Going into the Super Six World Boxing Classic, it was hard to argue that Jermain Taylor wasn't the most accomplished boxer in the field. He had been the undisputed middleweight champion of the world at one time, after all, earning that title the hard way by defeating Bernard Hopkins twice.
Still, very few people gave him any real chance of winning the super middleweight tournament after losses to Kelly Pavlik (twice) and fellow participant Carl Froch stalled his career. And once Arthur Abraham knocked him cold in the final round of his first Super Six fight, voices from all over the boxing world were calling for him to hang up the gloves for his own good.
Taylor seemed to resist those calls at first, vowing he'd fight on. His fans will no doubt be glad to hear that he's finally had a change of heart.
ESPN's Dan Rafael is reporting that Taylor has withdrawn from the Super Six , effective immediately. His statement stops short of saying he will retire from boxing, saying only that he needs time away from the ring for the good of his body and mind.
Had he remained in the tournament, Taylor would have faced Andre Ward in April. That was shaping up to be another likely loss for JT, as Ward put on a stellar performance in his victory over Mikkel Kessler.
The World Boxing Classic was set up with contingencies governing injury or withdrawal, so someone will be asked to take Taylor's place. What's known is that the substitute will inherit Jermain's point total (which is zero thanks to his first stage loss); what isn't known is exactly who will get the call.
Early reports had American Allan Green as the first alternate, though more recent rumors had Green facing Sakio Bika for that right. To keep the tournament on track, there doesn't appear to be enough time for a qualifying bout of any type to take place.
Other intriguing, though much more unlikely possibilities, are IBF titleholder Lucian Bute, who many felt was a glaring omission from the field in the first place, middleweight king Kelly Pavlik and light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson, though the latter two would have to change weight classes to jump in.