Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire

By Ted Sares on September 25, 2015
Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire
His trainer Pat Burns says Taylor wants to get "his career back on track." (Gavin Lesnick)

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson has found former two-time world middleweight champion Jermain Taylor sane…

“We plan on boxing again, if that tells you something.”—Taylor attorney Hubert Alexander

“Nobody who saw Taylor go down in Berlin [against Arthur Abraham] – his third knockout in five fights – needed an MRI to know he should retire while he could still speak coherently.”—Carmen R. Thompson (ESPN the Magazine)

Shockingly (at least to me), Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson has found highly troubled and former two-time world middleweight champion Jermain Taylor sane following evaluations predicated on a long string of irrational behavior and alleged multiple crimes outside the ring. This means “Bad Intentions” can prepare to train and make still another comeback having been released from prison on $25,000 bail and granted permission to travel to Florida apparently for a training camp, although future trials loom.

One of the more recent alleged crimes involved his being accused of battering (as in second degree) a fellow resident at the Oasis Renewal Center in Little Rock, where the boxer has been locked up via court order since earlier this year. Photos of the alleged victim are shocking and can be seen on TMZ SPORTS and are reminiscent of Irish Billy Collins after his fight with Luis Resto. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Gavin Lesnick, Taylor pleaded innocent to the battery charge “by reason of mental disease,” but Taylor’s attorney says the allegations are completely frivolous.

Taylor’s last appearance in the ring came in an October 2014 unanimous-decision victory over awkward Sam Soliman, which moved his record to 33-4-1 highlighted by two wins over Bernard Hopkins.

In a recent BoxingScene report by Edward Chaykovsky, Taylor’s longtime trainer, Pat Burns, was said to be instrumental in the boxer’s release and spoke highly of him to the court. Burns told Judge Johnson that he believes Taylor is “emotionally prepared to abide by camp rules” and that Taylor “got caught up with drugs and alcohol and made some stupid mistakes.” Burns said Taylor wants to get “his career back on track.”

What part of warning signs don’t those around Jermain acknowledge or get? Based on a review of the pending charges, there is no way Taylor should be back on a professional fight card anytime in the near future.

Let’s hope and pray that the Arkansas officials and those caring for the recently divorced Jermain know what they are doing (according to Bad Left Hook, Taylor and his wife recently divorced, and their estate in Little Rock was sold). Let’s hope that those around him are not increasing the risks. Let’s hope someone can explain to them that where there is smoke, there is usually fire.

And above all, let’s hope someone can understand that Jermain Taylor wants to continue boxing if he successfully wins his case(s)—one(s) in which he argues that he suffers from a mental defect brought on by—boxing.

Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several world and state records. He enjoys writing about boxing.

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  1. Anonymous 03:24pm, 09/26/2015

    Obviously, Pat Burns was not.

  2. KB 03:23pm, 09/26/2015

    Well the trainers can’t counsel re finances because they need the counseling themselves. If a portion of each ticket sold were put in some fund nd then such fund could be tapped for financial counseling, that might help. In the absent of nothing, something is better than nothing. If the fighters don’t take advantage of it, then it’s on them. That could be a start. Same theory holds for other benefits. A portion of money must come form each ticket sold no matter how lowly the bout and that money must become a managed fund. I don’t have many other alternatives really. Back in the day, I would love to have become a transition manger for fighters. Too late now but it would have been a blast and I would have been very good at it.

  3. bikermike 01:58pm, 09/26/2015

    Jermain has reached where every Pro Fighter comes to…..and he has absolutely no plan for post Boxing years.
    He is out of money…and out of time….

    Recent events assure that he’s sheltered and fed and clothed…but I’m not sure that is fair…

    Was he ‘declared sane’ for reasons that the State wishes to prosecute….or what ??

    Boxing has never taken care of the Boxers…..still don’t

  4. bikermike 01:48pm, 09/26/2015

    Nice article Ted….thank you

    Boxing can be safer….true…
    There’s the other thing….
    Jermain made a lot of money…or won a lot of money….I’m not sure what the ‘split ’ was….and just how much Jermain came away with…

    He ..and thousands of young athletes who have no advice..nor discipline..nor knowledge…..are lost.
    I’m sure there were many before Joe Louis…and I know there are many since…Holyfield..Hearnes..Frazier..‘Razor’ Ruddock…are some who come to mind…..

    Other professional sports provide financial advice….by requirement..A young lad can still ignore it…Theo FLeury ..f’instance..but they at least get exposure to pure knowledge..

  5. bikermike 01:40pm, 09/26/2015

    Seeing name fighters outlive the skills that got them to the top is a pitiful thing..

    The post FOREMAN /ALI years of Ali’s career were sad to see…..and Jermain walks that same road…..His name is there….the gifts have, liike the years..gone by….ditto to RJJ…
    I just don’t know what to do about this situation…..Jermain is not the same..but he still is licensed..Is this because he still has/had drawing worth…or is he fit to fight professionally ?..You be the judge

  6. Tex Hassler 01:33pm, 09/26/2015

    I like Jermain Taylor but I see nothing good coming from him as far as him boxing again. He needs to find another way to make a living.

