OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
His early fights were against nondescript journeymen, but in his 12th fight, in May 1986, Taylor won a unanimous decision against fellow contender Harold Brazier and moved into the world rankings.
First World Title
On September 3, 1988, Taylor faced James (Buddy) McGirt for the IBF world junior welterweight, 140 pound (64 kg), world title. He defeated McGirt 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 more fights, setting up a unification bout with the WBC world junior welterweight legendary champion Julio César Chávez on March 17, 1990 in Las Vegas. This fight drew huge media attention, as both men came in unbeaten (Taylor at 24-0-1 and Chávez at 66-0), 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.
Going to the 12th and final round, Taylor led by wide margins on two of the three scorecards, and his corner famously told him that he needed to win that round. Because of this, Taylor chose to continue fighting at close quarters with the hard-hitting Mexican champion. Chávez, realizing time was running out, came at Taylor aggressively in the last round. With 17 seconds left in the fight, Chávez floored Taylor. Taylor beat the 10-count and got back to his feet at six. Referee Richard Steele twice asked Taylor if he wanted to continue. Taylor did not respond and only looked at his corner. Steele waved the fight off with just two seconds left, awarding Chávez a win by TKO.
The controversy surrounding the stoppage continues to this day. There is also widespread belief that Taylor was essentially 'ruined' as a fighter because of this bout—due in part to the tremendous punishment taken at the hands of Chavez.
Taylor had lost his title, but not his desire. Feeling that having to make the 140 pound (64 kg) weight had weakened him against Chavez, Taylor moved up to welterweight (147 pounds) and decisioned undefeated Aaron Davis for the WBA world welterweight title on January 19, 1991.
Taylor won three more fights before answering a challenge from world junior middleweight champion Terry Norris to fight for Norris' WBC title in 1992. Norris, a naturally bigger and stronger man, knocked Taylor out in the fourth round. This marked the end of Taylor's career as a world-class fighter.
After losing to Norris for Norris's 154 lb title, Taylor lost his version of the welterweight crown to undefeated challenger Crisanto España in his next fight in October 1992. Taylor won his following three fights, including a second round knockout over number four ranked welterweight Chad Broussard.
Meldrick got one more title shot, and a chance to revive his career, when he rematched Chávez on September 17, 1994 in Las Vegas. But, years removed from his prime, he was stopped by Chávez in the eighth round.
Taylor fought off and on over the next eight years, winning some fights and losing others, before retiring in 2002.
During an episode of HBO's "Legendary Nights" in 2003, an interview with Taylor was shown, in which his speech was very slurred and he spoke like he was drunk. Many viewers were shocked and disturbed when they heard the way Taylor now speaks.
Strong amateur pedigree
During an episode of HBO's "Legendary Nights" in 2003, an interview with Taylor was shown in which his speech was very slurred. The episode implicitly attributed this to pugilistic dementia.
Meldrick Taylor has written his autobiography, titled Two Seconds From Glory. The book which is as controversial as the fight with Julio César Chávez, will also be a movie.
Taylor's first bout with Chavez is one of the most controversial in history as referree Richard Steele stopped the fight with two seconds left in the final round. Taylor was ahead on two of the three judges' scorecards.
Major World Titles
IBF Light Welterweight
UD 12 Glenwood Brown - 1992
UD 12 Aaron Davis - 1991
TKO 5 Jaime Balboa - 1989
TKO 12 James McGirt - 1988
UD 10 Primo Ramos - 1987
UD 10 Harold Brazier - 1986
TKO 8 Julio Cesar Chavez - 1994
TKO 8 Crisanto Espana - 1992
TKO 4 Terry Norris - 1992
TKO 12 Julio Cesar Chavez -1990
Amateur Record: 99-4
Featherweight Gold Medalist for the United States at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.