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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: PBC DOING 154 RIGHT

By Paul Magno | January 20, 2020
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: PBC DOING 154 RIGHT

There are a lot of half-truths and flat-out lies that get passed off as absolute truths in boxing. I try my best to poke holes in the bullshit and present actual reality. You guys can decide how well I do that, but at least I put forth the effort to keep things “real.”

One of the lines of BS shoveled through the media and over social media is the “PBC doesn’t match its fighters tough/They deliver nothing but mismatches” nonsense. The reality is that Premier Boxing Champions doesn’t deal in mismatches any more than any other company. And when outside-their-control business doesn’t stand in the way, they usually make good, quality fights with the fighters they have—more so (and with less “marinade”) than any other major company in the business. 

Case in point is the junior middleweight division.

On Saturday, WBA/IBF 154 lb. champ Julian “J-Rock” Williams was upset by hard-punching Jeison Rosario in five rounds. It was an entertaining bout that was never going to be as one-sided as many felt it would be. Once both fighters were in the ring, it was clear that while styles and tactics were different, this was not going to be a mismatch or soft touch in the champ’s favor. 

By the time Rosario signed on to face Williams, he had already faced Nathanial Gallimore, Mark Anthony Hernandez, Justin DeLoach, and Jamontay Clark in the last three years or so (only losing to Gallimore)—all were well-regarded 20-something talents with an upward career trajectory at the time they faced Rosario. 

Williams’ own resume was also filled with quality challenges against high-end, dangerous talent before this first defense of his two titles—Hugo Centeno Jr., Jermall Charlo, Ishe Smith, Nathaniel Gallimore, and Jarrett Hurd (in a two-title-winning effort). 

And these deep resumes are nothing new with the PBC junior middleweights because, when you really look at things, these guys have all been fighting one another. Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara, Tony Harrison, Ishe Smith, Austin Trout, Nathaniel Gallimore, Brian Castano, Erickson Lubin, Terrell Gausha, Willie Nelson, Julian Williams, Jeison Rosario—among others—all being stirred in the same pot. 

There have been tough, even-money fights at the very top and tough, even-money fights on the way up. And maybe that’s why there’s yet to be one, single king of the hill at the top of the division. Everyone is knocking everyone off the hill as soon as they get to the top. That’s parity and, supposedly, that’s what everyone wants in boxing—even, competitive fights among a set of quality, accomplished, and well-seasoned fighters. 

Except nobody seems to be mentioning this when it comes to PBC and their positive efforts in this wide-open division they pretty much control. They’re not farming out their talent to meet non-PBC junior middleweights, but let’s ditch the BS again—NOBODY is farming out their “A” talent for outside-the-fence risks (and with Jaime Munguia’s move to middleweight, there’s really not all that much non-PBC 154 lb. talent out there anyway).

Full disclosure here—I do fight previews for the PBC website. Another full disclosure here—I couldn’t care less about that when it comes to what I do here at Fight Hype. I’ve been critical of PBC and PBC fighters when warranted and will continue to be stubbornly (stupidly) independent like that. 

But you have to give credit where credit is due—PBC has put on some real legit junior middleweight fights for a very long time now, from risky prospect vs. prospect bouts to title unifications. They deserve some recognition for that in a day and age where building risk-free, stress-free roads to niche stardom is pretty much all there is.

So, what’s next for this PBC-driven junior middleweight division?

Jeison Rosario will be put in tough, sooner rather than later, maybe against Jarrett Hurd, WBC champ Jermell Charlo, or in a rematch with Julian Williams. It’s quite possible that he could lose his belts in his first defense, maybe his second. He also stands a pretty good chance of landing something big and scoring another exciting upset stoppage. Maybe he loses and goes on to be a threat to somebody else near (or at) the top. Maybe he wins and remains in place as this rock-hard obstacle between the top of the hill and the road to get there. And, maybe, he fights his way to being the ultimate king of the hill.

Any way you slice it, though, it’s going to be compelling. We also know that, even if tossed a softball in his first defense, Rosario will eventually fight the best of the best. Again, that’s what boxing is supposed to be about. Risky fights, good vs. good, best vs. best. 

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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