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Tony Harrison Stars as the Grinch Who Stole Victory

By: Kirk Jackson

Leave it to Tony Harrison 28-2 (21 KO’s) to spoil plans for one particular family this holiday season. While the newly crowned WBC junior middleweight champion isn’t a Grinch per say, Harrison certainly ruined the evening of the Charlo twins, capturing his first world title in a well-fought, boxing master-class this past weekend.

Harrison placed together a great game-plan; consistently jabbing, fighting effectively on his back foot, moving offline, moving around the ring effectively controlling the range, distance and feinting effectively.

Harrison’s constant feinting and changing levels kept Jermell Charlo 31-1 (15 KO’s) from getting in position to attack because he had to reset his offense – which negated Charlo from landing combinations. Jermell displayed the tendency to lunge in as opposed to setting up his offense with his jab, or disguising his offense with his jab or even feinting himself. It was in an effect misplaced aggression.

Jermell displayed signs of this same style of attack in his previous bout against Austin Trout and Harrison was able to implement similar elements from Trout’s game-plan to obtain victory against Charlo.

“I showed championship composure. I didn’t have to do much. I used my jab. I used my ring generalship. I kept him at bay. He wound up for big shots and I kept my defense tight. All we worked on was defense,” Harrison said in a post-fight interview with FightHub.

“I got back to my corner after every round and they told me to just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re dictating the pace they said. That’s what champions do. Champions don’t just try to knock people out. That’s all he wanted to do. I dictated it. I used my jab. I dictated the fight. That’s what champions do.”

Harrison’s victory places him in a unique position and potentially causes clutter in the junior middleweight division.
Although Harrison is an elite fighter and proved as much with his recent performance, his fight against Jermell was supposed to be a showcase fight for Charlo twin.

There were plans of a unification bout between Charlo and the current WBA and IBF junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd 23-0 (16 KO’s). Now that unification match is in question. Unification may still take place, but Harrison now has the opportunity to play dance partner and exact revenge in the process as he lost to Hurd last year in a fight for the vacant IBF title.

If it’s up to Jermell, he would prefer a rematch to take place and within four months.

“I definitely feel like I won that fight,” Charlo said. “I pulled out way more rounds than he did. But like I said, it’ll be a rematch and I promise you, like I’m gonna train harder, I’m gonna try to train different. I did a great job in training camp. I can’t take nothing away from what me, [trainer] Derrick [James] and everybody else game plan was,” said Jermell in a post-fight interview.

“I hit hard. You know what I mean?,” Charlo said. “I use my power. A lot of people use their skills and use their – I have skills, I have power, I have speed. So just going back in there, regroup and just replaying the fight in my mind, I tried my best to, you know, land that right shot, you know, and just get the night over with. You know what I mean? The check don’t change, so I know how to fight and I’ve done it before and I believe in my power, I still believe in myself. So it’s gonna take just another chance, you know, me getting out there, developing. I’m young. I’m 28-years-old. So, me getting out there again and developing as a fighter, and just growing and learning from that.”

The question remains if Jermell can make the proper adjustments to implement a game-plan allowing greater success in the rematch. Jermell, along with his twin brother Jermall are extremely talented fighters. But with that stated, they struggled over the weekend against tough, game opponents in Tony Harrison and Matt Korobov 28-1 (14 KO’s) respectively.

Can’t fault either twin for their offensive effort regarding aggressiveness and trying to produce a knock-out. The pressure of headlining a big event, may have effected their approach as far as the game-plan they had for their respective opponents. The Charlos want to show they are the best fighters in their respective divisions and they can still accomplish this feat heading into the next year. The Harrison bout threw a wrench in their plans but that’s boxing.

The Premier Boxing Champions event broadcasted on Fox was a showcase event designed and catered to the Charlo twins, in effort to display their talents to a wider audience and to continue the momentum boxing has been building over the past couple of years. More fighters across cable network television, an infusion of young talent ready to take the reigns and carry boxing into the future.

The twins echoed the sentiments of robbery in the aftermath of Jermell’s loss but that may not be the case. Why would the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) go through all that effort to promote the fighter (Jermell) only to have that fighter get screwed on the cards and lose?

Even the commentary team was extremely biased in favor of the Charlo twins that night. Compliments for Harrison and Korobov respectively were far and few. At times, it appeared like the commentary team demonized Harrison for his efforts in spite of a brilliant performance.

Who truly won can be debated among the viewing audience, as many close fights are. But the biased criticism hurled at Harrison from professional analysts is uncalled for. But I guess that happens when you’re the Grinch.

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