Saturday, January 18, 2020 provided the perfect reminder of the unpredictability of boxing.
On paper, Jeison Rasario (20-1-1) was an outmatched underdog, with many onlookers viewing the bout as a showcase title defense for the hometown Julian “J-Rock” Williams (27-2-1).
Instead, Jeison Rosario proved to be a focussed and skillful fighter who not only beat J-Rock, but did so handedly.
Often times, upsets of this caliber are viewed as fluke performances by the winner or a case of the champion overlooking the outmatched challenger.
Williams has never been known to look past an opponent, and nothing about the performance by Rosario seemed as though it couldn’t be replicated in a repeat performance.
Rosario boxed beautifully behind a strong jab and effective power punching.
In this performance, he proved to be among the elite in the Junior Middleweight division and is now a holder of three belts. So, what’s next for the sudden star?
5. Erislandy Lara
Although Erislandy Lara isn’t viewed in the same capacity as he was in years past, he is still a worthy challenger. In his last bout he won the vacant WBA Regular title in a second round demolition of Ramon Alvarez.
If the plan is for Jeison Rosario to be a mainstay as a champion, a bout with Lara might provide him with the perfect opportunity to test himself against a former and interim champion and continue to build his resume.
4. Julian Williams
Most would have thought that, if Julian Williams somehow lost this fight to Rosario, an instant rematch would be in order. However, the shockingly one-sided performance by Jeison Rosario does not lead to the necessity of an immediate rematch.
Still, the potential of a second fight is a tantalizing matchup. The first fight, for the brief time it lasted, pitted two sharp boxers with fight changing power against one another.
It might make more sense for each fighter to fight someone else prior to an immediate rematch, however.
Williams does have the first choice and will likely look to enact the rematch clause as he stated following the bout.
3. Erickson Lubin
Since the knockout loss to Jermell Charlo, Erickson Lubin has been on a tear. In that time he has won four fights in a row, three of them by way of knockout.
Lubin has responded to his knockout loss in a world title bout similarly to how Julian Williams bounced back from the knockout loss to Jermall Charlo enroute to gaining and subsequently losing world titlist status.
Lubin has worked his way back into title contention, and would be a perfect candidate to contend once again against Jeison Rosario. This bout would be a guaranteed high level and hard hitting bout.
2. Jarrett Hurd
It is no secret that “Swift” Jarrett Hurd wants to regain his titles. To do so, he will no longer have the option to avenge his first professional loss. Instead, he will have to take on the man that made short work of his rival.
Hurd is looking to regain confidence and get back into the win column this Saturday. Many thought that Swift was on his way to the Middleweight division, but announced that he would remain at 154.
Rosario would provide a clear path back to the top of the division for Hurd. Meanwhile, Hurd could provide a challenge that would strengthen Rosarios claim as a unified World Champion.
1. Jermell Charlo
This is the perfect opportunity to unify the belts. It is time for PBC and boxing in general to pit its champions against one another. Yes, there are many intriguing matchups to be made at 154, but a bout between two top champions is the fight to make.
Jermell Charlo successfully regained his WBC belt in December with a hard-fought knockout victory against his new arch nemesis, Tony Harrison.
Many would like to see a trilogy fight eventually, but for now: unify the division to add clarity and create a clear claim of supremacy in the Junior Middleweight division with a four belt bout.