Jermain Taylor back in the title picture


Ty Wright

Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor (32-4-1, 20 KOs), will once again be fighting for the middleweight championship of the world when he squares off with Sam Soliman (44-11, 18 KOs). on Wednesday, Oct. 8 for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title.

With Tim McGraw’s “Live like you were Dying” playing through the gym speakers at Central Florida Boxing in Ocala, Fl, former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor shadow boxes excitedly, anxious to be back inside the ropes after a few tough losses, and a stretch of inactivity that had him wondering if he would ever return to boxing.

“It’s a blessing, I thank God,” said Taylor. “All the times I’ve had to win championships, and I didn’t take them as serious as I should…this time around I’m just happy to get back into the ring.”

Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor (32-4-1, 20 KO’s), will once again be fighting for the middleweight championship of the world when he squares off with Sam Soliman (44-11, 18 KO’s). on Wednesday, Oct. 8 for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title.

Taylor was among boxing’s pound for pound best throughout the 2000s. He holds two decision wins over future hall of famer and current light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, who he beat to become the lineal middleweight champion.

However, Taylor’s career would go south. He suffered the first loss of his career when he was knocked out by Kelly Pavlik in 2007. He would also lose the rematch to Pavlik. He decided to move up to super middleweight (168 pounds) and fought Carl Froch for the WBC world title. Froch would go on to win by 12th round knockout.

His next fight was against Arthur Abraham in his opening bout of the Super Six super middleweight tournament on Oct. 17, 2009, in Germany. Taylor would suffer his second consecutive 12th round knockout, a blow that would sideline him for over two years.

“After Berlin, I said it’s whatever, whatever comes is whatever comes,” said Taylor. “But then I started missing boxing. I started shadow boxing, hitting the bags, started hitting the weights and said what else am I going to do? So I got back on my grind, and look at me now, I got another title shot.”

Taylor returned to the ring in December of 2011, and has won four straight fights in his comeback. He has also returned to former trainer Pat Burns, with whom he has celebrated the most success throughout his career.

“Even though he won those four fights, this time I have seen such a dedication, such hard work, no belly-aching,” said Burns. “He’s so focused…if he takes into the fight what he’s been doing in training, he is going to come back and recapture the IBF middleweight title.”

Taylor’s opponent Sam Soliman, 40, of Australia, won the IBF title in his last fight in May by unanimous decision over Felix Sturm in Germany. The win was Soliman’s second in 15 months over Sturm, who lost a unanimous decision to Soliman in February 2013. However, the result was switched to a no-contest after Soliman tested positive for a banned substance.

In victory over Sturm, Soliman won his first major title belt, and his ninth consecutive victory.

Taylor knows that his legacy is on the line from here on out, and to become the two-time middleweight champion would secure his place in boxing history.

“This fight means everything to me, I got another chance,” said Taylor. “I’m back with Pat Burns, we’re back training hard, we’re hungry, I got some wins under my belt. When I look back, I’ll say we got that championship back.”