ATLANTIC CITY, JAN. 19 -- Meldrick Taylor set a blistering pace in the bout's first half and scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Aaron Davis tonight to win the World Boxing Association welterweight championship.

It is the second world title for the 1984 Olympic champion, who was the International Boxing Federation junior welterweight champion before losing to Julio Cesar Chavez.

Davis could not deal with Taylor's speed in the first six rounds as he took his first loss after 32 victories, 20 by knockout.

Judge Frank Cairo scored it 115-112, while judges Vincent Rainone and Phil Newman each favored Taylor 116-111.

Taylor (26-1-1 with 14 knockouts) mixed his attack to the head and body and dominated the first four rounds, shaking Davis three times.

Taylor, however, was penalized a point by referee Arthur Mercante in the second round for hitting low.

Davis, who weighed 145 1/2 pounds, one-half pound more than Taylor, had an edge in the fifth round, when he scored with several short blows to the head. Taylor took control again in the sixth round.

The pace slowed in the last five rounds and Davis scored with several sharp left jabs.

It was obvious to the crowd of 2,800 that Taylor was headed for the championship as the fight entered the final round. Taylor knew it too, spending most of the final three minutes circling Davis.

Taylor, 24, of Philadelphia, and Davis, 23, of New York, each made $525,000.

In a 10-round welterweight bout, James "Buddy" McGirt (51-2-1) of Brentwood, N.Y., knocked down Philadelphia's Joe Alexander (16-16-2) three times and stopped him at 2:40 of the ninth round.

There was an upset in another 10-round welterweight fight, when Curtis Summitt (16-5) of White Plains, N.Y., knocked out Engels Pedroza of Las Vegas at 1:08 of the 10th round. Pedroza (31-3) was unsteady as he was taken to a hospital.