Jose Uzcategui vowed that Julius Jackson wouldn’t last six rounds against him Tuesday night, and the man nicknamed “Money” cashed in on that prediction.
A 24-year-old Venezuelan-born resident of Mexico, Uzcategui used an all-out, head-swiveling assault to floor Jackson three times in the first round and a final time early in the second of a shocking and sensational 168-pound TKO at the Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, Texas.
“Our plan was to go round by round, but sometimes opportunities arise. As soon as I saw I hurt him, I took advantage,” said Uzcategui, who outlanded Jackson 33-8 in total punches while stopping his 12th opponent in his last 14 fights. “Speed was the key tonight. We didn’t underestimate him at all, but once we saw our advantage after the start, I jumped on him.”
Jose Uzcategui (24-1, 20 KOs) started and ended his initial nine-punch volley with right hands, the last one to the point of Jackson’s chin, dropping the unbeaten 28-year-old to the canvas on his right side just a minute into the round.
“I started good with the jab, trying to control the pace, but he caught me on the temple,” Julius Jackson said of the first knockdown. “My legs just went, and my balance was gone after that. I went back to my corner and never fully recovered. I don't remember much after that.”
Referee Tony Weeks reached the count of eight as the son of former two-division champion Julius Jackson rose on unsteady legs. As soon as the fight resumed, Uzcategui jumped on Jackson again.
Smelling blood, Uzcategui began a 14-punch barrage by cornering and hammering Jackson (19-1, 15 KOs) to the body, finishing with a left-right combination to the head that once more dropped “The Chef,” this time at the 1:27 mark.
Jackson hit the deck for the third time with 40 seconds left, the crushing blows being a head-jerking left hand followed by a right uppercut that completed an eight-punch sequence.
“Never been hurt like that. It’s a new experience for me,” Jackson said. “I never thought about holding. I was trying to pop something in between and got caught.”
Somehow, Jackson—who came into Tuesday’s contest riding a nine-fight knockout streak—summoned the courage and fortitude to make it to the bell.
But all that did was delay the inevitable.
As soon as the second round started, Uzcategui immediately pounced on his wobbly rival, finishing off an eight-punch attack with a clean left hook that dropped Jackson one final time, forcing Weeks to wave an end to the bout at the 45-second mark.
“Julius never recovered from that first knockdown, but it was the first round, not the ninth or 10th, so there was some leeway for him to recover,” Weeks said. “I thought about stopping it in the first round, but the bell rang and saved him.
“I went to the corner, and his eyes were clear. But once he got hit with a solid blow in the second round, he went right back to that dazed look. I knew I had to stay close to him. When he took that last shot and went down, that was it.”
With the victory—his second in a row following a June 2014 unanimous-decision loss to Matt Korobov—Uzcategui is now in line to face British champion James DeGale should he win a November 28 defense against former champion Lucian Bute.
Not that Uzcategui was spending much time looking ahead Tuesday night. Rather, he was savoring the fact he did what few outside his inner circle thought he could: hand a highly touted opponent his first defeat.
“I know what it’s like to have a stumble in my career. I hope that [Jackson] doesn’t get discouraged by this,” Uzcategui said. “But this evening, it was mine.”
For his part, Jackson not only shook off the defeat, but after the fight, he summoned the courage to propose to his girlfriend, Nicole Wheatley.
“I still feel good,” Jackson said. “I'm confident that I can get back to the top of my weight class.”
For complete pre- and post-fight coverage of Jackson vs Uzcategui, be sure to visit our fight page.
Algenis Mendez upends Miguel Vazquez by unanimous decision in 135-pound battle
They call Miguel Vazquez “The Puppet,” but on Tuesday night, an initially perplexed Algenis Mendez found a way to control his opponent’s strings.
Outhustled, roughhoused and beaten to the punch by his Mexican rival through the middle rounds Tuesday night, Mendez picked up the pace behind his jab and left hook to win a 10-round unanimous decision in a clash of former champions at Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, Texas.
Although the fight seemed like it could go either way, Mendez (23-3-1, 12 KOs) prevailed rather comfortably in two of the judges’ eyes, winning by scores of 99-90, 97-92 and 95-94.
Vazquez (35-4, 13 KOs)—a 28-year-old Mexican whose unorthodox style is atypical of his countrymen’s traditional warrior search-and-destroy mentality—actually outlanded Mendez 111-101 overall. He also briefly shook Mendez with a third-round, right hand-left hook combination before later being stunned himself by a right-left combo at round’s end.
Until that point, Mendez struggled to land his jab or establish a rhythm with his setups. He also frequently missed windups with his right hand and his check left hook as Vazquez continued to force the action and frustrate Mendez by clenching, pushing and leading with his head.
Mendez began to swing the momentum with a big seventh round, which he appeared to be winning behind his jab and left hook before referee Gregorio Alvarez deducted a point from Vazquez for holding.
From that point, Mendez began to time Vazquez successfully through the ninth and 10th rounds, catching him off the jab with the left hook, including a telling shot early in the final round that caused sweat to spray from his rival’s head.
In the end, what looked to be a very tough fight to score ended up a rather easy victory for the 29-year-old Dominican Republic native.
For complete pre- and post-fight coverage of Vazquez vs Mendez, be sure to visit our fight page.