Julian Williams suffers upset split decision loss to Vladimir Hernandez!
In his latest contest, former unified world junior middleweight champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams (27-3-1, 16 KOs) answered a number of questions for interested observers. Unfortunately it was not the message he wanted to send. He failed to show any real improvement in his style by dropping a heartbreaking split decision loss to Vladimir Hernandez (13-4, 6 KOs) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in their ten-round contest.
Heading into this bout, there was a bit of an unknown factor and that blurry realm lies mainly at the feet of Williams. Back in May of 2019, the 31-year-old originally won the 154-pound IBF and WBA titles by way of unanimous decision in an action-packed war with Jarrett Hurd. However, he immediately lost those titles in his first defense by a surprising fifth round technical knockout to Jeison Rosario in January of 2020. J-Rock hasn’t fought since that loss.
The upset win came as a significant surprise as Hernandez didn’t appear to be on William’s level. His biggest win was over a far-past-his-prime, former world title challenger Alfredo Angulo. Outside of that singular triumph, he’s come up short against better competition in or close to their prime. Well, that was until now!
After such a long layoff though, it was interesting to see how Williams looked moving in the ring. Already ranked #4 (WBA), #5 (WBC) and #10 (IBF) at 154, this showing was supposed put J-Rock right back in the junior middleweight world title picture. Instead, he is now plunged even further into limbo with his back-to-back losses.
HARDHAT AND LUNCH TYPE OF DAY
The fight began at a ferocious pace that saw both men land great shots throughout the first round. By the end of the opening period though, Hernandez had a cut over his right eye. During the second round, the fight became an all-you-can-eat buffet of hammering right hooks that J-Rock was force feeding his foe. To his credit, Hernandez proved to be tough as Flintstone feet as he would not take a backwards step no matter what fire he walked through.
While J-Rock was firmly in control, in the third round the Mexican was levying an impressive body attack against the former world champ. By the fourth, the concentration of belly punches seemed to slow Williams a hair. With the coming of the fifth, J-Rock changed tactics a bit by becoming a more elusive target. Up to that point, he was standing right in front of Hernandez returning tit-for-tat warfare. To make matters worse, Hernandez suffered a cut on his other eye after an accidental clash of heads.
TROUBLE DOWN THE STRETCH
The Mexican continued to narrow the gap and actually had Williams looking openly fatigued in the seventh. Now, the Philly native fought with his mouth hanging open and regularly looking to hold. Despite his two freely bleeding eyes, Hernandez enjoyed a very good eighth. He was able to clearly outwork and out-land with debilitating hooks to the ribs and ripping uppercuts when in close. Williams was visibly growing even more physical worn. Hernandez would go on to dominate the ninth as well.
The Mexican came out throwing the same whirlwind of punches to begin the tenth and final round. J-Rock was trying to play the role of dutiful soldier but he was wilting badly. Along with the torso trauma, Hernandez was now clocking Williams with a crisp, straight left that snapped his head back. The money shot had been paying dividends for the last few rounds. When the bout ended, the Philly native didn’t seem to have any more to offer. Had this been a twelve round fight, it’s almost certain that Williams would have been stopped.
When the scorecards were read, Vladimir Hernandez was announced as the winner by upset split decision. This was a crushing loss for Julian Williams and will no doubt change Hernandez’s career and life in dramatically beneficial fashion.
By: Bakari Simpson