By: Sean Crose
PBC on Fox, along with the EagleBank arena in Fairfax, Virginia hosted one heck of a card on Saturday night, one which featured three memorable bouts. The first match was a controversial affair, as the 28-2 Matvey Korobov battled the 18-1 Immanuwel Aleem to a majority draw in a ten round middleweight fight. After Korobov looked strong in the first half of the bout, Aleem came on strong in the second half. The fight was originally read as a win for Korobov, making things a bit chaotic once it became clear the wrong score had been read. In the second bout, welterweight Mario Barrios, 23-0, demolished the 20-1 Juan Jose Velasco in the second round of their scheduled ten rounder with a paralyzing body shot.
The main event, which was for Jarret Hurd’s IBF and WBA junior middleweight belts, was a scheduled twelve rounder. Hurd had the advantage of fighting close to home in Virginia, but his opponent, the 26-1-1 Julian Williams was determined to redeem himself after losing a much hyped bout against Jermall Charlo in 2016.
The first round was something of a feeling out process. Williams was able to land effectively in the second, even hurting Hurd a bit. Then, with only 30 seconds left in the round, Hurd actually got sent to the mat. Hurd got back to his feet. Williams unloaded, but the defending champion was able to survive until the bell. The third was a rough, mauling affair, one which still saw Williams gaining an edge. By round’s end, however, Hurd began landing well from a distance. Williams continued to chop away at Hurd in the fourth. Round five was terrific, with neither man willing to be denied. The sixth was all out war, with the fighters engaging in a seesaw battle.
Hurd pressed the attack in the seventh, swinging wildly at the final bell. The beginning of round eight had shades of Clay-Liston, as Hurd appeared to be troubled by something in his eye. Williams went in for the kill, but after a few moments, Hurd seemed to be no longer bothered. Williams landed clean, heavy shots in the ninth. Hurd may have pulled off the tenth by virtue of being the more active of the two fighters. In the eleventh, it was clear that Williams simply hit considerably harder than the defending champion. The twelfth was close, but it was Williams who threw the harder punches.
Williams won the fight, via unanimous decision, and went home with Hurd’s title belts.
“Boxing world,” Williams said after the fight, “stop forgetting fighters once they take a loss.” The newly crowned champion was referring to his single to defeat to Charlo almost two and a half years earlier. Hurd, as was fitting his personality, was gracious in defeat.