Super middleweight prospect Badou Jack nearly turned into a pumpkin tonight, matched against an exceptionally awkward foe in 35-year-old Colombian amateur veteran Alexander Brand, but the hyped prospect escaped with a split decision win on scores of 77-75, 77-75, and 75-77. Bad Left Hook scored it 77-75 for Brand.
Brand (17-1, 15 KO) was a bizarre mixture of effective and ineffective, a slickster who tripped over his own feet frequently, threw lunging, looping haymakers, and frankly was absolutely horrible from any sort of technical standpoint. But Jack (11-0, 8 KO) has been matched very soft thus far, and thus appeared mentally confused by a tricky, strange fighter who would have been impossible to prepare for.
Neither man landed much by way of clean punches, but Jack may have had the advantage there. What made the fight close was the fact that Brand took rounds where he just had Brand shut down and unable to figure out what to do, when to do it, and how to go about his business.
It's no surprise that the A-side prospect got the duke in a fight like this, and the scores weren't horrible. I disagree with the winner, but more important is that Jack, 28, needs a lot of work, and DiBella would be wise to match him carefully for a bit longer. He's got raw talent, but needs to stay around this level, against less frustrating guys, and he has to continue to learn. He's older than one might think, but he came to boxing late and has time. He's got the physical gifts, but the boxing has a long way to come.