  7. KB 01:30pm, 09/26/2015

    Here is the thing. You combine possible alcohol abuse, drugs, and a possible brain injury with the acquired ability to inflict physical punishment, and the result can be a toxic cocktail much like it was for Edwin Valero. Very similar situation. The only ones who can save JT from himself are those who are around him, but that does not appear to be happening. .

  8. KB 01:25pm, 09/26/2015

    An d I knew you were not questioning my statement but that’s ok, I don’t mind. Just because I say it doesn’t make it right.

  9. KB 01:22pm, 09/26/2015

    Groovy, it’s in the article as follows: “One of the more recent alleged crimes involved his being accused of battering (as in second degree) a fellow resident at the Oasis Renewal Center in Little Rock, where the boxer has been locked up via court order since earlier this year. Photos of the alleged victim are shocking and can be seen on TMZ SPORTS and are reminiscent of Irish Billy Collins after his fight with Luis Resto.”

  10. Groovey 01:18pm, 09/26/2015

    KB, I wasn’t questioning your statement. But since you mentioned that you said “Alleged”, I don’t see a post where you said alleged.

  11. KB 01:14pm, 09/26/2015

    Not so simple because the morbid-oriented curiosity factor comes into play. His options are not good and include incarceration, long term care, possible cure, and return to normal society. They should not, under any circumstance, include boxing.

    Make no mistake, Biker Mike, as a serious follower of boxing, I am drawing a line in the sand here. If JT fights again, I shall immediately detach myself from this thing called boxing.

  12. bikermike 01:07pm, 09/26/2015

    simple…don’t pay to see him…or any other boxer who’s hit the wall

    What are this guy’s options…???

  13. KB 08:44am, 09/26/2015

    Groovey, that’s why I said “alleged.”

  14. The Tache 04:14am, 09/26/2015

    It’s like some weird version of Catch 22 -I’m innocent because boxing gave me brain damage so let me out so I can continue boxing!!

    Maybe it’s part of the plan to make him look crazy. Interesting that his trainer blames drugs and alcohol, not boxing. Shame on him putting a few more quid over the welfare of a fighter he has been close to for years.

  15. Groovey 08:39pm, 09/25/2015

    OK, I looked at the photos of the alleged rehab victim. I’m not saying he didn’t get beat up, but in photo #1 he doesn’t have cuts around or under the eye. But in photo #2, he has sutures around and under the eye. Don’t know what happened, but Taylor was in a place where his is not the only character we should question. As long as he can draw a crowd, he will make money for someone. The boxing world is a cruel form of sadism and we need all the ones with power in the media to lobby for one governing body. I get tired of hearing that states have different rules. There are no different rules when the NFL, MLB, NHL or NBA come to those states.

  16. Mark Coonan 04:53pm, 09/25/2015

    There’s a distinction between ruling that a defendant is sane in a criminal proceeding where he has pled not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, made by a judge, and one made by an athletic commission certifying a fighter who’s suffered neurological damage to box. The judge’s ruling in the criminal case has no bearing on the atheletic commission’s findings, although personally, I think anyone who certified Jermain to fight is either insane or corrupt themselves.

    What baffles me is his counsel’s claim that “the allegations are completely frivolous.” What allegations? Jermain’s allegation that he was not guilty by reason of mental disease/defect, or the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s allegation that he had entered the plea in the first place?

  17. KB 03:41pm, 09/25/2015

    I might stop writing when I het 80 or when they allow JT back in the ring—whichever occurs first.

  18. Bob 12:33pm, 09/25/2015

    Besides being dangerous with his hands, as any fighter at his level is, Jermain has an affinity for shooting guns at people. What are these people thinking? This is insanity. Perhaps it’s just me, but Jermain, a former Olympian, family man and seemingly all around nice guy, has a bemused look on his face as if he has not a care in the world. He seems to have no comprehension of the gravity of the situation. It is very distressing and disturbing.

  19. Big Wally 12:10pm, 09/25/2015

    That photo is worth a million words. This guy is a potential tower climber unless he gets help and treatment.

  20. KB 11:17am, 09/25/2015

    Right on the money Irish. Check this photo out>

    http://www.tmz.com/2015/05/29/jermain-taylor-brutal-photos-of-alleged-beating-victim/

  21. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:12am, 09/25/2015

    Poor Jermain….really? How about his victim in rehab….how would Pat Burns like having this batshit crazy bugger smashing in his face because he tried to give him a high five? Frivolous?! Lying rat’s ass attorney’s taking up way too much space and oxygen in this world and way too many affirmative action judgeships handed out to way too many law school quota “grads”.

  22. kb 09:29am, 09/25/2015

    Exactly Bob, and I will be doing a lot of finger pointing well.

    And the silence from the Boxing Journalists on this situation has become deafening.

  23. Bob 09:04am, 09/25/2015

    The look on Jermain’s face speaks volumes about his mental condition. I could understand the judge cutting him loose if he was just self destructive, but his recent actions make clear he is an immense danger to others. At the very least, he should be under some type of civil confinement. The inmates are running the asylum here. When Jermain erupts again there will be a lot of finger pointing, but I hope no one gets seriously hurt - or worse.

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