After talking trash for weeks and then almost coming to blows at the weigh-in, the WBC super middleweight title tilt inside the UIC Pavilion near downtown Chicago was expected to be loaded with fireworks.
The Premier Boxing Champions card on Spike TV did deliver a moderate upset as Las Vegas-based fighter Badou Jack did just enough over 12 rounds to wrest the championship from Anthony Dirrell.
Jack was the more aggressive of the two throughout the encounter, and he used a terrific jab to get inside the lankier reach of Dirrell. The former resident of Sweden pounded away Dirrell’s body whenever he could and though “the Dog” landed his fair share of power shots, Jack was busier and much more effective with his attacks.
Dirrell seemed to be rocked a few times in the tussle, but he was never in any danger of being knocked down or out. The same can be said of Jack, who took the Flint, Mich., native’s best punches and continued to press ahead.
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Many of the rounds were about as close as they come, but two of the three ringside judges favored Jack’s aggression and higher punch output. In the end, Jack (19-1-1, 12 KOs) was awarded a majority decision via tallies of 114-114, 116-112 and 115-113, snatching away Dirrell’s title in his first defense and ruining his unbeaten record. Dirrell now stands at 27-1-1 with 22 KOs.
In the co-feature, Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs dominated challenger Caleb Truax for eleven rounds before finally stopping him in the final stanza. The WBA middleweight title fight was uneventful for much of its duration, though Jacobs won virtually every minute of the contest.
Jacobs’ jab was a thing of beauty as it prevented Truax from getting into any sort of rhythm. Finally, with Truax trailing badly on the cards, he tried to spark some sort of comeback, but he was pelted by a perfect right hand that caused him to stumble into the ropes.
He was ruled down by referee Dr. David Smith because the ropes held him up and when he was allowed to continue, the end was right around the corner. The Brooklyn native unloaded a barrage of lethal punches until Truax was nailed by a vicious left/right, and when he was tagged by another powerful right hand, Smith had no choice but to rescue him. The official time of the TKO came at the 2:12 mark of the 12th, allowing Jacobs, now 29-1 with 26 KOs, to retain his title. Truax, who hails from Osseo, Minn., fell to 25-2-2 with 15 KOs.
In the first televised bout of the evening, tough-as-nails Roberto Garcia came on strong in the second half of his fight with James Stevenson to win a hard-fought unanimous decision. “Keep’em Sleepin” couldn’t keep Garcia away from him in the latter stages of the fight and he eventually became too fatigued to steal any of the late rounds. In the end, the judges all favored “La Amenaza” via tallies of 77-74 and 78-73 (twice). Garcia, from Texas by way of Mexico, bolstered his pro ledger to 37-3 with 23 KOs.
Stevenson, a late replacement from Baltimore, dipped to 22-2 with 15 KOs.
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