Jermain Taylor rose out of Little Rock, Arkansas to become undisputed world middleweight champion and really now, at the age of 33, ought to be living off the fruits of his past labours.
Instead Taylor is preparing to lace on the gloves again for the second time in an unlikely comeback, in a much darker world than the Las Vegas lights he once graced with aplomb.
Taylor takes on Caleb Truax in Biloxi, Mississippi on April 20, four months after he ended a 26-month retirement with an eighth-round win over Jessie Nicklow in California.
Truax has built up an unbeaten 19-fight record against opponents for whom the phrase 'club fighter' would be an exalted sobriquet. They include Jonathan Reid, a fighter on a nine-fight losing streak when Truax took nine rounds to beat him in 2010.
But the quality of Truax is hardly the point. While Taylor, his long-time trainer Patrick Burns and promoter Lou Di Bella talk about returning to title contention, others cross their fingers and hope for his health.
Taylor suffered a small brain bleed after being brutally knocked out by Arthur Abraham in October 2009. It was Taylor's fourth loss in five fights, having also fallen to Carl Froch and twice to Kelly Pavlik.
Clearly Taylor, who made his name as an irresistible force whose sheer will to win swept him past Bernard Hopkins in July 2005 and again in a rematch five months later, was a spent force.
However, despite obvious medical concerns, he has been re-licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, one of the toughest and most thorough of all on health checks.
"This is the old-new Jermain," Taylor insists. "I am back to working really hard and I am really focused.
"This fight is another step towards regaining my championship. I know what it takes to become champion again."
Burns claims Taylor is in better shape than he was when he first faced Hopkins, which is clearly a preposterous assertion.
Di Bella issued a more sober assessment. "Truax is an appropriate next step in giving Jermain the best opportunity to pace himself," he said.
Whatever Nevada's eminent physicians say, Taylor's health issues will not go away easily. His career looked over long before he walked into jolting knockout shots at the hands of Abraham and Froch.
At his peak, Taylor was a fine fighter who deserved plaudits for fighting the right way against the best opponents out there. His attacking style ensured his reign at the top of the sport was always likely to be shortlived.
Taylor is doing neither himself nor his sport any favours by lacing the gloves back on. He can only tarnish his legacy in casino towns ill-suited to the career of a man who once shone on the biggest stage of all.