Taylor, Maskaev Win Lopsided Decisions To Retain World Titles

By Francis Walker
Updated: December 12, 2006

NEW YORK — Little Rock’s Jermain Taylor (26-0, 17 KOs) retained his WBC/WBO world middleweight championship with a unanimous 12-round decision against former junior middleweight champion, Kassim Ouma (25-3-1, 15 KOs) on Saturday.

Also, Oleg Maskaev (34-5, 26 KOs) kept the WBC heavyweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Peter Okhello (18-5, 6 KOs). Maskaevâ’s first title defense was also the first world heavyweight championship fight to ever be held in Russia.

Firstly, Taylor continues to take one tough fight after another. Last year, Taylor ended Bernard Hopkins’ 10-year grasp on the world middleweight championship.

Taylor beat Hopkins twice on decisions in two very close fights. This year, Taylor needed to win the final round to escape his second defense of the 160-pound title with a disputed draw against Winky Wright.

Title defense number three was against a younger, 27-year-old, Ugandan in Ouma. The challenger had the reputation for throwing a lot of punches and applying pressure.

Before meeting the 28-year-old Taylor, Ouma easily outclassed previously unbeaten junior middleweight contender Sechew Powell through ten rounds in his hometown of Madison Square Garden, New York City.

The WBC mandated that open scoring would take into effect. After the fourth and eighth rounds, the official scorecards for the bout would be announced publicly.

After the first four rounds, Taylor was ahead 40-36 on all the cards. After the eighth round, the judges had Taylor leading 80-72, 80-73, and 78-74.

It was clear Ouma needed a knockout to beat Taylor. Taylor was simply too strong and was unfazed by Ouma’s punches. The champ’s trademark left jabs and strong right hands found their mark. Taylor was consistent in his most dominant performance as world middleweight champion.

Ouma was game. He threw 701 punches (Taylor threw 597) and moved forward in his attempts to pressure the champion. However, Taylor was the better polished and harder fighter.

Taylor’s punches had plenty of pop and may of them snapped Ouma head back. Taylor did out land Ouma 244-177.

Taylor was ahead on the three judges’ scorecards 118-110, and 117-111, and a questionable 115-113.

Ouma deserved the opportunity to fight Taylor, but was clear that Ouma did not have the power or the boxing skill to put Taylor’s title reign in jeopardy.

Taylor will remain at 160 pounds, a weight he has fought at since he began his professional career in January 2001. A rematch with Winky Wright, Arthur Abraham, Edison Miranda, and Sergio Mora are possible opponents for Taylor in 2007.

Maskaev Retains Title

Maskaev, a 37-year-old from Zhambul, Kazakhstan (now living in Sacramento, CA) won the WBC heavyweight championship when he knocked out Hasim Rahman the twelfth round of their showdown in August.

Maskaev was offered a unification title fight with IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko less than three months of preparation, but Maskaev declined.

It was not surprising that Maskaev’s first defense would be against a fighter who was 1) a relative unknown and 2) lacked experience against world class opposition.

The most recognizable names on Okhello’s resume victories against Imamu Mayfield, Sinan Samil, and a third-round knockout loss to Kali Meehan, who was knocked out by Rahman and former WBO heavyweight champion, Lamon Brewster.

Maskaev scored a knockdown of Okhello, 34, Kampala, Uganda, in the tenth round before cruising to victory. The three judges at ringside scored the fight 120-107 (twice) and 118-109.