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Julian Williams: People put too much emphasis on a loss

“J Rock” has a second world title shot coming on May 11.

Julian Williams v Freddy Hernandez Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Back in 2016, Philadelphia fighter Julian Williams received his first world title shot, after running up a 22-0-1 record to start his career. He was tasked with taking on Jermall Charlo, then the IBF 154-pound titleholder, now a middleweight contender.

Charlo knocked Williams out in the fifth round, but it was a competitive, interesting fight until that point. Williams had gone down in the second, but he also showed a lot of clever boxing, and led 38-37 on the judges’ cards, meaning he was up three rounds to one at that point, taking a point away for the knockdown in the second.

That’s not to say Williams was cheated in any way or anything like that; Charlo caught him in the fifth, dropped him and hurt him badly, and then finished things off.

But as often happens with boxing fans and at least some in the media, Williams was then kind of cast aside. He’d lost, and worse, he’d been knocked out.

But with a second title shot looming on May 11, this time against WBA and IBF titleholder Jarrett Hurd, Williams isn’t dwelling on the defeat from three years ago, and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the some of the many, many, many, many fighters who have lost before winning a world title:

“Some of the greatest fighters ever took losses. Joe Louis got knocked out before he won the title. He wins the title and goes on to reign for [11-plus] years. I don’t got to go back that far. Tony Harrison gets knocked out twice, comes back and wins the title. Badou Jack, one of the best fighters between 168 and 175 in the last few years, [lost and came back]. I can go on and on. I think people put too much emphasis on a loss and they put too much emphasis on a win. One bad loss and a guy wasn’t shit. And then one good win and a guy’s pound-for-pound.”

We do, as a group, have a tendency to write people off for losing, ignoring whether or not they put up a good fight, even. I mean, if you want more examples, two of the most famous and dominant boxers of recent times, Manny Pacquiao and Wladimir Klitschko, were knocked out before they won a world title. They were both young, and all things being completely fair, I don’t think Williams is primed to go on a Pacquiao or Klitschko or Joe Louis type of run, but the base point is that a loss doesn’t mean someone can’t fight, and fight at a high level.

Also, when you look across the ring at Hurd (23-0, 16 KO), you may be looking at a fighter ripe for an upset. None of what I’m about to say is a dig at Hurd, who has earned his status, just something to keep in mind.

Forget his last outing, where Hurd overpowered a grossly overmatched Jason Welborn, and think about his three fights before that. Hurd had some problems with Tony Harrison, Austin Trout, and Erislandy Lara. He won all of those fights, but he didn’t fully dominate them or anything. There are clues that Williams and his team can take from those fights to maybe come up with a winning strategy.

Now, that’s not the best news for Williams or a Williams supporter, because Julian has proven susceptible to big power, but I think it makes for a more interesting matchup than some might believe on the surface. Hurd isn’t flawless or anything, and Williams is a skilled boxer.

But however you see it, Williams does have a second chance to prove he belongs with the top guys at 154, and it’ll be up to him to capitalize on that.

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