Lem Satterfield

Taylor returns on Oct. 12 Pedraza-Benitez card


Former undisputed middleweight champ Jermain Taylor will return to the ring on the undercard of a ShoBox main event on Oct. 12 from the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Mo., Taylor’s promoter, Lou DiBella, announced on Tuesday.

The Showtime-televised main event will feature former Puerto Rican Olympian Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (10-0, 6 knockouts) opposite Allan Benitez (7-1, 1 KO), of Texas, who is trained by Robert Garcia. In the co-feature, Dominican middleweight Jonathan Cepeda (12-0, 11 KOs), of West Palm Beach, meets Lamar Russ (10-0, 6 KOs), of Hartford, Conn.

In his last fight in April, the 34-year-old Taylor (30-4-1, 18 KOs), of Little Rock, Ark., had to rise from a ninth-round knockdown for a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Caleb Truax (10-1-1, 11 KOs).

Munoz, 36, is 22-15-1, with 16 knockouts and has been stopped 11 times, including in the second and sixth rounds, respectively, in his last two consecutive losses.

“Jermain will be fighting Raul Munoz, and Showtime will show clips of his fight,” said DiBella, who is co-promoting the event with Gary Shaw Productions as well as Universal Promotions and Rumble Time Promotions. “It’s basically a fight that allows him to keep the rust off and to work on some stuff and to keep him busy.”

Taylor had lost four of his previous five fights, two of them by 12th-round knockout, before ending a 26-month ring absence with an eighth-round stoppage of Baltimore’s Jessie Nicklow in December of last year.

Taylor had suffered frightening 12th-round knockouts against both Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham in April and October of 2009, the latter prompting his withdrawal from Showtime’s Super Six Super Middleweight Classic tournament.

Taylor received a CT Scan and an MRI as well as other testing in the days after the loss to Abraham. He was diagnosed with a concussion, short-term memory loss and bleeding on the brain.

But Taylor was unanimously approved for a boxing license last September of last year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and returned to action against Nicklow.

The matchup with Nicklow represented a reunion with longtime trainer Pat Burns, who had guided Taylor to a mark of 25-0, with 17 knockouts, before being replaced by Emanuel Steward in 2006.

In 12 of his previous 13 contests prior to Nicklow, Taylor’s opponents had been men who were titleholders at the time of they faced Taylor, or had been previously.

The lone man who had not worn a crown was Daniel Edouard, a contender who brought a 16-0 record with nine KOs into the ring before being stopped by Taylor the third round in in February of 2005.

Otherwise, Taylor’s unbeaten run under Burns included consecutive victories by split and unanimous decision over Bernard Hopkins in July and December of 2005, the first of which earned Taylor the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight belts. The loss to Taylor was the first for Hopkins in 12 years, ending his record run of 20 consecutive title defenses.

Taylor left Burns for Steward after the bouts with Hopkins, and subsequently battled through a draw with former 154-pound champion Winky Wright in June of 2006 at a time when Wright was regarded as one of the sport’s premiere defensive wizards.

After facing Wright, Taylor earned decision wins over southpaw former titleholders Kassim Ouma and Corey Spinks. Taylor also dominated ex-titleholders Raul Marquez and William Joppy by ninth-round knockout and unanimous decision in June and December of 2004, respectively.

Taylor was 27-0-1 with 17 knockouts when he suffered his first loss — a seventh-round knockout to Kelly Pavlik in September of 2007. After earning a decision over Jeff Lacy in his super middleweight debut in November 2008, Taylor lost to Froch.

Photos by Tom Casino, Showtime

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com


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