TO this day, when he hears a 10-second warning bell, Shannan Taylor still jumps.
The sharp noise 10 seconds before the main bell that ends a round are commonplace in most gyms these days, but that wasn't the case when Taylor fought the then pound-for-pound king Shane Mosley in 2001.
It saw him relax just slightly when it sounded two minutes and 50 seconds into the first round of their WBC welterweight title bout at Caesars Palace. It was all Mosley needed to deliver a right hand that fans felt all the way back in Bulli.
“We had a rules meeting and no one said anything about a 10-second warning bell,” Taylor recalls.
“I'd never boxed to it ever. I heard it and I relaxed, even Mosley said afterwards that I was focused and then I relaxed. Mosley in his prime was that fast you couldn't even see it.
“Most gyms have them now and scares the shit out of me every time. How I got up from that knockdown I don't know.”
It would have left even the most granite-chinned fighters down for the count, but Taylor beat the count and went another four rounds with the best fighter on the planet.
It prompted HBO analyst and boxing great George Foreman to observe on the call “this guys Taylor just keeps coming back,” though the man himself remains grateful to Johnny Lewis for pulling the pin after a devastating body shot at the end of round five.
“I'd like to thank Johnny Lewis for pulling me out of the fight going into the sixth because I had another 35 fights after that,” Taylor said.
“I've got 24 belts at home and I won most of them after the Mosley fight. If I had have gone on I might never have fought again.”
The honourable defeat to the world's best ended a 28-fight undefeated streak that saw the 'Bulli Blaster’ KO six former world champions.
It followed a 137-fight amatuer career – including a win over Seoul Olympics silver medalist Spike Cheney at just 17 – and first round and third-round stoppages of Livingstone Bramble, Jake 'the snake’ Rodriguez respectively.
It was stellar record of such quality, Mosley himself felt compelled to offer him a shot at his treasured WBC welterweight strap.
“I met him in 2000 when I fought on the undercard of his [first] fight with Oscar de la Hoya. I walked into the lift and he was there,” Taylor said.
“He said ‘you've knocked six world champions out how have you not had a world title fight, you deserve one'. He said ‘I win tomorrow night against Oscar and you're getting a shot’ and he gave it to me.”
He bolstered that resume with multiple world titles in 35 more bouts to finish his career at 52-10-3. It will see him inducted into the Australian Boxing Hall of Fame next month.
“It's a very proud moment after 30 years in boxing, 137 amatuer fights, 65 pro fights, probably 3000 spars,” he said.
“To be recognised alongside guys like Jeff Fenech, Lester Ellis, Barry Michael… it's a huge honour.”
The gratitude deepens when he reflects on the path he's walked to get there, including a well-publicised accidental drug overdose that left him fighting for life in 2011.
The fight back from that was tougher than any he fought in the ring and makes his induction all the more special.
“I've lived a naughty life but I'm a good boy now,” he says with a grin.
“I've got a beautiful girlfriend Kathy, I wish I had her in the prime of my career, I'd have got in less trouble. I've got to thank my mum and dad, my sister – my number one supporter.
“I've had great coaches, Billy Corbett, Billy Boyce, Peter Lindsay, Wayne Mullholland, Frankie Gatt, Jeff Fenech. I just thank everyone who's supported me over the years.”