Jermall Charlo (25-0, 19 KOs) retained his IBF Junior Middleweight World title with an emphatic fifth-round knockout over previously unbeaten and top-ranked Julian Williams (22-1-1, 14 KOs) Saturday night in a co-feature bout from USC's Galen Center, but it was Charlo's unsportsmanlike post-fight behavior that ultimately overshadowed his spectacular performance.
“No matter what, people have to respect my accomplishments," said Charlo. "He just wasn't on my level. I told everyone what I was going to do since the fight was announced. I knew I was going to win; he was badly hurt after the knockdown."
The fight had been a long time in the making, and involved some apparent bad blood between the two opponents, all of which came to a head after the fight.
But first, the knockout.
Williams, who had not lost a round in 10 consecutive fights, went down for the first time in his career from a strong counter left-hand midway through the second round. However, he weathered that storm and soon was competing well against the champion, landing an effective counter right in an exciting bout between two highly skilled and athletic performers.
But in Round Five, Charlo decked him again with a brilliant right uppercut in which he blocked a Williams punch with his right hand and then immediately used that same hand to unleash a counter uppercut. The punch landed square on Williams' jaw, hurting him severely as he crashed to the floor face-first.
Williams got up, but was clearly in trouble. Charlo floored him seconds later with a left hook, forcing referee Wayne Hedgepath to instantly halt the contest at 2:06. Charlo was ahead with scores of 38-37 on the three scorecards at the time.
“I did what I was supposed to do, I'm very happy with my performance, I listened to my trainer,’’ said Charlo, the identical twin brother of WBC 154-pound titlist Jermell Charlo. “I trained hard for this fight, I stayed in the gym the whole time."
When Williams recovered his bearings, he walked over to congratulate Charlo on his performance, but Charlo waived him off and refused to acknowledge him -- a highly abnormal act in the sport. The crowd immediately rained boos down on Charlo, while his handlers quickly implored him to show better sportsmanship on national television.
Williams immediately stormed from the ring.
“I just want to tell Julian Williams, I’m sorry," said Charlo. "Leading up to this fight Julian talked, and I held it in. I did what I had to do to become the champion of the world and I deserve my respect. He disrespected me all the way up to the fight. I made the fight happen; I gave the fans what they wanted to see. I stayed at 154 pounds, although I do want to move up to 160, just to fight someone the world said I couldn’t beat."
Charlo continued to explain his conduct after the fight.
“I said I don’t want your congratulations; I want your apology," said Charlo. "I don’t care what they say, I knocked him out. No matter what they say about me I’m going to continue to work hard. I did what my trainer told me to do, I stayed in there and bang the shot came home. I’m never disrespected this dude, never, until I knocked him out."
Williams offered no excuses.
"I just got caught," Williams said. “I was fine after the second round and kept going. He just caught me. He wasn't too big. He just caught me. I didn't care about any of that [post-fight drama]. I just wanted to win.”
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services