Fearsome puncher Julian Jackson – a man some say is THE biggest puncher in modern-day boxing history – had ruined the hard-to-hit Herol Graham to take the WBC middleweight title the previous November. Now, against another slick operator on Dennis “The Magician” Milton, Jackson was making the first defense of his second reign as champion (“The Hawk” having ruled as WBA 154 pound champ).
As feared as Jackson and his withering punching power was, the odds on the September 14, 1991 fight took a dramatic shift the day before, with Jackson going from 9/1 betting favorite to just a 2/1 favorite to win. What did the betting folks know?
Milton, who was entering the fight having had an 18-month layoff (Jackson had not fought in ten months), had earned good wins over Robbie Simms and Michael Olajide, and, before that, a 10-0 Gerald McClellan (this win, of course, looking a whole lot more impressive and being of far more significance after the fact).
A fine amateur who had been stopped just once as a pro (this by Angel Sindo in August of 1987), Milton was expected by some to give Jackson, who had eye problems (being almost forced to retire because of his sight issues) real problems. Instead, Jackson’s crippling power was evident once again. Coming right at his man, Jackson soon found a home for his crushing right hand. The shot slammed into Milton’s head, and the challenger was forced to hold onto the ropes with one hand in an effort to remain upright.
Jackson knew he had his man, and a few seconds later, another right obliterated Milton, Jackson’s right hand temporarily freezing Milton in mid-air, before he crashed, almost in slow-motion, to the canvas. The second the shot landed, Jackson threw up his hands in triumph.
Milton was laid flat on his back. His arms stretched out above his head; his body was motionless. The count was not needed, as a totally out of it, Milton was merely able to roll over and then fall on his face again. It was yet another highlight-reel knockout for a fighter who scored a ton of them during his thrilling career.
Jackson KO’d plenty of better fighters than Milton during his career, but this win, his 40th KO, and his first middleweight title defense were perhaps one of his more eye-catching works of destruction. There is no doubt about it. In the world of huge punchers, Julian “The Hawk” Jackson is either at the very top, or he is the top-10 of all-time.