PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - December 10, 2016 
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Stephanie Trappe / Showtime


IBF junior middleweight champion Jermall Charlo, 25-0, 19 KOs, chopped down #1 contender, Julian Williams, of West Philly, 22-1-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC, in the fifth round of their scheduled 12-round world title bout Saturday night at the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles. The champion dropped Williams in round two and then finished him off with two knockdowns in round five.

After a close first round that could have gone either way, Charlo nailed Williams with a stiff left jab in round two that jolted the challenger and sent him stumbling to the canvas. Williams was surprised by the punch but appeared to recover quickly. However, the punch was an omen of things to come in the electrifying title bout. 

After the knockdown, Williams bounced back well in round three. He landed his own blows and slipped many of those thrown by the champion. Again in round four, Williams chipped away at the scoring deficit he found himself in after the knockdown. At the end of the fourth round, Williams had pulled to within a point on my scorecard. I had it two rounds apiece, but Charlo had an extra point for the knockdown. 

Midway through the fifth round, it appeared that Williams had fully adjusted to Charlo's attack and was finding his route to victory.

Looking confident, Williams landed a straight right hand to the head of Charlo. The champion took the punch, held his ground and then let loose a brutal right uppercut that sent Williams to the canvas.

Williams climbed to his feet, but nearly stumbled back to the floor. He remained standing and signaled that he was ready to continue. Referee Wayne Hedgpeth allowed him back into the fight, and the champion swarmed him with a furious attack. 

Charlo threw punch after punch as Williams twisted and turned, trying to avoid being hit. Julian did not however ever hold which allowed Charlo to keep swinging until he found the mark. 

Finally a hard left hook hit Williams on the jaw and the West Philadelphian toppled to the canvas for the third time. The moment he hit the deck, referee Hedgpeth halted the fight and called it a knockout at 2:06 of round five. 

The sudden end was a big disappointment for Williams and his followers. It was his first defeat and quickly reset his place among the top of the junior middleweight division.

Williams fought well at times in the fight, but he was no match for the powerful champion, at least not on this night. 

After the fight, Williams walked to Charlo's corner to congratulate him, but the champion rebuffed his concession. Charlo's lack of sportsmanship drew loud boos from the California crowd and sent social media buzzing.

Charlo's win was emphatic and impressive, but his behavior after the bout tainted his fine victory. Even before the fight, Charlo said that after fighting Williams, he would leave the 154 pound division to campaign as a middleweight. Once the fight was over, thoughts of a potential Charlo vs. Golovkin fight at 160 pounds began to tantalize fans. It is an exciting match up and would probably be a great fight. 

For Williams, it is back to the drawing board. However, he showed excellent skills and heart in the fight, and after regrouping, should be able to return to top-tier action. 

The one concern here is how Williams will respond emotionally to the defeat. It was a clear-cut loss with no room for excuses. He lost to an excellent fighter. This is no disgrace, but sometimes modern fighters have trouble overcoming the concept that they are not perfect. When boxers compete at the top level, against the very best of their class, they take the risk of being beaten.

An undefeated record seems to be the currency of greatness these days. However, a loss does not spell the end for any fighter unless he himself makes that defeat insurmountable.

Williams is a humble and grounded man and an excellent fighter. Although this loss will be hard for him to swallow, there is no reason he can not return and still keep his championship dreams alive.

He was ready for this opportunity, but came in a bit light on experience. He's been in with the best now, and managed to prove some important things with his performance.

Williams could not beat Jermall Charlo this time, but he still has a future in the ring. Disappointment can carry him to great things, if he is able put it in perspective and fight on.




John DiSanto - Los Angeles (via Showtime) - December 10, 2016