Former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor only had problems with an early right hand injury tonight, but his TKO-8 stoppage win over Jessie Nicklow definitely came on an early hook from referee Rey Corona.
Taylor (29-4-1, 18 KO) was competing for the first time in over two years, and for the first time as a middleweight in over four years, and had little trouble with the undersized and overmatched Nicklow (22-3-3, 8 KO). He largely dominated the fight with his jab, never getting Nicklow close to stopped before Corona stepped in after a right hand in the eighth round, drawing the fury of Nicklow, who was greatly upset that he was stopped there, and a "bullshit" chant from the crowd in California.
It's impossible to tell how far back Taylor really is until he fights someone better, but this was a key step that had to be done. Nicklow did the job he was signed up to do -- he made it a fight, he gave Taylor rounds, and he was never in any danger of winning the fight.
One notable point of the fight came after the sixth round, when Taylor blatantly fouled Nicklow with a very late shot as the referee stepped between them after the bell. After the fight, Taylor apologized for the late blow.
It's also worth noting that after the fight, via Twitter, Taylor's promoter Lou DiBella said, "That was not a good stoppage. Jermain would have stopped him shortly. Too bad they didn’t give Nicklow the opportunity for a clean result."