He's been in the news of late for not the right reasons, but IBF middleweight champ Jermain Taylor can start the new year on a fresh note, with news that he will defend on Feb. 6 the crown he snagged from Sam Soliman in October.
Taylor, the Arkansas based boxer facing charges for battery, stemming from an August 2014 incident, will face off with slick boxer Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora, in a clash which will top an ESPN “Friday Night Fights” card. ESPN's Dan Rafael broke the news of the waltz, which will take place in Mississippi.
Promoter Lou DiBella handles both fighters, and both are advised by uber advisor Al Haymon. DiBella told TSS he's pleased with the matchmaking, and hurled some ire at some keyboard tappers who are taking to Twitter to critique the event.
“Nobody can tell me who is going to win this fight, and you don't have to dig into your pocket to see it,” he said, while choosing not to address the math of the matter, in how a typical ESPN license fee might be adding up to enough moolah to pay two name boxers. I would not make the assumption that the ESPN boxing budget got a bump, however, though that can't be confirmed, as the brass their are loathe to get into numbers specifics.
The 34-year-old Mora sports a 27-3-2, 9 KOs mark, while Taylor, at age 36, is 33-4-1, 20 KOs. Gennady Golovkin holds the WBA 160 crown, Danny Jacobs has their Triple A belt, while Miguel Cotto has a handle on the WBC version. Andy Lee owns the WBO version as of now.
DiBella took umbrage at anyone suggesting he's a lackey to Haymon, and pointed out that Mora is quite deserving of the shot, and as a not-overly-powerful hitter, those who note that Taylor had exhibited brain trauma in 2009, after a scrap with Arthur Abraham, should be satisfied that the 2000 Olympian isn't being fed to any Golovkin-esque lions.
As for pending legal issues, DiBella told me he's been assured that the date is safe, that Taylor's court-slate will not interfere with him getting ready to defend the title.
The Taylor-Mora winner is supposed to meet top ranked Hassan N'Dam next, according to Rafael.
Me, I see this as a step up for an ESPN main event, and a coin-flipper fight, with me leaning towards the slicker boxing Mora to take the title. What about youse?