Jermell Charlo vs Joachim Alcine, Tony Harrison vs Cecil McCalla & Caleb Plant vs Tyrone Brunson
BY KID HERSH
From NRG Arena in Houston Texas came PBC on NBC on Halloween! First up was Tony Harrison (21-2, 18ko's) vs Cecil McCalla (20-2, 7ko's). The first round was all Harrison as he got off with the jab and occasional right hands on McCalla, who was coming forward slowly behind a high guard and not throwing anything yet. The second round was more of the first, with McCalla opening up slightly more this round with some body jabs and attempted right hands. The same continued through the coming rounds, with McCalla not letting his hands go - throwing only around 22-23 punches per round midway through the fight. Harrison is not going buck wild but he is maintaining a good work rate and completely controlling his man. Not hurting him or loading up much but that is a smart tactic because McCalla is covering up well, if nothing else, so it is hard to penetrate his defense with solid power shots. McCalla showed that he is very one dimensional in the coming rounds, as he was not able to change anything up or make any adjustments, with BJ Flores and SRL even commenting that it's ok to be one-dimensional but he needs to get aggressive and throw punches to have any chance here. And a chance he technically has, seeing as how Willie Nelson was able to break down the boxing of Harrison through grit and determination back in July when he was behind on the cards. And just as I'm talking about that fight McCalla caught Harrison with a right hand when he was moving with his hands low. The shot took the legs from Harrison but McCalla just does not have that extra gear to take his man out as he plodded forward behind his high guard looking for openings instead of creating them on the hurt man in front of him. Harrison made it through the round just fine despite having about two minute to go - but it turned out that was nearly two minutes to more so clear his head because by the end of the ninth he was throwing sharp shots and looked just fine. The tenth and final round was a good one with everyone on the edge of their seats waiting to see if McCalla could hurt or take out Harrison. I had a feeling, based on the last round, that McCalla just isn't capable of taking Harrison out though because he has no sense of urgency or extra gear to kick into. He had his man seriously hurt, needed a knockout, landed the perfect blow, had two minutes, and didn't have that killer instinct to get the knockout. So - Harrison coasted to a near shutout win.
Next up was the main event with Jermell Charlo (26-0, 11ko's) vs Joachim Alcine (35-7-2, 21ko's). In the first round Charlo was showing his great sense of distance combined with his athleticism as he started to pick apart Alcine, who was ill-equipped physically to match his younger foe but was trying to thwart his attacks with well-timed jabs. He carried this into the second round and actually caught Charlo with a nice right hand less than a minute into the round that snapped home. Charlo was fine but he was notably cautious for the remainder of the round. He opened up more in the third round and at the end of the round he buzzed up Alcine first with a left hook on top of the head and then a right hand shortly after that stopped him in his tracks. He shook them both off but the writing appears to be on the wall in my opinion, because Charlo is figuring him out and showing that he can hurt him rather easily. Charlo continued breaking Alcine down in the fourth round. You can see that he is loading up on his shots more now as he gets more and more accurate in finding the range on Alcine. He is also getting closer to Alcine, stepping inside his lead foot and keeping range in the pocket more than in the previous rounds. It looks like just a matter of time now! Early in the sixth round Charlo scored a knockdown from a right hand that landed near the back of the head unintentionally followed by an uppercut that sent him down on the ropes. He rose but the fight was over with Charlo unloading a couple of right hands that landed flush and then a left hook slammed home that prompted the referee to step in and stop the bout. Great performance here by Charlo who showed not just the technical skills I have seen that we all know about but also great defense - with Alcine landing 15 punches total midway through the fight and likely ending up under 20 - with most of those being light jabs I am sure that he was trying to use to keep Charlo at distance and guessing to buy some time.
They added another bout on the card which was Caleb Plant (10-0, 8ko's) vs Tyrone Brunson (22-5-1, 21ko's) to fill some time as they had a half hour left over once the main event finished. In the first round Plant was pressing the action and getting punches off from odd angles as he normally does. Not odd in a bad way either, odd in a sense that you don't know where he is going to come from next to a certain extent. Brunson is buying his time and looking for powerful counterpunches, which he did manage to land a very nice right hand after taking one from Plant. Plant was more apprehensive afterwards, cautious of the power he felt from Brunson. In the second round Brunson was throwing to the body and landing while still catching Plant with a couple of power shots up top due to Plant leaving his hands low - a really problematic flaw he has at this point in his career. Plant answered back to Brunson though, taking over the majority of the round after the first minute by also going to his mans body and catching him on the ropes as he pressed him around the ring. In the third round Brunson was not reacting well to shots with Plant pressing and unloading, getting busy and outworking Brunson. Brunson did not know where the shots were coming from and was having a hard time getting his offense going. Plant loaded it on in the fourth round, looking like Brunson was breaking down round by round now. Plant laid off the gas a bit in the fifth round, either taking it off or just looking to outbox his man down the stretch perhaps? And that is exactly what happened, with Plant controlling the ring off his jab and getting creative with shots going down the stretch but he was not sitting down on his shots anymore and not trying to necessarily hurt his man like he was looking to do earlier on in the fight. Plant won by wide UD - coasting to victory in the second half of the fight. Good looks for a prospect but still has some things to work on such as those hands being very low most of the time. Good step-up fight for him here though against his toughest opponent to date.