Jermain Taylor, now 35, will make his return to the ring on Saturday, December 14, when he faces Juan Carlos Candelo in San Antonio on the Showtime-televised Broner vs Maidana undercard, Richard Schaefer announced today on a conference call with media.
Taylor (31-4-1, 19 KO) hasn't fought since an October 2012 win over overmatched and undersized club fighter Raul Munoz, a KO-2 that wasn't even televised on a card that Showtime did broadcast. Prior to that, the former middleweight champ scored a pair of ShoBox wins over Jessie Nicklow and Caleb Truax. He wasn't exactly impressive in either fight, and had scares in each of them.
The concern about Taylor is that he basically can't do anything in the ring but get hurt at this point. He's been brutally stopped by Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham in his last two notable fights. His peak was celebrated, with two (debated) wins over Bernard Hopkins at 160 pounds, but it was also brief and crashed hard with a pair of losses to Kelly Pavlik.
Taylor hasn't shown good punch resistance in years now, and really, his last win over a true top fighter came in 2005, when he beat Hopkins for the second time. After that, he drew with Winky Wright, then beat Kassim Ouma and Cory Spinks (who was a contender, but at 154, not 160), and also beat a washed-out Jeff Lacy in 2008.
It's not so much that there aren't a lot of worse fighters in the world than Taylor still is, because there are. And really, his fighting isn't some big crime. Fighters in more dangerous shape fight all the time. That's just how the sport is. If a guy can pass a physical, he is free to take the risk.
The reason we react to news that Taylor is fighting is that we're very familiar with Taylor's case. There are club fighters who aren't nearly as good and have taken more punishment in more fights, and they fight all the time, and nobody bats an eye. But we don't see them. It's just natural to have a reaction to what you know and not what you don't. We've seen Taylor smashed by Abraham and worn out by Froch and Pavlik. We've seen him suffer moments of vulnerability against Truax and Nicklow, two guys who by all rights shouldn't have been a problem for him.
Candelo (32-12-4, 21 KO) last fought in November 2012 and was stopped by Fernando Guerrero in six rounds. He generally loses to his better foes and beats lesser opposition, but he's a competent veteran fighter and former title challenger, though that was over 10 years ago in the junior middleweight division, when he lost to Winky Wright, who held the IBF belt at the time. He's 39 years old and has been stopped just twice (the other was by Kassim Ouma). Is it really any worse that Taylor is fighting than it is that Candelo is fighting? I don't know. I haven't seen enough of Candelo's fight.
So what I'm saying is, whatever. Golden Boy will tell you this is a big fight for a big card and it's just great that Jermain Taylor is back, but you know the score. You've seen boxing. You know what it is.