Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi– Jermain Taylor (33-4-1, 20 KOs) has a middleweight world title belt for the first time since 2007 after beating defending IBF champ Sam Soliman (44-12, 18 KOs) via unanimous decision Wednesday night on ESPN2.
It didn’t look like it would be a big night for Taylor early on as Soliman mugged Taylor on the inside, creating awkward moments that allowed him to build an early lead.
However, in the seventh round Soliman suffered a clear and painfully obvious leg injury that directly resulted in knockdowns in the seventh, eighth, ninth, and eleventh rounds.
From the seventh round forward, Soliman was legitimately unable to compete and hobbled the ring, constantly facing the threat of a white towel from his corner or commission stoppage– both clearly on the table as options to Soliman’s obvious handicap.
Taylor stood firm and did what he had to do to win the fight and take home the belt in a contest many felt he should not have even been cleared to fight due to a 2009 career-threatening instance of bleeding on the brain and a pending court case for allegedly shooting his cousin.
But Taylor took the bout by scores of 116-111, 116-109, and 115-109 while The Boxing Tribune’s unofficial scorecard read 115-109, also for Taylor. A look at the scores and the fact that most of the knockdown rounds were very close shows that Soliman’s leg injury and subsequent knockdowns did play a role in the outcome of the fight. On the Boxing Tribune’s scorecard, at least, a knockdown-free evening would’ve resulted in a 115-113 victory for Soliman.
However, Taylor is now the IBF champ and will have to face mandatory no. 1 challenger, Hassan N’Dam, who secured the top slot in the IBF by beating Curtis Stevens last week.
In the TV opener, Andre Dirrell (23-1, 16 KOs) did what he was supposed to do and ended things early against Nick Brinson (16-3-2, 6 KOs). After three rounds of solid boxing, Dirrell landed a big left hand in the fourth round that nearly put Brinson down and left him in no condition to fight back. Dirrell then pounced on his buzzed opponent and forced the referee stoppage seconds later.
In a time-filler between co-feature and main event, Egyptian national champion Ahmed Elbiale (7-0, 7 KOs) made quick work of the pedestrian Dakota Dawson (3-1, 2 KOs), ending the bout one minute and ten seconds into the first round via TKO.
In the second time-filler of the evening, Carlos Ivan Velasquez (18-1, 11 KOs) stopped Jean Javier Sotelo (19-13-2, 10 KOs) in the second round when a borderline low blow sent Sotelo to the canvas and into a rolling-around, overly-dramatic search for the DQ. Instead, Sotelo was given his allotted five minutes to recover and then given the loss when he refused to make an effort to get back to his feet.