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Boxing – Junior Welterweight Fight – Irleis Perez vs Meldrick Taylor


Meldrick Taylor is one of many boxing champions hailing from the city of Philadelphia, PA….who  learned his craft in the gyms of his hometown….posting a 99-4 record as an amateur fighter….while earning a spot on the 1984 U.S. Olympic team at the age of 17….and claiming the gold medal in the featherweight division. Following his victory, he joined the professional ranks.

In May 1986, Taylor won a unanimous decision against fellow contender Harold Brazier and moved into the world rankings….with a record of 13 – 0.  On September 3, 1988, Taylor faced James (Buddy) McGirt for the IBF light welterweight title….whom he defeated by a technical knockout (TKO) in the 12th and final round to begin his first title reign.  Over the next 18 months, Taylor won four defenses of his title….setting up a unification bout with the WBC light welterweight champion Julio César Chávez on March 17, 1990 in Las Vegas. Chavez had an aura of invincibility….as he was considered the best fighter pound for pound in the world and also one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport. This fight drew huge media attention….as both men came in unbeaten with Taylor at 24-0-1 and Chávez at 68-0….and regarded as two of the best boxers in the world….regardless of weight class. Their fight was one of the most famous and controversial bouts in boxing history.  The controversy surrounding the premature stoppage of this fight continues to this day….and 10 years later, The Ring proclaimed it the “Fight of the Decade”.

Many boxing fans believe that Taylor was essentially ‘ruined’ as a fighter because of this bout….mainly due in part to the tremendous punishment taken at the hands of Chavez….including several bone fractures and some kidney damage….being taken to the hospital immediately after the Chavez bout….reportedly urinating blood. Taylor had lost his title but not his desire….while feeling that having to make the 140 pound (64 kg) weight had weakened him against Chavez….Taylor moved up to welterweight (147 pounds) and won by decision over undefeated Aaron Davis for the WBA welterweight title on January 19, 1991. He issued a challenge to Chávez for a rematch at 147 pounds….but the latter wouldn’t move up in weight for many years. Taylor won three more fights before answering a challenge from world junior middleweight champion Terry Norris to fight for Norris’ WBC title…..and since Norris was a naturally bigger and stronger man….he knocked Taylor out in the fourth round.

This marked the end of Taylor’s career as a world-class fighter; he lost the welterweight crown to undefeated challenger Crisanto España in his next fight on Halloween night in 1992. Taylor won his following three fights, including a second round knockout over number four ranked welterweight Chad Broussard. He got one more title shot against Chávez on September 17, 1994 in Las Vegas….but being years removed from his prime….he was stopped by Chávez in the eighth round.  He fought off and on over the next eight years, winning some fights and losing others, before retiring in 2002. He finished with a record of 38-8-1, (20 KOs).

This fight with a really good journeyman boxer Irleis Perez went the distance on July 11, 1987 from Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City, NJ…..and provided proof that Meldrick Taylor was another great boxer during the golden age of boxing (1964 – 1995)….who is getting lost in the pages of boxing history…..and deserves his due as a master of the ring.

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