Switch-hitting supermiddleweight contender Andre Dirrell will return to the ring against an opponent to be determined on the Showtime-televised Dec. 30 card that also features the comeback of former undisputed middleweight beltholder Jermain Taylor in Palm Springs, Calif.
The 33-year-old Taylor (28-4-1, 17 KOs) will face 24-year-old Jessie Nicklow (22-2-3, 8 KOs) of Baltimore, who is 3-0-1, with one knockout since being stopped in the fourth round by Fernando Guerrereo (21-1, 16 KOs) December of 2009.
Taylor was approved in September for a boxing license by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The commission approved Taylor by a 5-0 vote, and the fighter was accompanied by adviser Al Haymon, according to the commission’s executive director, Keith Kizer.
Taylor pulled out of Showtime’s Super Six World Super Middleweight Classic in January of last year after being stopped by Germany’s Arthur Abraham in the 12th round of their October 2009 bout.
Taylor was hospitalized for a few days in Germany following the loss to Abraham, received a CT Scan and an MRI as well as other testing, and was diagnosed with a concussion, short-term memory loss and bleeding on the brain.
Taylor’s case was supported in September’s re-licensing and reinstatement hearing by the recommendation of Dr. Timothy J. Trainor, a commission consultant who “thoroughly reviewed the comprehensive medical records pertaining to combatant Jermain Taylor,” according to a letter written and submitted by Trainor.
Trainor indicated that Taylor’s “cerebral MRA and MRI are normal,” even as he referred to the fact that Taylor “has a history of a subdural hematoma following a boxing match in Germany” against Abraham.
A 28-year-old former Olympic bronze medalist, Dirrell (19-1, 13 KOs) was last in the ring against Abraham in March of last year.
That bout ended in controversy when Abraham punched Dirrell — who was far ahead on the cards — while he was down in the 11th round and was disqualified.
Prior to facing Abraham, Andre lost a split-decision to current RING No. 2-rated WBC supermiddleweight beltholder Carl Froch (28-1, 20 KOs), who will face RING No. 1-rated WBA titleholder Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) on Dec. 17 in the final bout of the Showtime Super Six Super tournament.
Dirrell is the older brother of unbeaten super middleweight contender Anthony Dirrell (23-0, 20 KOs), who will face Canadian southpaw Renan St. Juste (23-2-1, 15 KOs) on Dec. 2 in a WBC elminator bout for the right to challenge Froch.
The hard-punching Anthony Dirrell is coming off a second-round stoppage of Kevin Engel on July 22, which was his eighth straight knockout win, his second fight within a 20-day period and his fifth ring appearance within a 10-month stretch. Dirrell had stopped Dante Craig in the fifth round on July 2.
St. Juste (23-2-1, 15 KOs), who is 39, never has been stopped, has won two straight bouts and is coming off an eight-round unanimous decision over Jaudiel Zepeda in July.
A boxer-puncher, Anthony Dirrell returned to the ring in October of 2008 from a 26-month ring absence that resulted from a 2007 diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Anthony was diagnosed shortly after he stopped James Hopkins in December 2006 and didn’t return to the ring until October 2008, when he decisioned Andy Mavros over four rounds.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com