Julian Williams turns back valiant Ishe Smith to win by unanimous decision
LAS VEGAS — Julian “J-Rock” Williams fought his way back into the upper echelon of a crowded junior middleweight division with a hard-fought 10-round unanimous decision victory over Ishe Smith at The Chelsea inside of The Cosmopolitan.
It was guts and determination against youth and ability as the grizzled veteran in Smith gave Williams all he could handle for 10 exciting rounds. It was evident that the 39-year-old Smith is no longer at the peak of his athletic ability. However, his will and determination wouldn’t be denied against an opponent who was clearly the better athlete. The scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 were a bit misleading considering that Smith was competitive throughout the fight.
Ultimately, it was Williams’ sharp counterpunching that led the charge against a 17-year veteran who prided himself on guts and determination over skill and ability. The dynamic was obvious from the opening rounds as Williams demonstrated faster hands while Smith trudged forward with wide, looping punches. Things continued to go downhill for Smith in the second after a clash of heads opened a cut over his left eye.
In the fifth round, “Sugar Shay” caught a second wind and clobbered Williams with combinations to the head and body. But Williams would steady himself with sharp counters slipped between Smith’s wide punches.
Williams remained in control in the early parts of the middle rounds but slowly seemed to fatigue. Meanwhile, Smith poured it on with a valiant assault to close each round and kept the pro-Smith crowd in the fight.
Williams was younger, faster and stronger but probably allowed Sugar Shay to get off far more than he should have. Smith closed the ninth strong with yet another flurry of punches while the 10th was symbolic of how the entire fight went as Williams started off quick with crisp counters and well-placed hooks but gave way to Smith’s gutsy assault as he refused to lay down.
But it would be Williams who would end up with his hand raised as he improved to 24-1-1 (15 knockouts). It was his second victory in a row after losing by knockout to Jermall Charlo last December. Meanwhile, Smith falls to 29-9 (12 KOs) but has nothing to be ashamed of. His best years are likely behind him but he’ll always be a tough out for the young lions of boxing.
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