Jermain Going Down

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- After three tough bouts, it's time for middleweight champion Jermain Taylor to face an easier opponent in front of a hometown crowd, the boxer's promoter says.

Promoter Lou DiBella says the Little Rock native's next defense will be at North Little Rock's Alltel Arena in October or November against a "straight-ahead fighter where Jermain can showcase his offensive skills," the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Monday. DiBella didn't mention any names.

DiBella said Taylor won't fight a rematch anytime soon against Winky Wright, whom he fought to a draw Saturday night in Memphis, Tenn.

Taylor has fought his last three bouts against some of the toughest opposition in boxing, beating champion Bernard Hopkins in two close decisions last year and taking on Wright, who hadn't lost in almost seven years, in his first title defense.

Wright stormed out of the ring in disgust after the draw was announced, but DiBella said it was a great, close fight.

"You can debate about whether he lost the fight by a point or won the fight by a point or two, but the judges had it as a draw," he said. "We have no argument with that, and Jermain Taylor is still champion."

Taylor expressed frustration that the Wright fight wasn't the vindication he was looking for.

"It's always something with me, isn't it?" Taylor said. "It's always close fights. Now I just feel like I have to prove myself in the next fight."