Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions says that Peter Quillin will indeed return for his first WBO middleweight title defense on February 9, as part of the Danny Garcia vs Zab Judah undercard at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, live on Showtime.
That part is fine news, as Quillin is a rising star in the division and had a real breakout fight against Hassan N'dam in late October. Here's the bad news: Schaefer says the opponent is probably going to be Jermain Taylor.
Taylor (31-4-1, 19 KO) is of course the former undisputed champion of the division, the man who knocked off Bernard Hopkins back in 2005. At one point, Taylor was one of the hottest names in boxing.
But time has not been kind, and today the 34-year-old Arkansas native is a shell of the fighter he was at his peak. A string of KO losses to Kelly Pavlik, Carl Froch, and Arthur Abraham, followed by an extended break from the sport, have seen Taylor come back over the last year a seriously different fighter, one very obviously past his time as a champion, or even a serious contender.
After leaving the sport following his October 2009 KO loss to Arthur Abraham -- a scary, violent, one-punch knockout -- Taylor returned in December 2011 to face Jessie Nicklow, a handy club fighter. Taylor mostly dominated, and got the win with a bit of an early stoppage by referee Ray Corona. It wasn't a bad performance, necessarily, but at best, he was very rusty.
He returned in April, facing Minnesota's Caleb Truax in another "special" ShoBox broadcast. Taylor again won most of the fight fairly handily, but he suffered a scare when Truax floored him in the ninth round. Taylor survived that and the 10th round, winning a decision. His last fight came on October 12, when he beat welterweight stepping stone Raul Munoz in two rounds. That fight wasn't even aired on Showtime, though it took place on a Showtime-televised card.
I was a Jermain Taylor fan for a long time, and I still am to some degree. He was a good fighter, but the time is gone. Boxing will never stop having these fights, where "young lions" are fed the decaying remains of an "old warrior," and promoters bullshit about how dangerous a fight it is, like Quillin against Winky Wright earlier this year.
It's just not a good fight. There is the argument that, "Oh, well, Jermain Taylor has a name, and Peter Quillin will be a star after this." It's the same nonsense we heard defending Quillin against Winky; it wasn't true then, and isn't true now. Everyone who cares knows exactly what this fight is, and these aged fighters aren't greeted with, "I remember him! I gotta see that fight!" from the casual audience who might recall their name. It's a lot more, "Wow, that guy's still fighting? How old is he?"
There won't be a rush to ticket windows or TV sets to see Jermain Taylor get laid out by Peter Quillin, and that's what basically everyone who does tune in is going to be expecting to see. Most of them, it should be added, won't want to see it. Boxing is violent and can be a little scary to watch at times, but that doesn't mean a fight like this, where that will be expected, should be made.