PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                         March 03, 2012


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Recently, the sad and shocking news came that Philadelphia light-heavyweight Will Taylor died suddenly of an apparent stroke on Sunday, March 4th.  Taylor was 46. 

Taylor, a North Philly native, was well known for his battles with the lures of the Philadelphia streets throughout his life. Taylor ran into trouble on those streets and like many young men in similar circumstances, he was incarcerated for a period.  He in fact did time with Bernard Hopkins back in the day. They even sparred each other in the prison boxing program. After his release, Taylor returned to prison a couple of times for parole violations. He also struggled with drug addiction over the years. But like Bernard Hopkins, when Taylor was left prison for good, he turned to boxing as a way of establishing a new life. But unlike Hopkins, the lures of the streets always haunted Taylor. 

At 6' 3", Taylor was tall for a light-heavyweight and it earned him the nickname of "Stretch". He turned professional on October 04, 1991 with a 4-round points win  over Dedrick Humphrey at Resorts International Hotel Casino in Atlantic City.  

Taylor zipped through the first part of career, com-piling a 15-1 record with 11 KOs and 1 No Contest. He also claim-ed the USBA light-heavyweight title (W12 Ray Berry in 1997) and defended it once (TKO6 Ernest Mateen in 1997) during that run.

Only a then-unknown Bryant Brannon managed to beat Taylor over his first 17 starts, most of which occurred in either Philly or Atlantic City. Brannon won a 4-round split decision in Taylor's 4th pro fight. 

His career-opening span earned Taylor an IBF world title bout against Reggie Johnson in Miami in 1999.  Taylor, an 8-1 underdog, dropped a 12-round decision to the two-time champion, but the scores were extremely close (114-113 and 115-112 twice).

Taylor lost his USBA belt in his next bout when he was TKO'd by David Telesco in round 11. It was the only time in his career that Taylor was ever stopped.

After a four-fight winning streak Taylor again battled Reggie Johnson, this time for the NABF & USBA titles in 2001. Johnson topped Taylor once again, and it was the last time "Stretch" ever fought. 

During his career, Taylor beat Ray Berry, Ernest Mateen, Milton Leaks, Richard Grant, and Sam Ahmad. Of his 24 professional fights, he fought seventeen bouts in Philly and another four in Atlantic City. Taylor was managed by Rob Murray and trained by Bouie Fisher.

During and after his boxing days, Taylor often worked as a union welder. 

Taylor leaves behind, one son, two daughters, and one grandchild. 

Services for Will Taylor are scheduled for 10:00 AM, Friday, March 9, 2012 at Zion Baptist Church, 3600 N. Broad Street, North Philadelphia. 




John DiSanto - News & Notes - March 03, 2012