Jermain Taylor set for Oct. 12 bout
Former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor will continue his comeback from a serious head injury when he faces Raul Munoz on Oct. 12 at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Mo., promoter Lou DiBella announced on Tuesday.
Taylor will face Munoz in a scheduled 10-round middleweight bout on the undercard of a "ShoBox: The New Generation" doubleheader on Showtime (11 p.m. ET/PT). The network will telecast highlights of Taylor's bout.
The fight will be Taylor's third during a comeback that followed a 26-month layoff after he suffered a small brain bleed during a 12th-round knockout loss to Arthur Abraham in the opening round of the Super Six World Boxing Classic in 2009.
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Taylor, a 2000 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, outpointed Bernard Hopkins in 2005 to become the undisputed 160-pound champion and then beat Hopkins again in an immediate rematch. He made four title defenses overall before being knocked out by Kelly Pavlik in the seventh round in 2007.
That was the beginning of a 1-4 rut for Taylor, who was violently knocked out in three of the losses, including 12th-round knockouts at super middleweight in 2009 by Carl Froch in a world title fight and by Abraham.
Taylor suffered a small brain bleed in the loss to Abraham, dropped out of the Super Six tournament and stepped away from boxing for 26 months.
After going through numerous medical exams by top neurologists, Taylor was granted a license in Nevada -- one of the toughest states in the country to be licensed in -- and launched a comeback in December. He returned to middleweight and knocked out Jessie Nicklow in the eighth round.
In his second comeback fight, Taylor (30-4-1, 18 KOs), 34, of Little Rock, Ark., got knocked down hard in the ninth round and was in trouble against Caleb Truax, but hung on to win a unanimous 10-round decision.
Munoz (21-15-1, 16 KOs), 36, of Topeka, Kan., represents a step down from Nicklow and Truax. He has lost two in a row by knockout and is 3-6 in his last nine bouts with five of the losses coming by knockout.
"Everything is fine with Jermain," DiBella told ESPN.com. "He's content to do this kind of fight. He's getting in some rounds and keeping up the activity. He was off for a long time, so this is a classic keep-busy situation.
"We tried to make a bigger fight for him, but we couldn't work anything out. Those bigger fights were not makable for different reasons, so he will have this fight and stay active. If everything goes well against Munoz, Jermain probably will fight a bigger fight -- maybe in December, January or February. But we are looking for a bigger fight for him."
In the Showtime-televised main event, 23-year-old blue-chip prospect Jose "Sniper" Pedraza (10-0, 6 KOs), a 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian who turned pro in February 2011, faces Allan Benitez (7-1, 1 KO) in a scheduled eight-round lightweight bout.
Middleweight prospects Jonathan Cepeda (12-0, 11 KOs) and Lamar Russ (10-0, 6 KOs) square off in the scheduled eight-round co-feature.
"After my last fight against (on Aug. 31), I only rested for a week and then got straight back in the gym," Pedraza said. "For this fight, the training has been very intense. I have sparred with former world title contender Mario Santiago, world champion 'Rocky' Martinez and Luis Rosario, who is a very good amateur boxer. I am looking forward to putting on a great performance on the 12th and taking another step towards fulfilling my ultimate goal of winning a world championship."