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Taylor retains title with unanimous decision!

On Saturday night, from the Alltel Arena in Little Rock, AR, World Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor (26-0-1, 17 KOs) made a successful homecoming in his first return to Little Rock since winning the title, as he retained his WBA/WBC/WBO belts with a unanimous decision over the rugged and determined Kasim Ouma (25-3, 15 KOs).

For the first time in many years, officials emphasized the experiment of open scoring. Taylor consistently backpedaled and nailed Ouma with jabs and right hands, as Ouma constantly pressured the champion with ineffective aggressiveness.

Taylor's power was something that Ouma had never previously seen in his previous 27 fights as a professional, as Taylor was able to functionally cut Ouma's outpoint almost in half. At the end of the day, Taylor won by scores of 115-113, 117-111, and 118-110.

Next for Taylor could either be a super middleweight showdown with World Super Middleweight Champion Joe Calzaghe in 2007, or a rematch with number one middleweight contender Winky Wright, who scored a lopsided victory in his own homecoming last weekend against Ike Quartey. The longer it takes to make a Taylor/Wright rematch, the better Taylor is probably to get and the older Wright is going to become.

Wright demands parity with Taylor, as he refuses to settle for anything less than 50/50. Perhaps Wright is content to fight non-title fights that come his way rather than winning the World Middleweight Championship from the hungry young lion.

Hopefully, the two parties can come to terms in the negotiations and we can see Taylor/Wright II in 2007. Taylor/Wright I was clearly one of the best and most action-packed fights of 2006. If the Taylor/Wright rematch can not happen, Calzaghe/Taylor at 168lbs seems most logical and could be fun to watch as well. First, Calzaghe must get past Contender Season One star Peter Manfredo on March 3, 2007.

Ouma, who was sporting a hat that said "I love Larry Merchant" after the fight was over, would probably be better served to move back down to the jr middleweight class, as his frame is way to small to carry 160 pounds. At 154lbs, Ouma might still be able to make some noise, as his determination, will, and rugged style would appear to be a tremendous advantage to him against boxers in the same weight class as him.

On the undercard, rising Haitian welterweight and Undefeated 2004 Olympian prospect Andre Berto (16-0, 14 KOs) scored one sided sixth round stoppage of Miguel Figueroa (24-6-1, 14 KOs).

Berto's punching power was too much for Figueroa as he staggered him at the end of the round one, and appeared to score a knockdown with a jab in the third round, but referee Laurence Cole ruled it as a slip.

Berto completely outclassed Figueroa to the point when Cole brought an end to the carnage in the sixth round.

Taylor defends tonight against Ouma!

Live tonight from the Alltel Arena in Little Rock, AR, home town favorite and World Middleweight Champion Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor will make the third defense of hit title against Former IBF Jr Middleweight titlist Kasim "The Dream" Ouma.

Taylor last fought on June 17 of this in Memphis, Tennessee against Winky Wright. Taylor and Wright fought to a split draw, in an exciting tussle that sparked plenty of controversy regarding the result. Ouma's last fight took place on August 5 of this year, at the Theater in Madison Square Garden, when Ouma won a ten round unanimous decision over Sechew Powell.

Ouma is moving up in weight to 160lbs for the opportunity to fight for the middleweight championship. His chances, however, would appear to be slim, as he seems to lack the necessary punching power to put Taylor in any type of jeopardy.

In the jr middleweight division, Ouma, who had a high punch output and let his hands go frequently, was not known for his punching power. With the move to middleweight, I do not know what is going to change that.

Ouma's best chance is to try to get inside Taylor's reach advantage, pressure him on the inside, and let his hands go once he is inside Taylor's range. He will have to try to outwork and hopefully outpoint Taylor, but considering the fact that this fight is staged in Taylor's hometown of Little Rock, the chances of Ouma winning a decision are slim to none (and slim left town last Tuesday).

Bernard Hopkins couldn't retain his title in a close fight against Taylor, when he dropped a close split decision to the challenger in July 2005. Wright couldn't get a close decision in Memphis, when he challenged Taylor this past June. I can't see Ouma getting a decision against Taylor in his hometown of Arkansas tonight.

My prediction is that Jermain Taylor is going to win in one way or another. Either a unanimous decision, or a late stoppage. I can see Taylor knocking Ouma out.

Hagler vs Hearns - THE WAR!

Intense. Short but SWEET. Clearly one of the greatest boxing matches in the history of the sport! Promotionally billed as The War, Champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler defended his Undisputed Middleweight Crown against Jr Middleweight King Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns, who was coming up in weight.

Vitali Tsypko: "I want to fight - and beat - Lacy again."

Press Release - Vitali Tsypko agrees with the experts who believe he was on the wrong end of a majority decision when Jeff Lacy last weekend clinched a debatable points victory in front of his hometown fans in Florida. While Larry Merchant and fellow journalists had the Ukrainian ahead, two of the judges controversially awarded the ten-rounder to the former IBF champion (96-94), with the third one scoring it a draw (95-95). "I feel like I have won this fight and I deserve a rematch," the 30-year-old southpaw (19-2, 10 KOs) said. "Lacy might have controlled the first two rounds but I took over in the following.

