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Friday, December 11, 2009
DiBella resigns as Taylor's promoter

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor has elected to continue on in the Super Six World Boxing Classic, a move that led to his promoter, Lou DiBella, resigning his position on Friday over concerns for Taylor's health.

Taylor has been brutally knocked out in three of his last five fights and has lost four of his last five. In both of his 2009 bouts, Taylor was severely knocked out, both times in the waning seconds of the 12th round.

In April, he challenged Carl Froch for a 168-pound title and was stopped with 14 seconds left. On Oct. 17, in the opening round of the Super Six, Arthur Abraham knocked him out cold with six seconds left. Taylor was hospitalized with a severe concussion and short-term memory loss following the loss to Abraham in Germany.

Taylor also lost the middleweight title via seventh-round knockout to Kelly Pavlik in September 2007 and lost a decision to him in the immediate rematch. Taylor's lone win in his last five bouts was a decision against the faded Jeff Lacy, Taylor's 2000 Olympic teammate, in November 2008.

DiBella has had his concerns about Taylor since the Froch fight and expressed his desire for him to retire after the loss to Abraham, and told him so.

"It is with a heavy heart, but strong conviction, that I will recuse myself and DiBella Entertainment as Jermain's promoter," DiBella said. "Jermain's career has been outstanding, and it has been a pleasure and honor to promote him. His victories against Bernard Hopkins remain the highlights of my career as a promoter. Jermain is not only a great fighter, but a good and decent man with a wonderful family. It is out of genuine concern for him and his family that I am compelled to make this decision."

DiBella said he has spoken directly with Taylor(28-4-1, 17 KOs), 31, and his family and told them that he thought that the 2000 U.S. Olympic bronze medal winner should no longer fight following such severe knockouts.

By dropping Taylor, DiBella is costing himself hundreds of thousands of dollars he stood to earn as Taylor's promoter for his two remaining guaranteed fights in the tournament, and even more if somehow Taylor managed to advance to the semifinals.

"I informed him, as I do all my contracted fighters, that my goal was to help him secure financial stability for his family, maximize his potential, and leave our unforgiving sport with his health intact. It is my belief that the continuation of Jermain's career as an active fighter places him at unnecessary risk. While he is undoubtedly capable of prevailing in future bouts, I cannot, in conscience, remain involved given my assessment of such risk.

"I wish Jermain all the best in his future endeavors. All of us at DiBella Entertainment hold Jermain close to our hearts and consider him and his family part of our family. We wish him Godspeed and continued health."

DiBella has walked away from other fighters he felt should no longer be in the ring, including heavyweight DaVarryl Williamson a few years ago after a particularly bad knockout.

DiBella was significantly affected when one of his fighters, lightweight titleholder Leavander Johnson, died at age 35 after suffering a brain injury in an 11th-round TKO loss to Jesus Chavez in a 2005 title bout.

"Losing Leavander was a profound experience for me and, if not for Leavander's family encouraging me to stay in, I had serious thoughts of leaving the game. Any time you have that kind of loss or experience, I'm sure it impacts you. The one thing I want people to understand is that this comes out of a genuine affection for Jermain and that I care deeply about him and do not want to see him fight anymore."

Taylor could not be reached for comment.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.