Jermain Taylor will "definitely" return to the ring on Showtime on Dec. 30 at The Verizon Arena in his hometown of Little Rock, Ark., RingTV.com has learned. The former undisputed middleweight champ will do so at his original weight of 160 pounds, according to sources familiar with discussions between the fighter and the network.
"Definitely on Dec. 30, definitely on Showtime, definitely at 160, but there is no opponent yet," said one source, adding that Taylor will likely be re-united with long-time trainer Pat Burns.
"Pat Burns is training him, and Jermain is ready to fight anybody in that weight class. He's hungry. The next year, 2012, is going to be a great big year for Jermain Taylor."
However, Taylor (28-4-1, 17 KOs) has lost four of his past five bouts and three of them by knockout, including the last two straight, which took place in the super middleweight division. Taylor was last in the ring against Germany's Arthur Abraham, who stopped him in the 12th round of their October 2009 bout, which was part of Showtime's Super Six World Super Middleweight Classic.
After losing to Abraham, Taylor was hospitalized for a few days in Germany, where he received a CT Scan and an MRI as well as other testing. Taylor was diagnosed with a concussion, short-term memory loss and bleeding on the brain. He subsequently pulled out of the Super Six tournament in January.
But Taylor was approved and licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission last month following a lengthy hearing.
"Mr. Taylor has undergone extensive additional testing including multiple MRI and MRA scans, neuropsychological testing, evaluation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and evaluation at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health here in Las Vegas," stated Dr. Timothy J. Trainor, a commission consultant who supported Taylor's reinstatement.
"He has been examined by both neurologists and neurosurgeons. All of these evaluations have demonstrated him to be medically fit to compete in boxing."
In a letter to the commission, Trainor wrote that he "thoroughly reviewed the comprehensive medical records pertaining to combatant Jermain Taylor" before recommending that he be licensed.
Although Trainor acknowledged Taylor's "history of a subdural hematoma following a boxing match in Germany" against Abraham, he also indicated that Taylor's "current cerebral MRA and MRI are normal."
Trainor also referred to a meeting of the NSAC medical advisory panel on Sept. 22 "to discuss the medical safety of Mr. Taylor continuing his boxing career."
"The conclusion of the [panel] was that it would be medically safe to grant Mr. Taylor a boxing license," Trainor wrote. "Therefore, I am confident…that this combatant is medically cleared for unarmed combat."
As a result, Taylor was approved last month by a 5-0 vote for a boxing license by the commission, according to commission executive director Keith Kizer, who added that Taylor was accompanied by adviser Al Haymon at the hearing.
Taylor was 27-0-1 with 17 knockouts before being stopped in seven rounds by Kelly Pavlik in Sept. 2007. Taylor also lost his non-title rematch with Pavlik by unanimous decision in February of 2008, when they each weighed 164 pounds.
Taylor entered the bout with Abraham following a 12th-round knockout loss to England's WBC super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch in April of 2009, which he led on two of the three judges cards before being stopped cold with 14 seconds left.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org