– Tony Harrison came out and established his jab from the opening bell, repeatedly sticking Cecil McCalla, who was in full defensive mode from the get-go.
– Harrison continued to stay consistent with his jab through the middle rounds, using it to set up three-punch combinations and overhand right hands that found home on the outside of McCalla’s guard. Not only did Harrison dictate the tempo throughout, but his hand speed seemed to befuddle McCalla, who struggled to let his hands go, much to the chagrin of his corner.
– After spending more time covering up than throwing punches through the first eight rounds, McCalla suddenly sprung to life midway in the ninth, landing two right hands that stunned Harrison. After the initial flurry, Harrison regained his composure, again effectively using his jab to keep McCalla at bay. In the waning seconds of the round, McCalla again went on the attack, but Harrison countered with an assault of his own before the bell.
The last time Tony Harrison was in the ring, he suffered the first loss of his pro career when he essentially let his guard down in a fight he was dominating. Harrison insisted he wouldn’t make the same mistake Saturday in his 156-pound contest against Cecil McCalla in Houston, and he was true to his word—albeit barely.
After putting on a boxing clinic through the first eight rounds of the scheduled 10-rounder, Harrison got a bit careless in the ninth—the same round in which he was knocked out by Willie Nelson in July—and absorbed a couple of hard shots from McCalla.
This time, though, Harrison (22-1, 18 KOs) withstood the punishment, regained his composure and then survived another brief scare in the 10th before ultimately taking home a lopsided unanimous-decision victory. The lifelong Detroit native prevailed by scores of 100-90 and 98-92 twice, sending the 30-year-old McCalla (20-3, 7 KOs) to his third consecutive loss.
Using a wicked jab with tremendous effectiveness from the opening bell, Harrison thoroughly outboxed McCalla, who seemed more interested in covering up than actually fighting for most of the night.
When he wasn’t sticking his opponent with the jab, the 25-year-old Harrison was connecting with three-punch combinations and hard overhand rights that landed outside of McCalla’s guard.
After his corner repeatedly told him to let his hands go, McCalla finally obliged in the ninth round, landing two right hands that clearly rocked Harrison near the ropes. Harrison shook off the cobwebs and reverted to his bread-and-butter—the jab—to get out of harm’s way.
But as the ninth was coming to a close, McCalla again scored with a couple of hard shots as Harrison lay limp against the ropes, his fists closer to his knees than his face. Turns out Harrison was playing possum, as he returned fire with several heavy punches of his own before the bell sounded.
Harrison again let McCalla get unnecessarily close to him in the 10th, but again he weathered the assault and made it to the finish line. It marked the first time in nearly three years that the heavy-handed Harrison won by a decision, ending a streak 10 consecutive stoppage victories.
- Harrison vs McCalla