Jermaine Franklin (19-0, 13 KOs) was dubbed the next big American Heavyweight prospect. On Friday night June 12, he quickly lost that nickname and any momentum he was gaining.
In front of a Tacoma, Washington crowd in Emerald Green, Casino, Franklin struggled against little known Jerry Forest. (25-3, 19 KOs).
Franklin looked heavy, lethargic and unmotivated. He swung wildly and missed badly several times throughout the contest. This was Franklin’s big show me moment, as he was the headline of a Showtime card. What he ended up showing was that he isn’t quite ready just yet.
Both men came out on fire in the opening stanza. Although both men aren’t huge punchers, they seemed determined to make it an early night. When the fist started flying, it was Forrest who was getting off first.
He knocked the mouthpiece out of Franklin’s mouth with a right hand and continued to land mean upper cuts on the inside. Franklin did not back down one inch as he continued to fire back his own shots, most of which missed.
The rest of the contest continued at a much more controlled pace. Franklin plodded around the ring and tried to let his hands go. Often times he would walk right into shots while coming in. At every facet of the fight, it looked as though Forrest was the more effective and busier fighter. He landed shots on the inside and outboxed Franklin on the outside.
Perplexed with what was taking place, Franklin simply came with the same tactics each round. Force his man, miss big shots while landing a few occasional ones.
It looked as though the undefeated Heavyweight was on his way to picking up his first professional loss. For what it’s worth, every commentator had Forrest winning the fight by a healthy margin.
It was surprising to say the least when Franklin was determined the winner. One judge scored the bout 96-95 in favor of Forrest but was overruled as the two remaining judges scored it 97-93 for Franklin.
Seemingly lucky to pull off the victory, Franklin did not seem to think the contest was as close as the scorecards were.
“I didn’t think it was that close,” said Franklin, widely regarded as the top American heavyweight prospect who was the 2014 National Golden Gloves Champion. “I won more rounds. I think you could give him a couple rounds, but it wasn’t that close. Even when they said split decision I knew it wasn’t that close. I wasn’t worried.”
He may not be worried, but he should be. Franklin took a major hit in terms of being viewed as the next great American Heavyweight.