Julian “The Hawk” Jackson - Hall Of Fame Worthy?

By James Slater: Reading about how the two sons of legendary 154-pound and 160-pound banger Julian Jackson are soon to fight again got me thinking about the Virgin Island’s “Hawk” - the man who scored so many eye-catching KO’s, some of them of the one punch variety, in the 1980s and 1990s.

Jackson, who captured major titles at light-middleweight and middleweight (twice) electrified the two weight classes with his kill or be killed style of fighting. Never blessed with a great chin (or, later in his career, 20/20 vision - Jackson was refused a licence to box in the U.K due to his poor eyesight), Jackson instead relied on his fast, accurate hands, his shuddering power and a killer instinct rarely seen today.

With his wicked power, Jackson went right through top names like Terry Norris, In-Chul Baek, Buster Drayton and Dennis Milton like a hot knife through butter; while his come-from-behind KO over Herol Graham is the stuff of legend.

Later on, when at the stage of his career where his talents were known the world over, Jackson went to war with Gerald McClellan (twice). The first encounter, of May 1993, was a classic slugfest, the return saw “The G Man” emerge as the new monster of the middleweight division. Jackson battled on for a further four years after the rematch 1st-round loss to McClellan - even managing to regain the WBC belt with a 2nd-round KO of the unbeaten Agostino Carmadone - finally retiring after losing to Quincy Taylor and then Verno Phillips and Anthony Jones: all three defeats coming via stoppage.

But had Jackson, one of the single hardest punchers of all-time, done enough to be ranked today as a great; maybe even a Hall of Famer?

Jackson became well known enough and had a big enough impact for his fans to be able to argue his eligibility for The Hall, and his signature victories (over Norris, Baek, Drayton, Graham, Thomas Tate, and Carmadone) deserve respect. “The Hawk,” 55-6(49) also brought much exposure to his homeland of The Virgin Islands; arguably the relatively small population’s best-ever fighter.

So is the man who retired in 1998 worthy of being inducted at Canastota? In the case of Jackson, it’s close but no cigar. The losses - to Mike McCallum (in Julian’s first world title shot, down at 154), to McClellan (twice), to Taylor and the two right at the end of his career - do take something away from Jackson’s legacy.

In short, he was a great puncher, yet his all-round talents were not great. Jackson is a legend as far as The Virgin Islands go, and the adulation he enjoys at home he has earned. And whenever anyone compiles a Greatest Puncher’s list, Jackson is right there near the top. But Hall of Fame? No. Not quite.

Jackson and his brutal punching power will never be forgotten though.

Article posted on 19.04.2012

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