Former two-weight world champion and 1984 Olympic gold medallist Meldrick Taylor was arrested yesterday after engaging in a 90-minute stand-off with armed police in his home town of Philadelphia. According to a report from The Philadelphia Inquirer, the 52 year old attempted to evict a man from a property owned by Taylor and when the tenant refused, asking for more time, Taylor pulled a gun on him and armed police arrived on the scene.
“I ain’t coming out!” Taylor is reported to have yelled at the police and a 90-minute stand-off ensued. No shots were fired and after finally giving himself up Taylor was released on bail. He has been charged with aggravated assault.
Upon reading this news, it is almost unavoidable to think that it is perhaps the punishment Taylor took during his long and at times hard career, and the damage this has done to his mental capacity, that is responsible for his irrational behavior. Fans have heard Taylor’s terribly slurred speech and a number of people feel Meldrick never fully recovered from the brutal, and ultimately devastating, war he engaged in with Julio Cesar Chavez in 1990.
Taylor, despite being two-seconds from glory (being stopped by ref Richard Steele after rising from a heavy Chavez knockdown in the 12th and final round, as surely all fans recall or are aware of) took a sustained beating that night. Carrying on with his career, to the sad extent that he eventually wound up fighting club fighters for low pay days, Taylor took plenty of punches throughout his 18-year, 47 fight pro career.
The photo that accompanies the Philadelphia Inquirer article shows a barely recognizable Taylor, grey and bearded as he is these days. It’s a sad tale (not too unlike the stories we have read about Jermain Taylor and his recent out of the ring troubles) and it is to be hoped Taylor can sort himself out.
A superb fighter in his prime, Taylor had the speed and grace of a Sugar Ray Robinson combined with the heart, courage and desire to go to war of a Joe Frazier. Perhaps the fastest hands in the history of the 140 pound division belonged to Taylor and true greatness seemed to be his for the taking. He came close, but it was not to be.
Still, fans have a special place in their hearts for Taylor; a superb fighting machine who came so desperately close to becoming the first man to defeat the finest Mexican fighter ever. Taylor, who finished with a 38-8-1(20) record, last boxed in 2002.