclaiming a piece of the coveted middleweight world championship when he takes on the IBF titlist Soliman.
Following a two-year hiatus from the ring in the wake of back-to-back losses in 2009 while campaigning at super middleweight, Taylor returned to the division where he once reigned supreme and rejoined forces with trainer Pat Burns. Since his return, Taylor, now rated #8 by the WBC and #15 by the IBF, has looked better and better with each outing, going 4-0 thus far in his comeback, with three wins by knockout. The only opponent to go the distance with Taylor during his comeback was then-undefeated and now fellow top-rated middleweight contender Caleb Truax (24-1-2, 14KO’s). Taylor is relishing the opportunity to once again prove that he is one of the best 160lb. fighters in the world.
“Things have come full circle for me. I have another shot to become a world champion and I’m not going to let this opportunity pass by without being victorious,” said Taylor. “I’ve made a bunch of mistakes in boxing, losing to fighters I shouldn’t have lost to because of a lack of training, but I’m ready to clear all that up. With hard work and dedication, I will be 110 percent ready. I think Sam Soliman is a great fighter. He’s had a great career and he comes to fight, but I have to go in there and beat the hell out of him.”
“October 8 will bring a highly competitive middleweight championship matchup when former undisputed champion Jermain Taylor attempts to take the IBF title from a crafty reborn Sam Soliman,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment.
“I am thrilled to be co-promoting this event with my dear friend Lou DiBella,” said Leon Margules, President of Warriors Boxing & Promotions, LLC. “The implications for the winner of this bout are very important to the current boxing landscape and to the legacies of Sam Soliman and Jermain Taylor.”
“When I was approached regarding this bout, Kurt and Team Soliman looked at it very carefully as we knew of Lou DiBella and Leon Margules by reputation,” said David Stanley, of Soliman Stanley Promotions. “We knew that they are boxing people who look after the interests of their fighters first. This aligned with our values, and Kurt Emhoff and I have enjoyed the process of working with Warriors Boxing and DiBella Entertainment to deliver an international level event with an excellent IBF world middleweight title bout for the headliner.”
“We are honored to bring championship boxing back to Biloxi with this much-anticipated middleweight title fight at Beau Rivage,” said George P. Corchis, Jr., President and Chief Operating Officer of MGM Resorts Southern Operations. “We look forward to these two world-class athletes putting on a great show at MGM Resort’s world-class facility on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
Tickets go on sale Friday, September 5, 9:00am CT, and are priced at $89.95, $69.95, $49.95 and $29.95, plus tax and service charges, and can be purchased at the Beau Rivage Theatre box office, or through any Ticketmaster outlet or online at Ticketmaster.com. Doorsopen at 4:45pm, with the first bout scheduled for 5:30pm.