J-Rock Decisions Sugar Shay

By Robert Ecksel on November 19, 2017
J-Rock Decisions Sugar Shay
"I came out," said Smith, "and fought my ass off." (Chris Farina/Mayweather Promotions)

The victory over Ishe Smith was J-Rock’s second in as many fights on his road back to serious contention…

Saturday night at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada, Julian “J-Rock” Williams (24-1-1), the 154-pound contender from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, outpointed former IBF super welterweight champion Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith (29-9, 12 KOs), from Las Vegas, after 10 hard-fought rounds.

The final scores were 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91.

At the age of 39, Sugar Shay was looking to prove that it’s not over till it’s over. But by choosing to fight a tough 27-year-old contender with only one loss on his record, the odds and Father Time were stacked against him.

But J-Rock also had something to prove. In his first shot at a world title, against reigning and defending IBF super welterweight champion Jermall Charlo in December 2016, he was dropped three times on his way to legit but no less devastating knockout loss. He is rebuilding one fight at a time, and the victory over Smith was the second in as many fights on his road back to serious contention.

Williams came out swinging at the opening bell, looking to end it early. But Smith, while no world-beater, is a seasoned professional and former champion who was determined to make it as difficult as possible for the Philly fighter.

J-Rock drew first blood in the second round due to an accidental head butt that opened a cut above Smith’s left eye. Smith was bloodied but he wasn’t done. He staggered Williams in the fifth but could not close the show. J-Rock landed an uppercut with bad intentions that abruptly ended the rally.

A second head butt, also unintentional, drew more blood from the game former champ, who continued to fight as if his life and career depended on it.

In the 10th and final round a third accidental head butt caused Smith to double over in pain. But he gutted it out and finished the fight on his feet.

“I came out and fought my ass off,” said Sugar Shay. “The judges saw what they saw. This was first time I got cut in a fight so that was weird. The cut was bothering me a little bit, but I was able to weather the storm. He is a good upcoming kid and I think I did the best I could. I could have taken a tune up and fought somebody easier, but I hung in there and gave it my all.”

Smith gave it his all, but his all was not enough.

“The win was good and it was a great experience,” J-Rock said. “Ishe Smith is a tough customer. There is a reason he’s never been caught. Everyone was talking about his experience, but I’ve got experience too. This is my second world champion I’ve fought. I carried that experience into this fight. He is a gritty veteran and I had to fight on his home turf. It was a great learning experience for me.”

We’ve not heard the last of either fighter. Ishe Smith fought well against a man a decade younger. And for that younger man, Julian “J-Rock” Williams, there are more triumphs to come.

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