After losing his two previous title attempts, Detroit native breaks through using defense and ring generalship to score a UD win and claim the WBC's 154-pound belt on PBC on FOX.
Brooklyn, N.Y. — No one expected to hear “and new.”
Possibly not even Tony Harrison himself.
But that’s the shock wave that blew through Barclays Center Saturday night when Jimmy Lennon read the unanimous scores of Robin Taylor (116-112) and Julie Lederman and Ron McNair (who each had 115-113) for “the new WBC super welterweight champion … Tony Harrison.”
Harrison seemed to break into a million pieces running every which way in the ring, while a stunned, disbelieving Jermell Charlo stood there with his mouth as wide as the Lincoln Tunnel.
Maybe the third time is the charm, because Harrison failed in two previous attempts to win a world title, before annexing the WBC super welterweight from Charlo before 9,177 fans in Brooklyn on a memorable debut night of the newly-revamped PBC on Fox series.
Defending the title for the fourth time, Charlo (31-1, 15 KOs) suffered his first defeat, while Harrison (28-2, 21 KOs) won for the fifth-straight time.
“I dictated the pace. That's what champions do,” Harrison said. “He wound up for big shots and I kept my defense tight. All we worked on was defense. I kept my composure and I did what champions do. I’m blessed. I told y’all, my family, everyone. He’s a great champion. I’ve seen him in the gym. He’s a hell of a champion. I used my ring generalship.
“Jermell—you gave me a shot—I’ll give you a rematch.
“I got back to my corner after every round. They told me to just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re dictating the pace. I dictated the pace. That’s what champions do. Champions don’t just try to knock people out. That’s all he wanted to do. I dictated it. I used my jab. I dictated the fight. That’s what champions do.”
Minutes after the scores were read, Charlo still couldn’t fathom what he just heard. It was like living through a bad dream.
“They took that fight from me,” Charlo said. “I was pressing the action. He didn’t win that fight. I’m going to get my belts back. I still want Jarrett Hurd. I know my brother knows I won that fight. I might have given away a few rounds, but I won that fight.”
“ Champions don’t just try to knock people out. That’s all he wanted to do. I dictated it. I used my jab. I dictated the fight. That’s what champions do. ” WBC Junior Middleweight Champion Tony Harrison
Bad blood boiled over from the outset, when Harrison turned his back and refused to touch gloves with Charlo to begin the fight.
Charlo seemed unfazed. He flicked the jab, while Harrison connected with a heavy jab. Charlo opened the second stanza attacking Harrison, who quickly retreated. Harrison was trying to establish the jab, yet Charlo didn’t really give him a chance.
Charlo patiently waited, Harrison did sneak in a left to Charlo’s head. It seemed apparently early on, however, that Harrison wasn’t going to be able to hurt Charlo with anything he threw. He would have to win on guile and volume, which he didn’t exhibit too much of over the first two rounds. Harrison may have realized that he couldn’t hurt Charlo, but it didn’t mean he would stick with doing the things that could beat Charlo, like use movement and work off angles, pop a consistent jab and sporadically throw a straight right.
By the third, Charlo’s patience appeared to wearing thin. He attacked the cautious Harrison and connected with a left to the body, which had Harrison reeling backwards. In the fourth, Harrison snapped Charlo’s head back with a jab. Charlo answered a minute later with a right to the side of Harrison’s face.
Although, Harrison possibly did enough to win the fourth. He was certainly more active and his confidence was growing entering the fifth.
A Harrison straight right to Charlo’s chin buckled the defending champ. For a few brief seconds, Charlo was on wobbly legs. Charlo eventually stabilized, and popped a right on the top of Harrison’s head in the final :30 of the fourth, which seemed to stun the Detroit fighter.
Through five, it was a competitive fight.
But Harrison found he could penetrate Charlo’s defense. He banged a right and a left off Charlo’s face in the sixth.
In the seventh, Harrison’s right eye appeared bloodshot. He used volume to score, but Charlo had the heavier punches. In the eighth, Harrison caught Charlo coming in with a left hook, but the Houston-based super welterweight walked through it.
Harrison’s two losses came by ninth-round stoppages, and he survived a punishing right to the face in the final minute of the round. In the 10th, Charlo stalked Harrison, comfortably tapping Harrison when he could. Harrison, meanwhile, appeared content to last and get away.
That’s what he did—enduring a Charlo brutal left hook in the 12th.
Punch stats lean towards Charlo, who landed a total of 160 (25 body shots)548 punches (29.2%), 52 (5 body)/328 jabs (15.9%) and 108 (20 body)/220 power shots (49.1%). Harrison connected on a total of 128 (10)/377 punches (34%), 57 (6)/193 jabs (29.5%) and 71(4)/184 power shots (38.6%).
For a closer look at Charlo vs Harrison, take a look at our fight page.