Some sons who follow in their father’s career footsteps are reluctant to lean on their old man for advice, preferring instead to make their own way. Julius Jackson is quite the opposite.
The son of Julian “The Hawk” Jackson— a two-division champion whose one-punch KO power destroyed fighters such as Terry Norris, Buster Drayton and Herol Graham during the late 1980s and early 1990s—Julius Jackson has chosen to mostly embrace the notion of “father knows best.”
And not just because his dad also doubles as his trainer.
“My father doesn’t force himself on you,” says Julius Jackson, a native of Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands, which the 28-year-old represented in the 2008 Olympics. “But if he sees something you can work on, you know you should do it.”
That’s not to say Jackson doesn’t occasionally raise an eyebrow at his pop’s suggestions. Case in point: Four years ago, father suggested son trade leather with Gennady Golovkin, a 160-pound champion who is modern-day boxing’s Mike Tyson.
Son’s response: Come again? “We were watching Gennady destroy this guy on TV,” recalls Julius Jackson of Golovkin’s three-knockdown, fifth-round KO of Grzegorz Proksa in September 2012. “My dad said, ‘Hey, Julius, I want you to work with this guy.’ I’m like, ‘What? After watching him pummel this dude?’”
Ultimately, though, he gave his dad the benefit of the doubt, and wisely so: After five consecutive sparring sessions with Golovkin—plus a stint with former 160-pound titleholder Sergio Martinez—Jackson (19-0, 15 KOs) is a vastly improved fighter entering Tuesday’s 168-pound clash against Jose Uzcategui (23-1, 19 KOs) in San Antonio (Fox Sports 1, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
“ We were watching Gennady [Golovkin] destroy this guy on TV. My dad said, ‘Hey, Julius, I want you to work with this guy.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ ” Julius Jackson
Jackson was 17-0 with 13 knockouts entering Golovkin’s camps in Big Bear, California, where he prepped the Kazakhstan bomber for his five straight knockouts of Osumanu Adama, Daniel Geale, Marco Antonio Rubio, Martin Murray and southpaw Willie Monroe Jr.
“Julius is a big, quick-handed kid who switches very well from right handed to left handed,” says Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer. “Julius has improved boxing skills and became a very good technician from sparring with Gennady.”
When he jumped in the ring for the first time after working Golovkin, Jackson noticed a difference when he twice floored Crispulo Javier Andino during a second-round technical knockout in August 2014.
“From the first left hook I threw, I felt the power of the connection and I dropped him,” Jackson says. “My punches were much stronger, more solid and effective, my feet were more planted and I had better balance."
Jackson will be after his 10th straight stoppage win against Uzcategui, a 24-year-old Mexican who, like him, stands 6-foot-2, packs a wallop in both fists and never has been knocked out.
Prior to losing 160-pound unanimous decision to Matt Korobov in June 2014, Uzcategui had won 10 of 11 fights by knockout, including four straight heading into the Korobov contest. Uzcategui rebounded with a first-round stoppage of Daniel Eduardo Yocupicio in his most recent outing in May.
“I’ve seen a few of his fights, like the one against Matt Korobov, and he looks like a tough guy,” Julius Jackson says of Uzcategui. “He’s never been stopped, he’s got good boxing skills and we’ve got the same knockout percentage, so he has some power.”
In the end, if the man nicknamed The Chef is to cook up another victory, he needs to follow a fairly simple recipe: stay patient, take advantage when Uzcategui makes a mistake and, of course, heed his dad’s advice.
“This fight can line him up for a championship; it’s just a matter of him putting it all together,” says Julian Jackson, 55, who won titles at 154 and 160 pound. “Jose can bring out the best in Julius, who is a warrior who can take a punch. But I think you’ll also see Julius box more and take control.”
For complete coverage of Jackson vs Uzcategui, visit our fight page.