Abner Mares Jesus Cuellar & Jermall Charlo vs Julian Williams
BY KID HERSH
Showtime Championship Boxing from the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles in a couple of very highly contested fights that had fans at a loss for who to favor due to the great matchups.
First up on the Showtime card is what I thought was the best on the biggest night of boxing on the year because it had the most potential for future impact due to the nature of the blue chippers involved not yet hitting their primes. It featured Jermall Charlo (24-0, 18KO's) vs Julian Williams (22-0-1, 14KO's). This fight was supposed to happen earlier this year but Charlo underwent corrective eye surgery (lasek) just like his twin brother Jermell. In the first round Charlo showed his size and power advantage by pressing forward behind his heavy, telephone poll jab. He also was lining up Williams for his big right hand. Williams was showing movement with his legs and upper body but was not letting his hands loose very much. In the second round we had serious fireworks when Charlo dropped Williams with his powerful jab midway through the round. Williams rose, perhaps too fast as Paulie Malignaggi pointed out, and recouped after a bit of time on wobbly legs only to land a vicious right hand near the end of the round flush that backed up Charlo momentarily. Williams had a good third round considering the near disaster in the second round. He was giving the champion different looks with lots of head movement and straight right hands that were unpredictable and from odd angles at times. Charlo was extremely patient though and continued sticking his heavy jab with occasional right hands. Charlo looked like the veteran and Williams the skittish rookie. Both men were trading right hands galore in the fourth round and staying in the pocket looking to hurt the other man. The difference, just like the previous round, is that Charlo looks comfortable while Williams looks very stiff, rigid, and squared up and slightly uncomfortable at times. he is also off balance while Charlo is perfectly balanced. This is a bit of an oddity because Williams may have even won the round! In the fifth round we had a candidate for punch of the year when Charlo took a right hand and landed a right uppercut hybrid a la Gennady Golovkin that sent Williams to the canvas in pieces. Williams rose but Charlo sent him right back down and the fight was over. "Lions Only" showed the name and continued the bad blood after the fight when Williams went over to congratulate him but Charlo would not embrace him. Ronnie Shields seemed to try and talk him into it but when Charlo gave an effort to go embrace Williams then Williams and his corner were having none of it. The crowd was booing Charlo, as it seemed like suddenly he is likely to get the bad guy tag because of the post fight here. The post fight was hilarious, with Jim Gray at one point saying "I doubt you were thinking about your children" during a knockdown replay in which Charlo claimed he was doing just that. Jermall offered up that his emotions got the best of him in the post fight when he would not embrace Williams, because Williams talked a lot of smack before the fight and he never once disrespected him in return. The first thing he did on the microphone was apologize to him though, so while fans will be fans I definitely will not think twice about the incident. Just another interesting wrinkle in the storyline of boxing.
Main event time featuring Jesus Cuellaer (28-1, 21KO's) vs Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15KO's). In the first round Mares had an extremely good one as he landed counterpunches on Cuellar, who was bulling in behind no punches or defense. He hurt Cuellar a couple times with flush punches to the head and slowed down the forward progression of the champion in a hurry. In the second round Cuellar came out swinging like he did in the first round. Mares hit him with a check left hook again and was able to back him off in spots throughout the round but overall Cuellar landed just enough to take the round on my card as he pressed the action for the majority of the round. In the third round it was more heated action but it seems that Cuellar's size and aggression is what is edging the rounds out for him. Mares is landing good shots and making a great showing but he is doing his best when he hits and gets out, not stay in range for Cuellar to throw his looping punches at a sitting target. Mares had a great fourth round by taking the advice of his trainer Robert Garcia, as he hit Cuellar with right hands and then either got out of range or stepped around Cuellar. Cuellars output was blunted by the boxing of Mares due to him not being a still target. Mares was getting comfortable in the ring in the fifth round as he put his punches together and put together great combinations with lightning speed. Cuellar stopped pressing as aggressive and instead was pressing more lightly in the next couple rounds while boxing Mares more, picking his punches coming inside and getting off first. Mares was able to continue boxing in the eighth round and keep Cuellar at distance to again blunt the champions output. Some of these rounds are extremely close but in the end the majority of them have felt and looked more like Mares rounds simply because it is his style of fight which would signify him being the ring general. In the eleventh round Mares landed a beauty of a right hand with his back on the ropes that dropped Cuellar. Mares had a beauty of a round and closed out the show in the twelfth round. The cards came in 117-110 Mares, 115-112 Cuellar, and then 116-111 for Mares. Mares would become a four time world champion with this win - a spectacular showing from the 31 year old veteran.