By Ian S Palmer
Julian ‘J Rock’ Williams of Philadelphia will be taking on Ishe Smith of Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan in Smith’s hometown this Saturday, November 18th. The 10-round junior middleweight bout will be broadcast live in the U.S. on the Bounce TV network. Williams last fought back in June when he stopped Joshua Conley in the fifth round. Smith’s last bout was a 10-round majority decision over Frank Galarza in September.
The 27-year-old Williams has a fine record of 23-1-1 with 15 Kos to his name. His lone loss was a fifth-round KO at the hands of IBF World Champion Jermall Charlo last December while his draw was a six-round affair with Francisco Santana in 2011. Williams also fought a no-contest with Hugo Centeno Jr. when the contest was halted in the fourth round due to an accidental head butt. Williams stands 5-feet-11-inches tall with a reach of 72.5 inches. He turned pro in 2010 and has 135 rounds of experience under his belt since then. He has decent power with a current knockout ratio of 58 per cent.
There are a few other familiar names on Williams’ opponent list up to now other than Charlo as he’s also taken on the likes of Centeno Jr., Joey Hernandez, Eliezer Gonzalez, Freddy Hernandez and Joachim Alcine. He hung in there against Charlo until his chin gave out and he’s now hoping to work his way back up the rankings to improve his chances at getting a world title shot. Smith has more pro experience, but Williams had a pretty good amateur career before turning pro.
The 39-year-old Smith is 5-feet-10-inches tall with a 71-inch wingspan, so is the same height as Williams with a negligible 1.5-inch disadvantage in reach. Smith turned pro back in 2000 and has 244 rounds to his name since. He’s actually the first ever Las Vegas-born boxer to hold a world championship. He achieved this when he took the IBF Jr. Middleweight crown from Cornelius Bundrage via a majority decision in February of 2013.
However, Smith lost that belt just seven months later when Carlos Molina beat him by a split decision. He enters the fight with a record of 29-8 with 12 Kos, so it’s not too hard to tell that he doesn’t have much in the way of power with a current knockout ratio of just 32 per cent. Smith is basically regarded as a defensive counterpuncher rather than an aggressive pressure fighter and he lacks the power to keep heavy-handed punchers off of him.
Smith’s losses have been at the hands of Vanes Matirosyan, Erislandy Lara, Carlos Molina, Fernando Guerrero, Daniel Jacobs, Joel Julio, Sechew Powell and Sergio Mora. However, he has an excellent chin and has never been stopped. His biggest wins have been against Bundrage, Pawel Wolak, Anthony Bonsante, Randal Bailey and David Estrada. The former champ is always competitive, but has usually come out on the wrong end of decisions when stepping up in class.
Some boxers try to take advantage of Smith’s lack of power and wade right in, but Williams might attempt to outbox him. Smith’s best chance here is to just keep throwing punches to the body and head and make sure Williams doesn’t get into any kind of groove. He’s going to have to make sure he doesn’t leave any wide openings for J Rock to counter him though. Smith should give Williams a good battle, but I think he’ll fall just short once again.