"I connected more often throughout and wobbled him big time at the end of the eighth round when only the bell saved him from a knock-down. I would have deserved to win."

ESPN´s Dan Rafael holds a similar view. "He (Tsypko) badly rocked Lacy at the end of the eighth round and dominated the final four rounds to do enough, it seemed, to win," Rafael wrote in his online column.

And Ant Evans, who called the result a "hometown decision", reported on "I had Tsypko - who came back from a torrid opening round to bully Lacy at time - a two point winner."

Lacy looked nowhere near the star fighter that had won all of his first 21 fights before getting blown out of the ring by a superb Joe Calzaghe nine months ago. In fact, as the St. Petersburg Times noted, "last March didn´t seem so far away".

Tsypko feels the fight has won him many hearts across the Atlantic.

"I have shown the American audience that I can fight," he vowed. "I want to build on that performance and get another chance to shine. I want to fight - and beat - Lacy again."

Wright/Quartey and Lacy/Tsypko scorecards!

Wright vs Quartey

Round 1: 10-9 Wright
Round 2: 10-9 Wright Total: 20-18
Round 3: 10-9 Wright Total: 30-27
Round 4: 10-9 Wright Total: 40-36
Round 5: 10-9 Wright Total: 50-45
Round 6: 10-9 Quartey Total: 59-55
Round 7: 10-8 Wright Total: 69-63
Round 8: 10-9 Wright Total: 79-72
Round 9: 10-9 Wright Total: 89-81
Round 10: 10-9 Wright Total: 99-90
Round 11: 10-9 Quartey Total: 108-100
Round 12: 10-9 Quartey

Total: 117-110 Wright (9-3)

Closing thoughts: Winky (rated #3 Pound For Pound at Speak Boxing) did exactly what he had to do. He widely defeated a tough former champion who was not coming into the ring to lay down. Quartey has never been KOed and that was not going to change against Wright, who has not scored a knockout in God knows how long. Wright won 9 rounds out of 12. Quartey still fought rather competitively, as he always has. I think he should go back down to 154lbs. He might still be able to make SOME noise there.


Round 1: 10-9 Lacy
Round 2: 10-9 Lacy Total: 20-18 Lacy
Round 3: 10-9 Tsypko Total: 29-28 Lacy
Round 4: 10-9 Tsypko Total 38-38
Round 5: 10-9 Lacy Total: 48-47 Lacy
Round 6: 10-9 Lacy Total: 58-56 Lacy
Round 7: 10-9 Lacy Total: 68-65 Lacy
Round 8: 10-9 Tsypko Total: 77-75 Lacy
Round 9: 10-9 Tsypko Total: 86-85 Lacy
Round 10: 10-9 Tsypko

Final Score: 95-95 (5-5)

Closing thoughts: Tsypko was way too reserved in his attack in the middle rounds and that cost him the fight in my opinion, but the fight taking place in Florida did not do much to help Tsypko's cause either. Tsypko did, however, close the show strongly enough to earn a draw on my scorecard. Lacy looked horrible in this fight; perhaps he is damaged from the thrashing at the hands of Joe Calzaghe, but it will take a couple fights to determine whether or not that is truly the case. I saw no improvements in his fight game, coming off the loss to Calzaghe, whatsoever. He still fights with the same style he brought into the ring against Calzaghe.

Wright outpoints Quartey!

Lacy escapes with razor thin majority decision!

Tonight, in the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, FL, Former two-time Jr Middleweight Champion and number one Middleweight Contender Winky Wright (51-3-1, 25 KOs) kept his ranking in tact with a convincing unanimous decision over Former Welterweight Champion Ike Quartey (37-4-1, 31 KOs) .

The fight was a homecoming of sorts for Wright, who was making his ring appearance in Tampa in fourteen years. Wright was credited with knockdowns in rounds two and seven. In the 2nd round, Wright managed to score a knockdown of Quartey, a moment in which the feet of the two combatants got tangled, Quartey was hit with a shot, and went down. In the seventh round, Wright knocked Quartey off balance, Quartey's glove touched his ankle (not the canvas), and the referee inexcusably ruled it a knockdown.

Wright went on to win by scores of 117-110, 117-110, and 117-109. I scored the fight 117-110 Wright, giving Wright only a 10-9 score in the second round, a round I felt Quartey easily won outside of the knockdown.

In a brutal undercard fight, Former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Jeff Lacy (22-1, 17 KOs) returned to the ring, for the first time since his one sided loss to Super Middleweight Kingpin Joe Calzaghe last March, to narrowly and defeat Vitali Tsypko (19-2, 10 KOs) by majority decision.

Lacy started strong in the early rounds, but it was Tsypko who hung tough and gradually got stronger as the rounds went on. Tsypko won the final three rounds on my scorecards, but did not do quite enough to sway two of the three officials, who awarded the fight to Lacy. Scores: 95-95, 96-94 Lacy (twice). I scored the fight a draw at 95-95.

The performance failed to impress fans and backers of Lacy who want to see him make a successful return after the thrashing he suffered at the hands of Calzaghe earlier this year.