The comeback double-header featuring Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell is headed to the Morongo Casino Resort in Cabazon, Calif., which will air December 30 as a "special" version of Showtime's ShoBox series.
Taylor (28-4-1, 17 KO) will face Maryland club fighter Jessie Nicklow (22-2-3, 8 KO) in the first fight for the former middleweight champion since October 2009, when he was violently knocked out in the 12th round by Arthur Abraham.
Dirrell (19-1, 13 KO) will take on Darryl Cunningham (24-2, 10 KO) in the other headline fight of the evening, which means that a guy from Flint and a guy from Detroit will be fighting each other in a city halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. Cunningham, 37, was the man who was set to face Kelly Pavlik on ShoBox in August, so I think it's kind of a feel-good story that he'll still get his shot on TV this year.
Dirrell's last fight also came against Abraham, in March 2010, when he was knocked out by a late shot from Abraham, who was disqualified. Following their fights with Abraham, both pulled out of the Super Six, though for very different reasons. (More on that in a minute.)
Neither fight is exactly marquee stuff, and if I wanted to start a whole conversation about the danger of either man's well-being, I might point out that both were set to come back a few months ago, but it was repeatedly delayed on both sides, and that it sure seems convenient that as soon as the Super Six ends, here come these two guys back into boxing, but I won't do that.
I'll just say that I think without the Super Six continuing on, both of these guys probably would have already been back in the ring. Taylor was re-licensed and examined in Nevada a short while back, and questions about the severity of any condition Dirrell may have had have been raised repeatedly, and Team Dirrell did itself no favors with their now-infamous handling of questions on Fight Camp 360:
Taylor is difficult to judge, because it's a legit commission that examined him and found no reason to not give him a new license. And lots of guys have been knocked out bad and fought on and on and on, but we didn't see it on TV. I can't really judge the Taylor situation right now without it being some personal fear of seeing something bad happen, which doesn't take into account much by way of facts.
But I'll just say I have no issues with Dirrell coming back, and no fear that he's in any more danger than any boxer is, and leave it at that.