By Tom Donelson (BWAA)
Author, Member Boxers Writers Association of America
Boxing is the theater of the unexpected and one of the most unpredictable thing to predict is how a judge will view a fight. Jermell Charlo / Tony Harrison fight was one of those fights that many of us watching the fight saw Charlo the winner but the judges had it for Tony Harrison. Charlo was the aggressor throughout the fight and landed an average of three punches more per round and I had him up by 117-111. While much of the audience were stunned, Charlo allowed Harrison to stay in the fight. He never dominated the fight as the favorite he was and while he stunned Harrison in the last round, he could not finish off Harrison. Compubox saw that Charlo landed more punches in 9 of the 12 rounds but many of these rounds were close and decided by a punch or two so we saw many close rounds, very similar to the Fury – Wilder fight in which there were many close rounds. The difference in the Charlo-Harrison fight was that Charlo never had Harrison in trouble until the twelve whereas in the Fury – Wilder fight, Wilder twice nearly stopped the bout but for the ability of Fury to remained standing against two very brutal knockdown that would have stopped most fighters.
Jermell Charlo may have shown that he would certainly be an underdog against Jarrett Hurd, who is probably the best Super Welterweight in the world and who stopped Harrison when they both fought. Charlo fought a tactical fight and while he was the aggressor, Harrison did effective counterpunching at selected times in the fight. In my view, there were four rounds easy to score but there were eight rounds that were close as Compubox numbers attest. The judges gave most of those rounds to Harrison and they were more impressed with Harrison’s counter punching than Charlo aggressive tactics.
Dominic Breazeale scored a one-punch knockout of Carlos Negron in the ninth round of an entertaining heavyweight bout. Breazeale, with his eyes on Wilder’s belt and with Wilder in the audience watching, was hoping to make a statement. While Breazeale dominated most of the fight, it was not an easy fight as Negron landed a few solid shots of his own as a counter puncher. Breazeale nearly ended the bout at the end of the fourth round when he landed a big right as the bell ended the round, but in the fifth and throughout the sixth, Negron came back with counterpunches of his own and gave himself a chance at an upset. Breazeale finally got control of the bout in the seventh round as his strength took hold and in the ninth, he ended with one big right hand.
Breazeale went on to challenge Wilder after the fight for a shot at his title but we won’t know whether Wilder will give him that shot or look for a bout with Anthony Joshua or rematch with Tyson Fury. Regardless, Breazeale got himself in line for a title shot but right now, the heavyweight has a logjam as Fury draw with Wilder has produced a three way jam at the top with Fury established as a legitimate threat to Joshua-Wilder reign as the best heavyweight and Dillion Whyte late stoppage of Dereck Chisora puts him in the conversation as a title contender, maybe in front of Breazeale.
For the main event, Jermall Charlo came out defending his interim Middleweight title against Russian Matt Korobov, who gave a good account of himself. Charlo looked more like a fighter who wanted to revenge his twin brother’s defeat than a fighter who needed to fight a more smarter fight against a canny opponent. Korobov counterpunch effectively out of his southpaw stance and throughout the first half of the fight, Charlo looked puzzled as he kept getting nailed with straight lefts. At the halfway mark, I had the fight four rounds to two in favor of Korobov and wasn’t until the sixth round that he started to connect with solids straight right against Korobov and I had him winning six of the last seven rounds as he certainly lost most of the early rounds.
It was until the last round did Charlo get Korobov in trouble as he nailed Korobov with big shots repeatedly but Korobov refused to go down. I had this fight 115-113 for Charlo and while the judges agreed that Charlo won the fight, they had a bigger spread and I couldn’t understand the 119-108 score at all. There was no way that Korobov won only one round and Charlo got credit for a 10-8 round on that card. The other cards were reasonable at 116-112.
Charlo fought a poor first half of the fight but adjusted over the second half but is he ready for Alvarez, who is the present king of the Middleweight or triple G’s? Based on this fight, I would even rate Danny Jacob a slight favorite.