Julian Jackson vs Herol Graham: Heartbreak In Spain
By Isaac Smith @FightReviewer
Sheffield southpaw and a dangerous knockout artist were set to battle for the vacant WBC world Middleweight Title on the 24th November 1990. Jackson had relinquished his 154lb crown and moved up to 160lb for this bout, coming in to the fight with an astounding eleven fight win streak. Graham was also holding momentum, after securing respectable wins over Rod Douglas and Ismael Negron.
Many hoped this fight would take place in the UK, but due to recent eye surgery, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) stated Jackson was coming back to boxing too soon and so they ordered that they would not grant permission for the bout to be sanctioned on Graham’s home soil. This is what prompted the bout to be re-scheduled, now taking place at the Torrequebrada Hotel and Casino in Benalmadena, Andalucía, Spain.
Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham is an amazing fighter, with many regarding him as the best British boxer to never win a world title. This man holds many accolades, winning the British, Commonwealth and European light-middleweight titles as well as the British and European middleweight straps. Trained by the legendary Brendan Ingle, Graham was constructed to be a very tricky fighter, using his fantastic footwork and sharp punches to break down his opponents. He has many impressive wins, securing victories over James Cook, Ayub Kalule, James Price, Kenny Bristol and Chris Johnson.
Fighting out of the red corner, Julian ‘The Hawk’ Jackson, the fighting pride of the Virgin Islands. This man is considered as one of the heaviest hitters of all time, with an amazing forty-nine knockouts on his record. He is a two-weight world champion and the former WBC Continental Americas light-middleweight title holder. Julian has a spectacular resumé, securing wins over Buster Drayton, In-Chul Baek, Eddie Gazo, Terry Norris and Thomas Tate.
The first bell sounds and Graham comes out strong, showing great movement and puzzling feints which Jackson just can’t solve. Jackson repeatedly sticks the jab out to try and find his perfect range to unload but this is proving difficult for him, as Graham is the dangerous aggressor, sticking and moving with fast, precise punches. ‘The Bomber’ continues with this tactic throughout the round, using nice level changes. This confuses Jackson, preventing him from landing any effective strikes. The Englishman takes the round.
In the second, Jackson seems tense, not reluctant to throw, but looking for that one bomb to put Graham to sleep. This makes his movement far too slow, allowing Graham to back up ‘The Hawk’ and land explosive combinations. The Sheffield fighter cuts off the ring, averting Jackson from escaping his barrages of punches, this creates Jackson to take significant damage to his problematic left eye.
Later in the round, Jackson over-commits with a big overhand left, this left him every vulnerable as he was met with sharp, punishing shots. Jackson is not fighting smart and is paying the price, as Graham repeatedly finds his punches with ease, finding the target time and time again on that worrying left eye. Graham is also displaying excellent distance management to stop any hard counters coming his way. Another fantastic round for ‘The Bomber’
Graham starts the round showing his lovely, stab-like jab, still keeping Jackson out of the pocket. He attempts to find the target for some big shots, but failed to do so. Jackson does start to show some nice feints, luring Graham in and landing some decent three-punch combinations. The Saint Thomas native pressures Graham against the ropes. Now in a promising position, Jackson begins to wind up his fantastic left-hook but Graham, using his fight IQ, steps away from the punch, this causes Jackson to swing wildly, leaving him with no defence as his opponent smashes a beautifully placed right hook on his jaw, which rocked the former WBA light middleweight champion.
Now Graham starts to increase the intensity, turning the tables and landing a lovely four punch combination, showing his fast hands. The fighters return to the centre, both trading with each other, they both score some points however Graham’s counterpunching is truly sublime. Using his nice jab, left-hook pivot to stop Jackson from getting comfortable. It’s a closer round, but Graham gets the nod.
Jackson’s eye is becoming even more of a worry, with referee Joe Cortez threatening a doctor’s opinion on the matter, which could stop the fight.
Nevertheless, the fourth begins and both fighters appear to be lively, showing bouncy yet controlled footwork. Jackson is now stalking Graham down looking for that signature shot, which he can bring in to the fight at any time due to his secretive transfer of weight to the particular punch he wishes to choose. The men reset and are now in the middle of the ring, with Graham peppering close shots on Jackson’s head and body. He starts to resume his previous dominance, pressuring Jackson towards the corner of the ring, while this is happening, Graham’s chin is far too high and Jackson unleashes a killer overhand right, knocking the Brit out before he even hit the canvas.
Julian Jackson was now the WBC middleweight world champion and why this may have not been a brilliant performance, he sent shockwaves to the other title holders in the division, which were Michael Nunn, Mike McCallum and Chris Eubank. This particular punch is regarded by some as the ‘Punch of the Century’ due to the sheer magnitude of ferocious power it possessed.
This was ultimate despair for ‘The Bomber’ losing the fight in such devastating fashion after being up on all three scorecards, with it looking like he was going to cruise to a unanimous decision or win via doctors stoppage.
Photo Credit: FightCity