- David Cooper, Boxing
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A round-by-round account of the middleweight showdown between champion Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor (25-0-1, 17 KOs) and challenger Ronald "Winky" Wright (50-3-1, 25 KOs) at the FedEx Forum in Memphis:
The bell sounds and it's a battle of southpaws. Taylor offers a left hook about 30 seconds into the fight. Wright maintains his trademark defense. Wright lands a right jab. Taylor is throwing more punches, but most of them are blocked. Taylor continues to throw his left jab. Taylor scores with a right. Wright lands a left jab. Taylor keeps his hands low, while Wright has his hands high throughout the round. Wright scores with a left. Taylor scores with two body shots.
Taylor continues his aggressiveness; Wright remains steadfast defensively, but lands his right hand consistently. Both fighters step up the pace. Taylor scores with a right, then a left. Wright pursues Taylor, scoring with his right jab. Wright is getting more confident, sticking his right. Taylor's left hook is blocked. Wright scores with a left.
Taylor measures Wright with his left jab. Wright still is dictating the action, coming forward at Taylor. Taylor is landing combinations, but Wright offsets the charge. Taylor is more methodical, but Wright lands a left. Taylor responds with another combination. Wright lands a right. Taylor counters, working the body. Taylor scores with a right. Wright lands another left. Wright sticks his right jab. Taylor's right is blocked, and continues punching after the round ends.
Taylor comes out and lands two quick combinations to the body. Wright counters with his own combination. Wright lands a right, only to have Taylor respond with multiple shots, and scoring. The pace continues to be methodical for both fighters, both trading shots. Wright lands several shots, cornering Taylor briefly. Wright lands a right, but Taylor counters with multiple shots. Taylor is landing more body shots as the bell sounds.
Taylor comes out of the box flaring his left jab. Taylor slips in a quick right. Wright continues his pursuit. Taylor, backing up, still fires combinations that are taking effect. Wright doesn't back off, landing a combination of his own. Taylor still has answers for him. Taylor's series of lefts is blocked. Wright scores with a combination with Taylor cornered.
Wright lands a 1-2 10 seconds into the round. Taylor moves out to the center of the ring. Taylor lands a pair of body shots. Taylor keeps Wright at bay with his left jab, for the moment. Both fighters measure each other, then Wright attacks. Taylor responds with several combinations. Wright backs Taylor into a corner once more. But Taylor is scoring. Taylor lands a right. Wright looks to rally late in the round. Taylor scores with a left-right combination. Taylor finishes aggresively as the bell sounds.
Wright opens his pursuit once again. Wright unleashes a combination that does not have much effect. Then, it's Taylor's turn to fire back, and he scores with several effective shots. Wright withstands the barrage. Now both fighters go toe-to-toe, trading punches. Wright drives Taylor into a corner once more, but Taylor escapes, and comes back swinging. Taylor lands several lefts. Wright keeps on coming, though, hitting Taylor with rights and lefts. Taylor still has the better power punches in this round.
The round starts slowly. Taylor comes through with multiple shots, ending with one to the body. Wright comes right back with a combination of his own. Taylor fires a left jab. Wright gets in close, but his punches are blocked. Taylor retaliates, but his attack is rebuffed. Wright lands a right, then a left, backing Taylor into a corner. Taylor comes back with a combination. Wright scores with a left. Both fighters trade shots at the end.
The activity between both fighters increases slightly. Taylor keeps Wright at a distance longer in this round. Wright comes in to attack; Taylor counters effectively, landing a series of punches that land. Taylor works the body. Wright comes back with a flurry. Taylor's left eye is swelling. Wright gets in close again. Taylor responds.
Wright pursues Taylor, but neither is throwing much of anything. Taylor is warned for pushing down Wright. Taylor unleashes his power, landing a slew of shots. Wright comes right back with his barrage on Taylor. It's been back-and-forth throughout. Taylor scores with a 1-2. Wright works the body in the corner. Taylor fights his way out of it.
The round opens with both fighters knowing the bout is close. Both fighters butt heads a couple of times in the round. Taylor's left eye appears shut. Wright scores with a combination. Taylor counters with an overhead right. Taylor finds himself in the corner again, but Wright keeps his distance. Wright comes in again with a 1-2. Taylor fires back. Wright again has Taylor in the corner, throwing combinations. Who wants the round? In the final 10 seconds, Winky starts dancing, but neither fighter throws a punch.
Wright comes out swinging with a series of lefts. Taylor winds to unleash his right but does not have an opening. Wright is measuring again, sticking a right jab. Wright keeps his distance this time, then throws a right-left. Wright appears more active. Taylor is waiting. Taylor gets in a combination with a minute left in the round. Taylor becomes more aggressive now. Twenty seconds left. Wright moves around not punching, as if he's won the fight. Taylor wins the round virtually by default.
The official judges score it 115-113 Taylor; 115-113 Wright; and 114-114 tie. The fight is declared a draw. Taylor retains his middleweight title.
David Cooper is ESPN.com's boxing editor.