4/7/2018-Las Vegas, Nv. There was some pretty good activity taking place tonight. On the surface, one might think that 45 rounds and only ONE droppage would be boring, and that ONE came in the last minute of the last round.
Julian (J-Rock) Williams (24-1-1-1ND) v. Nathaniel Gallimore (20-1-17K)
This was the fight I was worried about. My Philly Boi, Williams, was facing a guy that I thought would be nothing BUT trouble. The tall, hard punching Jamaican Gallimore, reminds me of Nicholas Walters, The Axeman, always a threat. But trainer Breadman Stephens had J-Rock finely tuned and firing on all cylinders. Aside from a few anxious moments (VERY few), Gallimore was taken to school and told to ‘take notes’ on Boxing, 101. Boxing smoothly and obviously surprising Gallimore with his power, J-Rock had Nate in check, big time. On more than one occasion, Gallimore was on shaky pins at the end of a couple of rounds. Boxing smoothly, striking when he was in range and showing beautiful movement, this was the best I’ve seen Williams look. At times, Nathaniel seemed totally perplexed by the talented Williams. Many times when he thought he had Williams lined up, he’d fire a big shot that was either easily slipped or blocked effortlessly. I gave Gallimore about four rounds but somehow the one judge (ANOTHER LADY), score the fight 114-114. Vegas is gonna’ have to do something about this shit. This was an eliminator for the IBF Jr. middleweight crown and my Boi is firmly in the mix. Great job J-Rock and Bread. At the end of the match, Sam (where’s the camera) Watson was chewing on Williams’ ear like he was Mike Tyson, I didn’t know he was William’s assistant trainer.
James DeGale (23-2-1-14K) v. Caleb Truax (29-3-2D-18K) were in a rematch of their IBF 168lb. tiff which was won by Truax first time around. This was a title bout but honestly, these guys didn’t look like more than average guys. This was a bloody mess with numerous head butts low blows, shoulder rams, just a sloppy affair. There were no sharp punches, no combinations, just two guys that resembled barroom brawlers. Worse part was, from the start, I could tell this mess was going the distance. Seriously folks, I can’t put my finger on anything impressive about this struggle. I can’t recall a fighter that was as accurate with his head butts as DeGale was, ramming Truax’s chin almost every time. He should’ve worn an extra glove. This was a fight where you didn’t care who won, just glad when it ended. To the surprise of many, the crown switched heads as Degale was awarded a split decision. Now THAT did surprise me, the parts I DID see, Truax seemed to have a sloppy edge. The scores read, 117-110 Truax (which was wide) and 114-113 DeGale, ho hum.
Jarrett Hurd (21-0-15K) v. Erislandy Lara (25-2-2D-14K)
The main event lived up to its billing in a hard fought, bombs away deal which saw undefeated IBF champ Hurd, the defense challenged brawler trying to end the career of ‘ol vet, WBA champ, Lara. I figured this would be the last go ‘round for the slick, stylish Cuban boxer. Hurd seems to think he doesn’t need defense as long as he has the size and strength advantage over most ‘54’s. But I will go on record saying, if he fights Jermell Charlo and gets hit flush as much as he did tonight, he’ll get stopped. Time and again the southpaw Lara would ram Hurd with straight lefts and booming right uppercuts. Hurd, like a robot would just trudge forward, I guess he felt, at SOME point, Lara would get tired of drilling him. Hurd reminds me of an Iran Barkley, that just plows straight ahead, digesting shit until he wears you down. I was at the Lara-Angulo fight where Lara was dropped a couple of times but fought like a real warrior in rallying to stop Angulo. Tonight he was JUST as sharp and accurate as he was then. Hurd looked like he outweighed Lara by some 15lbs. As he walked through Lara’s bombs, Hurd would bully his smaller foe to the ropes and rip vicious left hooks to the body. Early on, the shots didn’t seem to faze Lara, but you just KNEW at some point they would register. By choice or necessity, Lara started finding himself in an inside battle where Hurd showed that size DOES matter. By the eighth round, Lara was in deep trouble,. Those body shots and ripping uppercuts were wearing his ass out. Though he was able to stand and deliver, his accurate shots had no real impact. With his face and eyes swollen and unable to get away, Lara was a sitting duck, being overpowered. In the final round, Lara was again forced to trade shots and was battered by the steamrolling Hurd. A short right uppercut followed by a sizzling left hook dropped the worn out Lara to all fours. Now THIS is where I think he got some love from ref Robert Byrd (what’s with the Byrds, anyway)? His wife is sight challenged and Robert gave Lara way to much time at this juncture. Normally, when a guy goes down, and his opponent immediately goes to a corner the ref starts his count. This time, Byrd was ushering Hurd to the corner as Lara was on one knee. He should’ve already started his count. Add to that, when Lara was on his feet, he asked, “you ok, you wanna’ fight, you sure, come to me, give me your gloves”. This was way too much conversation, imo. This robbed Hurd of the chance to stop Lara. Perhaps Byrd wanted to give the former champ respect for the battle he had waged, so I’m not mad. Lara was able to finish and though he showed a huge heart and a shitload of courage in the fight, he paid a price and his face showed. If he was a bigger puncher, he might’ve at least dropped Hurd as he stopped him in his tracks a few times. Overall, a helluva’ war and now, Hurd has two belts but if he doesn’t at least learn how to SPELL defense, he won’t be able to just soak up shots against the bigger hitting guys, LIKE Charlo.