Photo: Stephanie Trapp
Julian “JRoc” Williams 22-1-1(14KO’s) spent the better part of last year calling out Jermall Charlo, 25-0(19KO’s) successfully goading him into remaining in the Junior Middleweight division to defend his IBF title against him.
Charlo had designs on moving north to middleweight where the bigger fights with bigger purses are but chose to face his mandatory Williams to answer the angry rhetoric. Charlo not only closed the show in spectacular fashion, he may also have made himself one of the top must watch fighters in the world.
The opening round showed both fighters countering with speed and precise punches. Each took turns landing hooks and feinting to set traps. In the second Charlo landed a stiff jab on the face of a forward moving Williams to send him to the canvas, Williams would recover and win the rest of the round with impressive counterpunches.
In the third Charlo controlled the ring and position of the fight only to see Williams counter more effectively in the following round. It was a tight fight, fought at a high level until Charlo landed a hard right uppercut under a Williams left hand to drop Williams in a wonky, knock kneed flop. Williams made it to his feet but the end was near and Charlo smelled the blood in the water, a flurry of punches punctuated by a left hook put Jroc down again prompting referee Wayne Hedgepeth to call a halt to the action at 2:06 of the fifth round.
Following the fight Williams walked over to congratulate Charlo but was denied when Charlo said “I don’t want your congratulations” prompting the crowd to boo him until he exited the arena. Afterwards Charlo apologized on air during his post-fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray saying “I just want to tell Julian Williams I’m sorry”. It was a heat of the moment incident that culminated in a sensational victory for Charlo, there was plenty of trash talking by Williams to understand why he may have took the pre-fight banter personal. The adrenaline and heart pumping energy hadn’t had time to subside and Charlo showed complete class by owning it. Even though he didn’t need to.
With all of the rigmarole of the apology, the important part of his post fight interview was Charlo calling out Canelo Alvarez. “I want to move up but I would stay at 154 for a big fight, I want Canelo” “Where you at Canelo?”.