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Quincy Taylor

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  • Quincy Taylor

    A guy who had the misfortune of becoming a world champion at middleweight at a time when the division was experiencing a drought and then lost his world championship in his first defense to a much bigger guy in what might have been a premature stoppage, Quincy Taylor was a hard-hitting, fast and talented fighter who captured the WBC title from Julian Jackson in 1995 and lost it to Keith Holmes in 1996. Not a tall middleweight at 5'9 because he was at first a light middleweight, Taylor had the power to deal with the bigger men than himself however and the speed. It also took him a bit long to reach the top and he became the champion at 32. He would retire right after the loss to Holmes and attempted to come back twice, but both attempts were fruitless.

    He was born in Dallas, Texas, 18 July 1963, as Quincy Lee Taylor. He turned pro in 1986, fighting mostly as a light middleweight, and won his first 5 fights by stoppage within 4 rounds. In 1987, he was the sparring partner for Sugar Ray Leonard before his fight with Marvin Hagler and nearly knocked Leonard out. He was 10-0 with 9 ko's when he faced the great Terry Norris 12 August '88 at Caesars Palace in Vegas and lost to Norris by UD10 with the scores of 94-97 twice and 94-96, meaning it was a rather close bout. His first success came in 1990, when he took part in the Forum Super Welterweight Tournament and won it by stopping the 23-0 Mario Gaston by TKO 7. In his next fight however, he experienced another setback after losing a technical decision in 6 rounds to former WBC welter champion Jorge Vaca at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood in October that year. In December, he won the IBF Inter-Continental title by stopping Armando Rodriguez of Venezuela by TKO 7. Next year on 6 May, he again faced Jorge Vaca at Great Western Forum and again lost to him, this time by a clear UD10. Vaca just had his number. Taylor moved up to middleweight and after scoring 5 knockouts and 1 decision, he was given a fight for the NABF middleweight title against the 22-0 Jamaican-Canadian Otis Grant. It was 15 March '94 at The Roxy in Boston and the fight was a clash of styles, Grant being the technical fighter and Taylor a pure offensive fighter. Grant was ahead on two of the scorecards after 11 rounds and Taylor had slight cuts over both eyes going into round 12. Grant had gotten more offensive after a cautious start and paid for it when Taylor first hurt him with a right hand before knocking him out with a follow-up big left hook. Grant was counted out with only 20 seconds left of the fight. It was a sensational come from behind victory and Taylor was now the NABF middleweight champion.

    Taylor made three defenses, first stopping Derrick Rolon by TKO 8, then stopping the undefeated Rodney Toney by another TKO 12 and finally stopping the Panamanian Rafael Williams by TKO 7. He was then given a crack at the WBC title held by Julian Jackson, who had recaptured it in an exciting but short fight against Agostino Cardamone in March '95. It was 19 August that '95 at the MGM Grand when Quincy Taylor entered history. Jackson was on the slide, pushing 35, and Taylor's speed and power prevailed. First he sent The Hawk down at the end of round 4 with a perfectly timed left cross which put Jackson thru the ropes. In round 5 Jackson attempted a comeback and landed some nice punches but Taylor was good in defending himself and shrugged them off. In round 6 Taylor again went on the attack and hurt Jackson with a barrage of punches before the ref jumped in to save him from more punishment. He was now the champ and could celebrate, but the celebration would not last. Unfortunately, the division was rather empty at that time, after losing Roy Jones, James Toney, Mike McCallum, Gerald McClellan and also the British stars Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank previously. There simply were no big names and Bernard Hopkins, at the time only holding the IBF belt, was considered the biggest name there now.

    So, when Taylor made his first defense on 16 March '96, the MGM Grand was virtually empty, or half-empty. It must have been a sad sight for the newly-crowned champion, who had fought for 9 years to achieve what he had achieved. His opponent was also virtually unknown back then, although he would become known after this fight. Keith Holmes, despite also being a light middleweight previously, stood 6'2 and thus towered above the 5'9 Taylor, presenting his greatest challenge so far in physical terms. But not just that-Holmes actually could fight, it turned out. Taylor did well in the first 6 rounds and was the aggressor for most of the time, but Holmes started asserting himself in round 7. After round 8, Bernard Hopkins who was present ringside, was interviewed by Jim Grey and said he wanted to fight Quincy Taylor after this fight. However, it wasn't meant to be. In round 9, Holmes was slightly ahead on all scorecards, curiously, when he caught Taylor with a big right hook as Taylor was about to throw his own right hand, and put him down. Taylor got up quickly and looked dazed. Holmes then jumped him and started punishing him. The ref jumped in, seemingly too early, and waved it off. Taylor looked shaken but not yet finished and the commentators protested the stoppage loudly. It didn't matter-Holmes was the new champion and Taylor's reign had ended after barely 7 months.

    Wether out of disappointment with the loss or disillusionment with the sport, Quincy Taylor retired for 2 years after this fight. He came back in April '98 and beat the journeyman Melvin Wynn by TKO 2 but then retired again. He came back for the last time on 16 June 2001 and beat the 25-0 but unknown Fred Moore by TKO 4. That turned out to be his last fight and he ended his career with a record of 28 wins with 24 ko's and 4 losses, 1 by ko. His current whereabouts are unknown, but he most likely still lives in his hometown of Dallas. Quincy Taylor was simply unlucky for two reasons: one was that he entered the middleweight division and became a champion there at a poor time and second was that he got caught with a big punch and then stopped prematurely, losing his world title and a chance at a big unification fight against Hopkins. In interviews, he came across as a modest and humble guy, never bragging about his punching power, which was considerable. He was definitely one of the best fighters in the middle divisions between 1990 and 1996.
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