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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.