Sam Soliman 160, Jermain Taylor 159.8
Former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor weighed 159.8 pounds to the division limit 160 for IBF middleweight beltholder Sam Soliman prior to Wednesday’s clash at Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Taylor (32-4-1, 20 knockouts) is challenging Soliman (44-11, 18 KOs) in a clash to be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, which is being promoted by Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing.
In his last fight in December, Taylor, 36, ended a 14-month ring absence with a seventh round technical knockout over Juan Carlos Candelo, whom he dropped in the final round. The only fighter who can claim two victories over Bernard Hopkins, Taylor will be after his fifth straight victory against Soliman.
Soliman, 40, Australia, won the title in his last fight in May by unanimous decision over Felix Sturm before the latter’s partisan fans in Germany. The win was Soliman’s second in 15 months over Sturm, who lost a unanimous decision to Soliman in February 2013. However, the result was rendered a no-contest after Soliman tested positive for a banned substance.
In victory over Sturm, Soliman won his first major title belt, doing so with his ninth consecutive victory in a run that has included five knockouts since dropping a unanimous decision to countryman Anthony Mundine in May 2008.
For Wednesday’s co-feature, super middleweight Andre Dirrell and Nick Brinson weighed in at 169 and 168.8.
A 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, Andre Dirrell, 31, is the older brother of WBC 168-pound titlist Anthony Dirrell. Andre is coming of a fifth round stoppage of Vladine Biosse in August that ended an 18-month ring absence.
Brinson, 27, was last in the ring for a unanimous decision loss to Dominic Wade in June, ending his unbeaten streak of 9-0-1 with one knockout. Brinson’s previous loss was by seventh round knockout to Lennox Allen in November 2010.
“I really feel a sense of momentum right now and it’s really exciting. I was actually talking about that with Anthony at my last fight. It really hit me after my last fight was over. I was also talking about it with my wife and a few other people,” said Andre Dirrell. “This is a very big opportunity for us because when I fight, you hear the Dirrell name. Then when I’m off, then he’s fighting and you hear the Dirrell name. So our name is in constant mention now.”
In August, Anthony Dirrell, 29, dethroned Sakio Bika for the WBC’s belt by unanimous decision in a rematch of their draw in December.
“With him winning the world championship, I can go out and get my fight done. We’re both at our peaks,” said Andre Dirrell. “I’m coming back into my own. It’s really one of the best feelings, man. I’m so glad about this situation. I feel like we’re in a great spot right now.”
“There are a lot of great fights out there on the horizon for the both of us. If I’m not chasing one title, I’m chasing the other. But when it comes to me and Anthony, the simple fact of the matter is that people die in this game,” said Andre Dirrell.
“Realizing that, and the fact that you have to do your job when you’re in there, knowing that I could potentially kill my brother in the ring or he could potentially kill me, then there’s not enough money in the world to make me fight him. I would have to tell you right now that if I was to ever fight him, then the fight would have to be rigged.”
Also on the card, cruiserweight B.J. Flores and Kevin Engel weighed 203.8 and 190.8, respectively.
Flores, 35, is riding a six-fight winning streak that includes four knockouts and is coming off a unanimous decision over Anthony Caputo Smith in June. Flores’ lone setback was by unanimous decision to Danny Green in June 2010.
Engel, 34, has lost four straight fights and eight of his past 11, having been stopped six times during this period, the last three consecutively. Engel was knocked out by Shawn Miller in the third round of his last fight in February.
The rest of the weights for the participants on the 14-fight card are as follows:
Ahmed Elbiale 174.6 vs. Dakota Dawson 171.6
Carlos Vel├ísquez 131.6 vs. Jean Javier Sotelo 131.4
Steve Lovett 176 vs. Ricardo Campillo 177
Phillip Jackson Benson 172.2 vs. Michael Gbenga 173.6
Joey Hern├índez 162 vs. Jose Miguel Rodr├¡guez Berrio 157.6
Mario Barrios 125.4 vs. Abraham Rubio 127
Walter Castillo 142 vs. Shad Howard N/A
Justin DeLoach 156.2 vs. Joshua Snyder 155
Gervonta Davis 126.8 vs. German Meraz 125
Regis Prograis 142.2 vs. Mario Hermosillo 142.2
Erick Bone 142.6 vs. Peter Oluoch 144