Trainers, don't let your students grow up to be the guy who throws fewer punches than his foe.
That was the lesson learned at the River Rock Casino in Vancouver, British Columbia on a card televised on ESPN's Wednesday Night Fights, as former prospect of the century Joel Julio outworked the defensive wiz Ishe Smith enroute to a ten round unanimous decision victory.
The Colombian Julio never had Smith in trouble, but that's no crack on him, as Smith is proficient at protecting himself. He's not quite as proficient at staying busy, and showing the judges that he wants the fight more. Julio held a 196-138 edge in punches landed, and out-threw Smith (788-593).
Am I right, trainers? If Smith had upped his output, would he not have been in a better position to win, as would have Bernard Hopkins against Joe Calzaghe?
Julio (31-1, 30 KOs coming in) weighed 154 (his heaviest ever) while the Nevadan Smith (154 1/2), the Contender alum, entered the ring with a 19-2 (9 KOs) mark.
The judges gave the busier man the edge, by scores of 96-94, 97-93, 96-94, and Teddy Atlas called it 97-94 for Julio as well.
Pre-fight, Smith tried to play off his loss to Sechew Powell, blaming it on Powell's lefty stance. Julio, whose lone loss was to Carlos Quintana, said that he had problems making 147, and said junior middleweight will be just right for him to show off his power. This outing was his fifth straight over 150 pounds, and he's now 6-0 since his loss to Quintana.
In the first, Julio came out meaningfully. He looked warmed up from the get-go. Smith has a decent jab, but he was too predictable, throwing it, bringing it back, reloading, and repeating the exercise. Julio mixed in body shots smartly, with both hands. Smith, trained by Roger Mayweather, tried to counter the more aggressive Colombian, mostly.
In the second, Julio's quicker hands found the mark. After the round, he detailed the surprise arrival of his daughter last year. His wife birthed the child in the car, in the garage, before Smith and the missus left for the hospital.
In the third, I noticed Smith's tight body. He's so ripped, and his muscles are so tight. That's good, but he fights tight, sometimes, like his muscles. Contrast that with the softer Julio, who is a bit more limber, and relaxed. Smith's left hand started dropping more after he jabbed by this point.
In the fourth, a viewer might have been considering that it was possible that the heavy banger Julio might get frustrated that he wasn't hurting the slick, careful Smith. Maybe he'd overexert himself?
On to the fifth. Julio was still fighting an intelligent, focused fight. He still dropped in the body shots, particularly a stiff left hook. Smith landed a right cross, his best of the night to that point, but he continued to keep the guns in his holster too much, from a judges' perspective.
In the sixth, Smith fended off Julio with his decent jab. Julio kept hitting that left hook, and to someone with a softer body, that probably would've paid bigger dividends at this time period.
In the seventh, Smith's conditioning looked to be paying off. Julio's jab had slowed down, meanwhile. Also, he was backing up more. Maybe Smith could turn the tide late? His confidence was growing, and the crowd perked up a measure, sensing a possibly meaningful change in momentum.
In the eighth round, Julio was backing off even more noticeably. The distance between the men closed, and both landed some solid tosses.
In the ninth, Julio started the round looking refreshed. But Smith still had his wits about him defensively, and often had Julio looking a split second late. Repeatedly, he'd back off quickly, and Julio's right hand would be short, and the Colombian would be left lunging, with his rear foot up in the air. But Smith would not be within range to counter and could not make him pay.
In the tenth and final round, Julio ripped his best launch, the left hook. His corner had to be pleased that he found his second wind, as he looked to be in the danger zone cardio wise in the eighth. But Smith was still active too, and he smacked Julio with several rights.
All in all, a decent scrap, especially for the defensive wiz Smith, who has been in some fan unfriendly encounters in his day.
Albert Onolunose took a UD8 from long-armed but power deficient Eddie Sanchez in the TV opener. Albert O. had a 201 to 148 edge in punches landed.
Vic Barragan squared off with BC resident Kevin Reynolds in a cruiserweight match. These guys were slinging, and connecting, throughout. Reynolds, a lefty, didn't attack Barragan's soft middle like he could have, but he had a 206-155 punches landed edge in his favor. The judges put stock in that stat, and gave Reynolds a unanimous decision after six rounds.
Teddy Atlas shared his top ten all-time greats list, and had Sugar Ray Robinson at the top, followed by Ali, Benny Leonard, Sam Langford, Harry Greb, Willie Pep, Gene Tunney, Jack Johnson and Joe Louis. Certainly an early era heavy list, eh? But I have no beef, since I am not the historian Atlas is, admittedly.