Plenty of knowledgable fight fans today tell you Julian Jackson, a former champ at 154 and 160 pounds, deserves to be called THE single hardest puncher in the history of the sport. Ever. There have been many chilling punchers over the years, over the decades – from flyweight up to heavyweight. Yet Jackson, known as “The Hawk,” tops them all in the ability to terminate a fight with a single punch. At least he does according to plenty of fans who witnessed the Virgin Islander’s lethal finishing abilities.
Consider some of the men Jackson laid out, and how he did it:
In Chul Baek: stopped just twice in his 50-fight pro career, Jackson inflicting the first KO.
Buster Drayton: stopped just three times in his long career, Jackson inflicting the second stoppage loss in his career.
Terry Norris: a potentially career-ending KO over a future star who was stopped four times as a pro, two of these KO’s coming at the end of Norris’ career.
Herol Graham: THE KO of The Year in 1990.
Agostino Carmadone: A KO win over an unbeaten puncher who was at the time looked at as a future star.
And: Dennis Milton, Ismael Negron and Ron Collins.
But it wasn’t just the quality of fighters Jackson levelled – it was the manner in which he did it. Often needing just a shot or two to obliterate a foe, Jackson was, for some time, the king of the highlight reel.
It was 30 years ago today when Jackson, defending his WBA super-welterweight title, iced Norris in utterly spectacular fashion in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Having been outboxed in the opening round by the slick and fast Norris, Jackson was unperturbed. Sure enough he would let his howitzers do their job in time. Jackson found his mark in round-two. Three devastating head shots ruined Norris, sending him out and at the time making all fans rule out any chance of Norris becoming the great fighter he would actually become years later.
Jackson scored his biggest, most high-profile win, yet eye trouble would unfortunately catch up with him, affecting his ability to land the super, super fights. Jackson moved up to middleweight and had to fight in a sparse arena in Spain to win the WBC belt at 160 – almost decapitating defensive genius Herol Graham to get his hands on the belt; but not before being embarrassingly outboxed, his eye swollen.
Jackson wore thick-lensed glasses when not in the ring, yet he was, as WBC champ, allowed to fight in Las Vegas. Three retentions of the middleweight belt followed, before Jackson met the fearsome Gerald McClellan in 1993. An epic shoot-out later, Jackson was an ex-champ with an uncertain future.
“I know I had him,” Jackson said post-fight when describing how he had let McClellan off the hook.
Jackson fought on, losing a return to “The G-Man,” and then, after hammering Carmadone to briefly reign again as WBC middleweight champ, being stopped in all three of his last big fights.
Jackson exited with a 55-6 record, during which he scored no less than 49 KO’s.
Just where does Jackson rank amongst the finest, most efficient punchers in boxing?