By: William Holmes
Premier Boxing Champions made their contract debut with the Fox Network tonight live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The main event featured a last minute replacement as former title contender Willie Monroe Jr. was flagged for possible performance enhancers and Matt Korobov agreed to take his place. Many felt Korobov was a tougher matchup for Jermall Charlo than Monroe, and the fight appeared to confirm that thought.
The opening bout of the night was between Dominic Breazeale (20-1) and Carlos Negron (20-2) in the heavyweight division. Breazeale looked a bit sluggish early on and may have given up some of the earlier rounds based on Negron’s activity alone. Negron landed some questionable punches at the end of the third round that appeared to land after the bell had rung.
Breazeale’s accuracy began to improve in the middle rounds and he made it clear that he was the more powerful puncher of the two. A thunderous right hand by Breazeale ended the fight in the ninth round as Negron crashed to the ring and had his head hanging over the middle rope.
Dominic Breazeale could be seen challenging Deontay Wilder, who sat ringside, after the stoppage. Breazeale won by a TKO at 1:37 of the ninth round.
The next bout of the night was between Tony Harrison (27-2) and Jermell Charlo (31-0) for Charlo’s WBC Super Welterweight Title.
Charlo appeared to be more tentative than usual, and wasn’t throwing combinations like he normally does. He was the more aggressive fighter and pressed the pace, but a lot of his punches were missing and he was open to some of Harrison’s counters.
Charlo did land the harder punches throughout the night, and he appeared to have hurt Harrison on more than one occasion. But Harrison’s jab was active and accurate and he kept most of the rounds close and hard to score.
Harrison did appear to nearly knock Charlo down in the fifth round with a right hand, but Charlo was able to answer him later with a scorching right hand that had Harrison stunned.
Charlo’s best round of the night may have been the last two rounds, as he landed a beautiful uppercut in the eleventh and appeared to have hurt Harrison with a left hook in the twelfth, but the judges didn’t feel it was enough for Charlo to win the bout.
In a bit of an upset, Tony Harrison won the scorecards with scores of 115-113, 115-113, and 116-112.
The main event of the evening was between Jermall Charlo (27-0) and Matt Korobov (28-1) for the WBC Interim Middleweight Title.
Korobov was a cagey veteran who’s lone blemish on his record was a shocking stoppage upset to Andy Lee, in a fight that he was winning on the scorecards at the time. Despite not having a meaningful fight in over eighteen months, he showed no signs of ring rust early on and had Charlo bothered with accurate counters while showing good upper body movement to avoid Charlo’s power shots.
Charlo’s noticeable reach advantage worked to his favor in the middle rounds as Charlo became more active with his jab and kept it in the face of Korobov. But the later third of the fight Korobov’s right eye was nearly swollen shut.
The first four rounds could have been arguably scores for Korobov, but Charlo had a strong fifth round that was punctuated with a short right hand and he continued that momentum into the sixth and seventh rounds.
The ninth round featured both fighters landing hard combinations, but Korobov was starting to tire and Charlo was still able to throw hard shots. Charlo had Korobov covering up in the tenth round and the eleventh round was very competitive.
Charlo appeared to have a slight lead going into the final round, but his best round of the night was the last round as he had Korobov hurt with several hard shots and had the referee looking at Korobov closely with an eye towards a possible stoppage.
There was no controversy with this decision, though it was a close and entertaining fight. Charlo retained his title with scores of 116-112, 119-108, and 116-112.