Former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor's application for a boxing license has been approved by a 5-0 vote of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, paving the way for his return to the ring two years after he suffered a brain bleed in a knockout loss to Arthur Abraham.
Taylor, along with adviser Al Haymon, appeared in person at the commission meeting on Wednesday, at which Taylor answered questions from the members.
"Jermain spoke for quite a while. He answered questions and explained the different aspects of his training and career," commission executive director Keith Kizer told ESPN.com. "He talked about his plans for the future and the lessons he's learned. He came across really well."
The unanimous vote did not come as a big surprise, because a week earlier Taylor's path was essentially cleared when the commission's medical advisory panel offered a 5-0 recommendation that the commission approve him.
In Taylor's last fight, he was knocked out in the 12th round by Abraham in Berlin in the opening stage of Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic. He suffered a minor subdural hematoma -- bleeding on the brain -- and short-term memory loss.
A few months later, Taylor dropped out of the round-robin tournament and stepped away from boxing, although he did not announce his retirement.
After a long rest, Taylor (28-4-1, 17 KOs), 33, began to lay the groundwork for a comeback. He underwent a battery of tests by multiple doctors, including his own neurologist in his hometown of Little Rock, Ark., at the Mayo Clinic and at the Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.
Taylor also reunited with his original trainer, Pat Burns, who had led Taylor to the middleweight championship in the first of two decision wins against Bernard Hopkins. At Burns' insistence, Taylor promised he would return to the 160-pound middleweight division rather than fight in the 168-pound middleweight division, where he had suffered three of his defeats -- 12th-round knockouts to Abraham and Carl Froch and a decision to Kelly Pavlik in their rematch.
"Jermain's basic point to the commission was that he was fighting too heavy, that 168 pounds was too heavy," Kizer said. "He said he was starting training camps at 200 pounds and that his training camps were basically weight loss camps, which is why he faded late in fights. He said, 'I've learned my lesson. Now I know the consequences.'
"He was very straightforward on that stuff. He said he will fight at 160 and not let his weight get too high between fights."
In addition to hearing from Taylor and having the medical advisory panel's recommendation, the commission also had a letter from Dr. Timothy J. Trainor, who is the commission's consulting research physician, recommending that Taylor be licensed.
"I have thoroughly reviewed the comprehensive medical records pertaining to combatant Jermain Taylor," Trainor wrote. "In this regard, it is noted that his physical and ophthalmologic examinations were found to be completely normal. In addition, his current ECG, CXR, HIV, hepatitis panel, chemistry panel, CBC, and urinalysis are all unremarkable. Furthermore, his current cerebral MRA and MRI are normal.
"As you are aware, Mr. Taylor has a history of a subdural hematoma following a boxing match in Germany in October 2009. As a result of this prior history, Mr. Taylor has undergone extensive additional testing including multiple MRI and MRA scans, neuropsychological testing, evaluation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and evaluation at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health here in Las Vegas. He has been examined by both neurologists and neurosurgeons. All of these evaluations have demonstrated him to be medically fit to compete in boxing, not discounting the risk of head and brain injury that all unarmed combatants take.
"Furthermore, the Nevada State Athletic Commission Medical Advisory Panel recently convened to discuss the medical safety of Mr. Taylor continuing his boxing career. The meeting was held on Sept. 22, 2011. The conclusion of the MAP was that it would be medically safe to grant Mr. Taylor a boxing license. Therefore, I am confident that it is medically safe to grant Mr. Taylor a license to compete in boxing and agree that this combatant is medically cleared for unarmed combat."
When Taylor will return to the ring and against whom has not been determined, although it probably will not be in Nevada, even though that is where he has a license.
Taylor had planned an Aug. 13 comeback in Little Rock, a fight Showtime agreed to televise. However, Taylor was not yet licensed anywhere in the United States.
Rather than go for one in a state with weak regulations, Taylor and Haymon opted for Nevada, one of the strictest states in nation when it comes to licensing fighters. Now that Taylor is licensed in Nevada, he would likely be licensed in any other state.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.