Former middleweight champ Jermain Taylor had to get up from a ninth-round knockdown to outpoint Caleb Truax in the 10-round main event of a ShoBox broadcast from Biloxi, Miss., on Friday. Junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara scored a first-round TKO of Ronald Hearns in the opening bout of the Showtime-televised event.
Taylor (30-4-1, 18 knockouts), of Little Rock, Ark., used a stiff jab and occasional right crosses and left hooks to control Truax, who didn’t offer much resistance in the early rounds of the bout. However, the 28-year-old Minnesotan began taking chances in the fourth round by letting his right hand go. Truax landed his right a few times in rounds five and six, and Taylor, whose refexes seemed a bit slow, began holding in the late rounds even though the 33-year-old veteran remained in control of the bout.
Taylor, who took two years off from boxing after suffering back-to-back 12th-round stoppages to Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham in 2009, lost that control when Truax countered with a short right cross after he threw a lazy jab. The punch dropped Taylor onto his back one minute into the round. Taylor got up and did a lot of holding in order to get through the round, but he worked in one-two combinations between his clinches in the final round, which was enough to hold off Truax (18-1-1, 10 KOs).
Taylor, who won the bout by scores of 98-91, 97-92 and 97-94, was uncharacteristically emotional and animated after the fight and during his post-bout interview with Showtime’s Steve Farhood.
“I been knocked out four times, man, I’m not going no more!” said Taylor, who has actually only been stopped three times in his career — to Froch, Abraham and once to Kelly Pavlik, who lifted his title by way of seventh-round KO in 2007.
Farhood asked if it bothered Taylor that all anyone would mention about his fight with Truax was the knockdown he suffered.
“Talk about it! I got up and I did my thing,” Taylor said. “It was a good punch, right on the button. I was a little dazed but I was alright. I don’t care about it. I been knocked out four times, so I don’t care about getting knocked down. That’s what (my opponents) got to worry about. You got to get me outta there to beat me.”
Taylor says his advisers — manager Al Haymon and promoter Lou DiBella — want him to face a top-10 middleweight contender in his next bout.
In the co-featured bout, Lara (16-1-1, 11 KOs) stopped Hearns, the son of the legendary five-division titleholder and hall of famer Thomas Hearns, just 94 seconds into their scheduled 10-round bout.
Lara, who was coming off a controversial 12-round decision loss to Paul Williams last July, caught Hearns with a straight left one minute into the opening round. Hearns, who was stopped by WBA middleweight titleholder Felix Sturm in his last bout last February, got up but the 29-year-old Cuban followed up with a one-two that staggered the Michigan native into the ropes where referee Keith Hughes ruled a technical knockdown.
Lara ended the bout with another left cross that dropped Hearns (26-3, 20 KOs) for a thrid time just seconds later.
Photos / Craig Bennett-SHOWTIME