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Digital Subscriptions > Boxing News > 24-Sep > The ETERNAL HANGOVER

The ETERNAL HANGOVER

Terry Dooley examines what has for too long been an elephant in the room: the link between taking punches, concussions and failing mental health

JERMAIN TAYLOR was always a bit different. The country music-loving 2000 Olympic bronze medallist was polite, quiet, stable, and he had athleticism coupled with a rare natural talent. By 2005 he had the world, and Bernard Hopkins’ world middleweight titles, in his hands.

The Taylor of 2019 is a totally different proposition. Felony after felony piled up over time. Police were called in 2011 when he smashed his mother’s car window.

He shot his cousin, Tyrone DaWayne Hinton, in 2014 while preparing to challenge Sam Soliman for the IBF’s middleweight title. He fired his gun at a Martin Luther Day parade and threatened a family. Then he went to rehab, where he punched fellow patient Jason Isaac Condon, fracturing his skull.

The former fighter pleaded guilty to nine felony charges in relation to his cousin. He admitted that he was broke despite attracting some huge paydays in the past. In November last year, he was picked up for failure to pay $5,300 in child support. The 41-year-old also violated the terms of his parole and his ability to stand trial was called into question due to diminished “cognitive abilities”.

Debate raged over whether Taylor should have been allowed to fight after he was knocked out or stopped by Kelly Pavlik, Carl Froch, and Arthur Abraham between 2007 and 2009. It is clear that there was a personality change in Taylor after those defeats, the type you sometimes see when someone has endured severe head trauma. An MRI in 2009 confirmed that his short-term memory had been impacted by a minor subdural hematoma, a brain bleed that can lead to death. At one point he was told he would never fight again.

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