Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell KO winners in their return

For the entire fight, Jermain Taylor (L) was in complete control of his smaller foe, Jessie Nicklow (R). Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

Friday evening, December 30, 2011 at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Cabazon, CA, Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell made triumphant returns to the ring, both winning by knockout during a special edition of ShoBox: The New Generation on Showtime.


On Friday night, Jermain Taylor (R) dominated Jessie Nicklow (L) en route to an eighth round stoppage. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

Taylor (29-4-1, 18 KOs), of Little Rock, Ark., registered an eighth-round knockout over game but outclassed Jessie Nicklow (22-3-3, 8 KOs) of Baltimore, MD in the main event.

Jermain Taylor poses for a closeup after his victory. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

Taylor, making his first start since October 17, 2009, was in total command and well ahead on points 69-63 on all three scorecards after seven completed rounds when referee Ray Corona stopped the match 36 seconds into the eighth round. Nicklow was adamant that he could have continued but the outcome had long been decided and he had been taking a beating.

Taylor, a former undisputed world middleweight champion, became frustrated by the ever advancing Nicklow. Even though he was landing 65% of his punches and Nicklow barely 21%, he couldn’t drop the smaller foe and even had a point deducted for an irresponsible late hit after the bell sounded in the sixth.

“I felt a little rusty but as the rounds went by I got more comfortable,’’ said Taylor after the fight was stopped. “I wanted to try and go in there and have some fun. We’ll see where I go from here. There’s no timetable. But I’m not going to walk from it. I’ll fight anybody.’’

Regarding the late hit, Taylor said, “I got a little frustrated with him leading with his head so much, but it is something that will never happen again. I apologize to all my fans. It was very unprofessional of me.’’

Andre Dirrell (L) lands a solid left cross on the chin of his opponent, Darryl Cunningham (R). Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

Dirrell (20-1, 14 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, scored two knockdowns en route to a second-round knockout over Darryl Cunningham (24-3, 10 KOs) of Detroit in the Co-feature.

Andre Dirrell acknowledges the cheers of the fight fans at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, CA. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

“I’m just so happy to be back,’’ said Dirrell after this first fight since March 27, 2010. “I wanted it to go further, but I felt really good. My hands felt lighter, my feet felt fast. I’d say I fought at about 99.5 percent, which was more than I could ask for.

“Time will tell what I do next, but I’m going to continue to work hard. There is such a small window. I’m 28 years old. I’m just going to continue to push forward. But I can finally see the big picture again.’’

In a first-rate performance, Luis Garcia (R) recorded a lopsided eight-round decision victory over Alexander Johnson (L) in a collision of undefeated light heavyweights. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

In the opening bout of the telecast, former Cuban amateur standout Luis “El Leon” Garcia (12-0, 9 KOs) of Cork, Ireland, won his United States debut and dealt southpaw Alexander “The Great” Johnson (12-1, 5 KOs, 1 NC) of Oxon Hill, Md., his first defeat on a lopsided eight-round decision.

Garcia, who recently turned 24, performed with poise and thoroughly dismantled Johnson to win every round.

After his victory, Luis Garcia has his arm raised in victory by referee Ray Corona. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

“This was my first fight in over 13 months and I was a little rusty but I am happy to get the win and looking forward to fighting again very soon in the states,’’ said Garcia after triumphing by the scores of 80-71 and 80-72 twice. “I promise I’ll give the fans a much better show next time.’’

The remaining bouts on the Undercard:

In the heavyweight division, Mike Perez (17-0-0, 12 KOs) won a 10 round unanimous decision victory over Friday Ahunanya (24-8-3, 13 KOs).

In the lightweight division, Jose Pedraza (5-0-0, 4 KOs) won by TKO victory at 1:20 of the fifth round over Herbert Quartey (7-6-0, 4 KOs)

In a super featherweight matchup, Alejandro Luna (7-0-0, 6 KOs) won a six round unanimous decision victory over Marcos Herrera (6-7-1, 2 KOs).

In a light welterweight match, Ivan Redkach (8-0-0, 7 KOs) won a TKO victory in the fourth round of a scheduled six rounder over Dillet Frederick (8-4-3, 5 KOs).

Upcoming: ShoBox returns next Friday, January 6, 2012 during a Free Preview Weekend on Showtime, 11 p.m. PT with a doubleheader featuring lightweights. In the main event at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, CA, unbeaten southpaw Luis Ramos (20-0, 9 KOs) of Santa Ana, CA, faces Raymundo Beltran (25-5, 17 KOs) of Los Mochis, Mex. Undefeated prospects Michael “The Artist” Perez (15-0-1, 9 KO’s) of Newark, N. J., and Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. (13-0-1, 10 KO’s) of Weslaco, Tex., clash in the Co-feature.

On Friday, January 20, on ShoBox 11 p.m. PT, the WBA super bantamweight champion Rico Ramos (20-0, 11 KOs), of Whittier, CA, will make a defense against 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games gold medalist and WBA interim champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (8-0, 6 KOs), of Miami, Fla. by way of Cuba at the Pearl at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nev.

On Saturday, February 11, 10 p.m. PT in the main event on Showtime Championship Boxing, they’ll be featuring former world champions Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KO’s) of Ventura, CA, going up against Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KO’s), of Winter Haven, Fla., in a rematch of one of 2011’s most exciting fights at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

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