GOING into the 12th round at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, he had a busted lip and a fractured eye. He had lost nearly two pints of blood. Later, he would spend a night in hospital receiving blood transfusions. Still, Meldrick Taylor was two scorecards up – 108-101 and 107-102. He’d landed nearly 450 punches. There was surely no way he could lose. Except there was.
The rest is history, even if it’s history that won’t quite rest. With two seconds to go, and Taylor, staggering like a drunk in a dark corner, woozy, swollen, knocked down but back on his feet, referee Richard Steele stopped the fight.
After, there were press conferences, noise, complaints. In the immediate moment, Lou Duva, Taylor’s manager, stormed the ring, fury and shock and disappointment mangling his face, “bullshit” the best word he could summon, but the real trauma was Taylor’s. As Steele went to hold him, smiling tenderly, Taylor said it simplest and best: “What?”