Max Warren was ringside for the exciting rematch between Jermell Charlo and Tony Harrison.
He filed this report.
Jermell Charlo scored three knockdowns en route to stopping Tony Harrison in the 11th round, but Harrison proved to be a game opponent throughout the night.
Heading into the match-up, there was no question that the two men despised each other. They traded insults during the pre-fight press conferences and took very opportunity to get into the other man’s head.
It was easy to tell that each fighter wanted to win badly and demoralize his opposition. The fight was by no means a let down, considering they talked a big game during the lead-up.
Harrison fought with a much different gameplan than in his initial match against Charlo. He was on the back foot and utilized movement for much of their 2018 championship bout. But this time, Harrison came forward for much of the fight in order to make Charlo uncomfortable.
To his credit, it worked. He backed up Charlo a number of times, and didn’t allow him to get off his punches as easily. Yet, Harrison’s strategy would make him more susceptible to Charlo’s impressive power.
In the first round, Charlo came out of the gate fast, looking to blow Harrison out of the water. Charlo’s attack was erratic and Harrison was able to block several shots that could have knocked him out. Unlike Charlo, whose assault was ferocious, Harrison stayed calm and in the pocket. Harrison had success throwing straight shots down the pipe, taking the first round.
In the second, Charlo displayed why his power can act as the great equalizer. During an exchange on the inside, Charlo knocked Harrison down with a left hook to the chin at the end of the round. Once the bell rang for the third, Charlo came out swinging wildly, hoping he would follow up on the success he had in the prior round.
Harrison was able to weather the storm, and even caught Charlo off guard by pressing the action, coming forward, and fighting on the inside. Harrison took the third, showing that he was in the fight and ready to do whatever was necessary to win.
In the sixth, Harrison’s confidence was on display. He showboated by pausing and shaking his hips after Charlo landed a left hook to the body. Both men continued to fight in the trenches, throwing to the head and body. The rematch had an entirely different look than the first fight.
Harrison wasn’t solely sticking and moving, like he did in his first encounter versus Charlo. This time, Charlo was forced to fight on the back foot, which he rarely had to do when they met in the ring last year.
The bout was truly competitive. By the tenth round, the two men were within two punches landed on each other with Charlo landing 111 to Harrison’s 109. Many believed that the fight was extremely close after the 10th round, thinking the championship rounds could decide the winner. But, the scorecards were not needed, as Charlo had an electric 11th round.
Harrison showboated once again in the 11th. Charlo backed Harrison to the ropes, landing hooks to the body. This prompted Harrison to spread his arms to indicate that the punches had no effect. The action later moved to the center of the ring. Harrison threw a left hook on the inside, but Charlo countered it with a left hook of his own that landed squarely on Harrison’s chin. Harrison wobbled backwards into the ropes, and Charlo scored the second knockdown of the fight. Harrison got up, but there was over a minute remaining in the round, leaving it very difficult for Harrison to survive.
Once again, Charlo swarmed Harrison, landing a series of left uppercuts while Harrison’s back was on the ropes. Harrison was dropped for a third time, but got up. Charlo leapt in between the ropes to celebrate, thinking the fight was over.
But, he still had more work to do. Charlo jumped on Harrison again, throwing combinations while Harrison was on the ropes and not throwing any punches in return. This prompted referee Jack Reiss to put an end to the action.
Charlo is now a two-time world champion, and avenged a bitter loss against his new rival. Their personal differences were settled to some degree after the fight, but both men still have distaste for one another.
After his win, Charlo said, “I don’t like this dude. He can get it again, but I’m off to bigger and better things.”
Harrison was distraught after the fight, continually stating that he wanted to win so badly. At the post-fight press conference, Harrison said “F--- my life” a few times. Harrison believes a lapse in focus was the reason for the KO defeat, saying “I started getting a little lax and got caught.”
Now, Charlo is in line for a notable light-middleweight unification match against Julian Williams, while Harrison will have to go back to the drawing board and hope for another big opportunity.