The 40 year old freshly crowned IBF middleweight titleholder Sam Soliman and the 36 year old former undisputed champion Jermain Taylor will be heading up the Beau Rivage fight card October 8th down in the Biloxi mud flats of Mississippi. That’s a mid-work week Wednesday for a proper alert in this under the radar bout.
Wow, where to start with this bout that had all the nuance of an unexpected thunderclap bolt of lightning from clear blue skies when it was announced? How Taylor managed to line up a new set of suits to bankroll this nonstandard title challenge is worthy of a chapter in book about the seedy underpinnings of boxing. He is currently out on bail after a shooting altercation with his cousin in Arkansas that you can catch up with here:
As to the fight, we can start with the formidable size advantage Taylor will hold assuming he is able to drop 40 lbs from his substantial 200 lb frame in the 7 weeks from the time of his arrest. Soliman is not a big fighter in spite of winning the Aussie cruiserweight title in only his 2nd pro bout. What he is is something of a training fanatic, always being in fantastic condition for his light punching but very busy box and move style. I’m guessing Taylor will weigh 180-185 lbs come fight night to Sam’s 165-170 lbs, but the styles guarantee this bout won’t be decided on size.
Taylor can punch some and used to a solid boxer, but I haven’t seen his most recent reincarnation. His past weakness has proven to be his stamina usually interrelated to his chin. Soliman can exploit his stamina, but with a lowly 30% KO ratio, he’s not likely to put a dent in the Taylor chin. The biggest advantage Taylor holds is the home style environs of Mississippi. Soliman lost a widely disparaged decision against 185 lb Winky Wright 9 years ago that American fans rightly booed then. Wright was going into the Bernard Hopkins title challenge that the suits could hardly jeopardize, but they foolishly tried their best by scheduling Soliman without knowing his capabilities.
While I wish Jermain all the best after his recent altercation and rough years in the backwater ports, I suspect this fight will be quickly forgotten, unless…
…Because of the ass backward backroom scoring method boxing uses for decisions, especially “hometown decisions,” Taylor is in this hunt in spite of being well past his best. I expect Soliman to largely outbox and befuddle Taylor, but whether Sam gets proper credit is a whole ‘nother ball of wax.
We’ll see soon enough.