Whenever the subject of greatest ever puncher comes up (as it so often does among fight fans), the name Julian Jackson ALWAYS appears. Often referred to by some fans, in fact by quite a lot of fans, as the single hardest-hitting middleweight of modern times, “The Hawk” sure provided his sport with some scary, chilling, thrilling highlight reel KO’s – see his icings of Terry Norris, Herol Graham, Dennis Milton, and a good many others.
But, like so many monster bangers (not all, some being blessed with power AND a great chin), Jackson was also vulnerable. Twice, Gerald McClellan took Jackson out. While before he became champion, the superbly underrated Mike McCallum took Jackson to school for a brief lesson, stopping him in a couple of sessions.
But in his prime, Jackson was pure terror; he was pure, raw KO excitement. But nothing lasts forever, and so it was that on this day, when a returning Mike Tyson and his easy-lickings ass kicking of a “fight” with the hand-picked Peter McNeeley stole all the headlines (along with the fans’ money), Jackson had his final world title fight. And he lost by KO.
Facing the skilled Quincy Taylor (another somewhat underrated fighter), a nearly 35-year-old Jackson, his eyesight having a bigger question next to it than any seen on any eye-chart, was out of bullets, his get-out-of-jail power failing to save him the way it had done in his previous fight when he had survived some rocky moments to halt a guy named Agostino Carmadone to pick up the vacant WBC middleweight belt; this making the bomber from the Virgin Island’s a three-time champ.
Against Taylor, Jackson tore his rotator cuff, and he looked, as reviews of the fight said at the time, “like a shadow of his former self.”
The power was still there, but Jackson faded and worn, and couldn’t land it. It was a sad end, as it is for so many gunslingers and wear-their-heart-on-their-sleeve power punchers. Jackson did fight on, winning two fights on points…..on points! When did that ever happen? In fact, Jackson had won a small few previous fight by decision, but fans were used to seeing him lay an opponent out, and this is why they paid the big bucks to see him fight. Jackson also picked up a couple of low-key KO’s before he was stopped twice more, by Verno Phillips and then by Anthony Jones.
Exiting with a 55-6(49) record that could have/should have been bereft of those final two losses, Jackson is today a fighter, a simply legendary puncher, that fans continue to marvel over. Jackson, at his heights, WAS one of the single most lethal punching 160-pounders who ever lived. It’s a fact; look it up. But Jackson’s final few fights made for pretty grim viewing.
No man can stay on top forever, no matter how hard he punches.