In a rather heavy bit of news, promoter Lou DiBella has decided to split with former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, because Taylor intends to fight on in the Super Six World Boxing Classic.
DiBella's official statement is as follows:
"I have just been informed though numerous press reports that Jermain Taylor has elected to continue his participation in The Super Six: World Boxing Classic tournament, and will face Andre Ward in April. It is with a heavy heart, but strong conviction, that I will recuse myself and DiBella Entertainment as Jermain's promoter.
"Jermain's career has been outstanding, and it has been a pleasure and honor to promote him. His victories against Bernard Hopkins remain the highlights of my career as a promoter. Jermain is not only a great fighter, but a good and decent man with a wonderful family. It is out of genuine concern for him and his family that I am compelled to make this decision.
"I informed him, as I do all my contracted fighters, that my goal was to help his secure financial stability for his family, maximize his potential, and leave our unforgiving sport with his health intact.
"It is my belief that the continuation of Jermain's career as an active fighter places him at unnecessary risk. While he is undoubtedly capable of prevailing in future bouts, I cannot, in conscience, remain involved given my assessment of such risk.
"I wish Jermain all the best in his future endeavors. All of us at DiBella Entertainment hold Jermain close to our hearts and consider him and his family part of our family. We wish him Godspeed and continued health."
A lot of things in boxing are for show, but this is quite real. At ESPN, DiBella referenced the tragic death of Leavander Johnson (a DiBella fighter) as something that changed him profoundly, and has impacted this decision:
"Losing Leavander was a profound experience for me and, if not for Leavander's family encouraging me to stay in, I had serious thoughts of leaving the game. Any time you have that kind of loss or experience, I'm sure it impacts you. The one thing I want people to understand is that this comes out of a genuine affection for Jermain and that I care deeply about him and do not want to see him fight anymore."
DiBella parting ways with Taylor leaves Jermain at a career crossroads. Someone out there will promote him for sure, but this is going to make him take another look at continuing on, give him another serious think. Friendly or not, genuine personal affection or not, DiBella makes money off of Taylor's fights, and he's giving up the chance to make a lot on Taylor's upcoming bouts. He's saying he'll have nothing to do with it. The last time we heard a major promoter say he won't continue promoting someone, it was Bob Arum with Erik Morales after Morales lost to David Diaz and reported having buzzing in his ears when punched in the head.
I won't say I know the full medical backdrop of Taylor continuing on, and how it might affect his health. I have said before I support him fighting on, and that sometimes in today's world, we rush to want fighters to quit too early. No one wants to see anyone get hurt, or end up with brain damage or anything of the sort. If that's a major concern for Taylor at this point, he has to think about that. I'm not sure that it is or that it isn't, but DiBella resigning gives me more pause than I've had before.
Maybe Jermain will promote himself from here on out, maybe he'll wind up with one of the Big Two, maybe with King or Goossen or someone like that. We'll have to see. But it's not going to be Lou DiBella, and that's something to really think about.