By Michael Woods
Of the three fights to run tonight on Showtime and the two on HBO, I think it possible that the buzz war will be won by Julian “J Rock” Williams.
The 25 year old junior middleweight Pennsylvanian owns a 21-0-1 mark, with 13 KOs.
I get the sense that he’s matured as a professional, feels it in his bones. He tops the Showtime slate and meets 16-1 Marcelo Matano, from Italy, an unknown in the States. He was stopped in his sole loss, to an 8-3-1 guy.
I checked in with J Rock trainer Stephen Edwards to get some insight on this matchup and his kid.
Does he think his fighter makes the biggest splash among all the featured fighters tonight?
“I hope but people are expecting him to do what he did last time. I haven’t decided if I send him out like that again,” the trainer told me.
Williams blasted out Luciano Cuello, from Brazil, in his last outing, in September.
“He’s only fought 1 round in 9 months, so I may make him box the first few rounds. People don’t get it, I don’t want him going into a championship fight with just a couple rounds in a year. But we will see, if the opponent brings it, he’s going to get punished. Not sure if he has a chin but we will find out.”
What’s the scouting report on Matano? “Scrappy, well conditioned but doesn’t have alot of pedigree,” said the trainer nicknamed “Breadman.” (Where did that come from? “There was a movie called “Cornbread, Earl and Me.” I was a really good basketball player in my youth. I’m 6’3, played shooting guard. So in high school everyone called me Cornbread, and as I got older I was known to bet on sports and win big. So the “Corn” got cut off and they started calling me “Breadman.”)
For the record, I hear good things about Edwards, and if Williams keeps ascending, there will be more interest in him. I asked him about himself. What’s his story?
“I played high school basketball and injured my knee my senior year, which deflated me,” the trainer said. “I always loved boxing and just started going to the gym for a release. I would just spar whoever I could because I knew I had a late start. But I was in college and was pursuing a career in criminal justice so I stopped boxing but never lost my passion. Six years ago I saw Julian who I had known since 2007 and he asked me to help train him because he was turning pro. Since then I have worked with a few world class fighters and elite amateurs but the cream have been J Rock and Kyrone Davis who is 10-0.”