By Chris Cella
Tonight former middleweight champion Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor (30-4-1, 18 KOs) will step between the ropes for his third fight since reemerging onto the boxing scene last December. He takes on Raul “El Toro” Munoz (21-15-1, 16 KOs) on the undercard of a ShoBox: The New Generation doubleheader on Showtime (11 p.m. ET/PT) broadcast from the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Mo.
Prior to his return—a TKO victory over Jessie Nicklow—Taylor lost four of five fights, with the last two being 12-round knockout losses at the hands of Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham.
But boxing fans can remember the time when Taylor owned the middleweight division, earning two consecutive victories over Bernard Hopkins, as well as wins over Kassim Ouma and Cory Spinks. The crafty boxer appeared untouchable until he encountered Kelly Pavlik and after having Pavlik in deep trouble early, was knocked out in the seventh round of their 12 round fight, and never appeared quite the same inside the ring.
At 34 years young, many question whether or not Taylor has another title run left in him, or if he will simply be a journeyman for the up-and-coming middleweights looking to etch their names amongst the division’s finest.
“I feel great,” said Taylor about being ready for tonight’s bout.
“Physically and mentally I feel I am on the top of my game. I am ready to go out there and make a statement. I want to show the world that I am ready for the best that the middleweight division has to offer. I fully expect to be fighting for a world title belt sometime early next year.”
Looking to play spoiler tonight is Raul “El Toro” Munoz. Despite a less than impressive record of 22-15, Munoz has displayed heavy hands, winning all but six of his professional bouts by way of knockout.
This fight is about getting Taylor’s ring presence and confidence back to when he was the king of the middleweights. He needs to go out there and make a heavy statement that he still has some gas left in the tank and can finish off the opponents he needs to in order to secure a title shot within the near future.
About Taylor’s quest to reemerge as a threat for the middleweight crown, promoter Lou DiBella said the following, “In order for Jermain to return to championship form he has to stay busy. Skills need to be rediscovered and confidence needs to be built. An active, prepared and confident Jermain Taylor can still be a force to be reckoned with at the highest level of the middleweight division.”
In a division controlled by champion Sergio Martinez, Taylor needs to produce two or three impressive outings to get his name back in the mix for a potential title eliminator fight, and he has shown through his career the determination and drive to be the best in the world.
Tonight’s test will surely set the stage for what lies ahead in his career going forward.