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Jermain Taylor Returns to Ring, Looks Less Terrible Than Sam Soliman

Well, that happened.

Jermain “I Got Up!” Taylor is a Middleweight champion once again. He defeated Sam “I Like This Canvas” Soliman by unanimous decision in the main event of a special edition of Friday Night Fights on ESPN2. That’s the good news, I guess.

The bad news was that this fight was the perfect send off to a night that can best be described as “what the hell did I just watch?”

Going into the fight, the concern was that Taylor, who seems to have gone completely sideways, would be risking his health by entering the ring again. Despite several nasty knockout losses, a brain bleed, bizarre behavior and shooting his own relatives, Taylor was awarded a crack at the IBF Middleweight title.

Obviously, the title holds little merit. Miguel Cotto is the true Middleweight champ. GGG is the best fighter in the division. But Taylor has a piece of the belt, and in turn, will earn another big fight, for better or worse.

The reality was that while everyone focused their concern on Taylor’s well-being, it was 78-year-old Sam Soliman that we should’ve been worried about. Soliman started the fight doing what he normally does–he kept his opponent off balance and threw the occasional lead right before attempting to wrestle his man to the floor like some weird octopus.

The first few rounds were simply hideous, with both fighters posturing and neither fighter throwing punches. Things would get weird after that.

Taylor looked simply dreadful. He constantly threw a one-two that missed. Over and over again. Soliman seemed to be in control of the fight before getting hit with a decent shot at the end of the fifth round that seemed to bother him. The effects lingered, as he was knocked down in the sixth. And then knocked down in the 7th. And the 8th. And the 9th.

These were not monster punches dropping him, but rather glancing blows or even jabs that were sending him sprawling to the mat like GGG was hitting him in the face with an anvil. It was excruciating to watch. It was an embarrassment, a pathetic fight that is all the evidence you need when anyone asks “what’s so bad about alphabet belts?”

I guess you could reward Soliman for finishing the fight. He was in obvious pain, but he toughed it out. However, it appeared that if Taylor had even any semblance of an offensive attack, he could have easily stopped him. He doesn’t, and the fight went the distance. The judges scored the bout for Taylor 116-111, 115-109 and 116-109.

Round By Round Boxing had it 117-107 for Taylor, with 12 yawns and several agonized groans.

You’d think that this fight would have won for “epic shit show of the night,” but no sir. The winner of that prestigious award went to the guy who was hit with a questionably low blow and then proceeded to act as if someone had surgically castrated him with a rusty spork. Somewhere, he’s lying on a floor waiting for the blood to rush back to his balls.

Jermain Taylor didn’t die tonight. That’s a good thing. I’m trying to think of anything else positive to come from it. If I think of something, I’ll let you know. For now, we can look forward to the Golovkin vs. Marco Antonio Rubio fight and try to forget this evening ever happened.

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