by: Hans Themistode
That wasn’t supposed to happen.
Julian Williams pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2019 boxing calendar, when he upset then undefeated Jr Middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd in his own hometown. Fast forward one year later, and he is on the other end. Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) marched into the hometown of Williams and ripped his IBF and WBA Jr Middleweight world titles from him. There was nothing flukey about Rosario’s win either. The better man won.
Rosario should enjoy his victory, but not for too long. He will have a long list of contenders waiting for him.
Let’s take a look at who could be next for the newly crowned champion.
At one point, Brian Castano (16-0-1, 12 KOs) was a virtual unknown. A split decision draw against Erislandy Lara, which many felt he won, quickly changed that. Although he didn’t leave with the decision he wanted, the contest did place him on the map as a serious contender. Castano was last seen in November of 2019, stopping Wale Omotoso. If Rosario is as good as he seems, then this is the fight to make.
Former WBC titlist Tony Harrison (28-3, 21 KOs) needs a fight. He put on one heck of a show against Jermell Charlo in December of 2019. Harrison is a bonafide top five fighter in the division. Rosario on the other hand, no one is really sure.
Now that Rosario holds two major titles in the division, it would lead you to believe that maybe he is the best in the weight class, but other than his fight with Williams, Rosario has fought no one else. There is no need to put the new unified champion in with a soft touch. A matchup with Tony Harrison will allow everyone to see if he really is one of the best in the division.
Truth be told, Julian Williams (27-2-1, 16 KOs) doesn’t deserve a rematch with Jeison Rosario. At least not an immediate one. Outside of the fifth round, Williams actually didn’t perform badly. Yet, that aforementioned fifth round was a disaster.
The only reason why Williams is on this list is because he does have a rematch clause and following that match, he did say that he planned on exercising it very soon. Maybe Williams can prove that it was just a bad night with a win. Or maybe a rematch will only prove that Rosario is here to stay.
By: Sean Crose
Last spring, boxing fans were stunned when Julian “J Rock” Williams bested Jarrett Hurd via unanimous decision to win Hurd’s WBA and IBF super welterweight titles. For the 29 year old Williams seemed walking in to be less than a has-been. He was considered a never-was, a fighter who had come close to glory, but had come up short when he faced Jermall Charlo less than three years earlier. Williams surprised everyone by upsetting Hurd, though. What’s more, he went from being an afterthought to a fan favorite, as everyone loves an underdog story. Now, though, it’s William’s who is in the role of defending champion.
Come Saturday night, the 27-1-1 multititlist will be facing the little known Jeison Rosario in a scheduled twelve rounder in Williams’ home town of Philadelphia. At stake are the belts Williams worked so hard to win from Hurd – as well as a chance to meet Hurd again in a high profile rematch. Yet the irony of the situation isn’t lost on Rosario, a 19-1-1 native of the Dominican Republic – for now Rosario is the lightly regarded challenger facing a popular champion. “We actually embrace the underdog role,” says Rosario’s trainer, Luis Perez on a PBC Countdown episode leading up to Saturday’s bout. “We have no pressure whatsoever. We’re coming over there to fight. We have absolutely nothing to lose.”
The product of a lonely, fight-centric childhood, Rosario started boxing when he was 12. Now, in his seventh year as a pro, the 24 year old is preparing for the opportunity of a lifetime. “This is the time,” he says on Countdown. “I’m going for what’s mine.” Training out of Miami’s famed 5thStreet Gym, Rosario has engaged in a strict camp away from family and friends. Living in humble training quarters away from the gym, the largely unknown contender has been open about the fact he’s willing to sacrifice an easier life in order to achieve his goal of becoming world champion. The disciplined existence gives him confidence.
“It is a fight that seems easy for Williams,” he admits. “When the bell rings the audience will have their jaws drop.” With the unique nickname of “The Banana,” Rosario shows patience, consistency, a sound defense, and genuine power while in the ring. Whether that will be enough to stop the high octane strength and accuracy of Williams remains to be seem. Rosario, though, is comfortable that the night will belong to him. “History,” he says, referring to his underdog status, “will repeat itself.”