‘J Rock’ kicks off his 2015

Photo by Christopher Toney Sr.

Photo by Christopher Toney Sr.


Junior middleweight contender Julian “J Rock” Williams and his trainer/manager, Stephen Edwards will readily admit that this afternoon’s fight at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada against Joey Hernandez isn’t the one they necessarily wanted to start off what could be a pivotal year for this career.


“I’m not going to say it’s the particular fight I yearned for but I didn’t really have no picks. I just wanted to hurry up and get in there and start the year off right,” said the 18-0-1 (11) Williams, who hails from the fighting city of Philadelphia.


Edwards admitted to UCNLive.com, “This wasn’t the actual fight that we wanted but you know how the game goes. I don’t want him sitting around not fighting at all. So I wanted a much more high-profile name but if we can’t get one, he has to fight. His last fight was in December [an eighth round TKO of Jamar Freeman] and they told us we’d get four fights in a year. He’s still young and improving so I’m not going to wait around. I want to keep fighting so he can build up in the rankings.


As “Breadman” mentioned, he wanted Williams to face a particular fighter – one with a championship pedigree – and like Williams, a client of Al Haymon, but there was reticence on this fighter’s part. Edwards declined to name that boxer publicly.


“So when we didn’t get the fight we wanted, I got a list of names and there were some good southpaws in the division, so I said, ‘Well, let’s take a southpaw since [Williams] hasn’t fought one,’ and keep building his record up and keep creating a demand and so people like you and the other knowledgeable guys in boxing say, ‘How come that kid’s not getting one of the bigger names?'” continued Edwards.


The harsh reality is, for the time being, Williams is a bit too risky for some of the better known names at 154. “Well, I don’t want to be the guy that goes around saying that my guy is the most feared guy and all that kinda stuff but I think that is a little bit of the reality,” stated Edwards, a noted boxing historian, who continued, “I also think that from a marketing standpoint and a standpoint of who creates the biggest paydays, I don’t think Julian creates the biggest paydays in the division. He may have sort of a young Terry Norris or Winky Wright kinda dilemma where’s he’s much riskier than what the reward is.


“But that’s why we have to keep building him up and make him into a champion so the paydays will equal the risk to fight him.”


Williams, a well-rounded, well-schooled technician is just happy to be fighting anyone for the time being.


“Yes, definitely. I’m not going to sit around and wait for anyone in particular. I don’t think there’s anyone in the division that’s so important for me to put my career on hold and wait. But I’m not considering this a stay-busy fight. I think [Hernandez] is going to put up a good fight. This is a legitimate test. It’s my first time fighting a southpaw. He’s a bit of a runner; he’s been 12 rounds. He’s only got two losses, so it should be a good test for me – a test I’m looking to pass though,” he says.


And with the likes of Erislandy Lara, Demetrius Andrade and Austin Trout in the division, chances are you just might run into a lefty one day.


Williams says, “There are about three southpaws in the division right now that we potentially can tangle with so we’d rather get the experience now and being as though I almost got 20 fights, I haven’t fought a southpaw yet. So I do think it was a smart decision to choose a southpaw this time, go and get some experience.”


Time is on Williams’ side, given that he’s just 24 years old. But 2015 has been earmarked as one in which he makes a significant move up the ladder. “I do think we’ll land a big fight,” said Edwards, who believes that his charge will soon be headlining cards. The plan calls for Williams to fight four times this year, just as he did in 2014, but with higher stakes involved.


“I’m not sure I’m going to get a title shot but obviously that’s the plan,” says Williams, who is mature beyond his years. “If I could get a title shot on Saturday, I would take it but I think the plan is to get a title shot whether I have four fights or not.”


And it’s still not clear if Williams will be a part of the CBS telecast. He says he is the swing bout and it will really depend on how many rounds the bout between Artur Beterbiev and Gabriel Campillo goes before the main event featuring Adonis Stevenson versus Sakio Bika for Stevenson’s WBC light heavyweight belt.


“Honestly, it really doesn’t matter to me,” said Williams. “I’d much rather fight early and not have to be in the swing spot and go up and have to sit around and wait for the next spot. If it’s TV, it’s great but if not, I’ve been on television plenty of times.”





Here’s an update on some of the stuff I talked about earlier this week regarding Roc Nation Sports’ two high-profile clients. First, it looks like a new leading contender has emerged to face middleweight champion Miguel Cotto in his next bout: Daniel Geale.


Now, it’s not clear just when and where this fight would be staged. Word is HBO isn’t too keen on this idea but perhaps if Cotto agrees to face Saul Alvarez in the fall, they would green-light it. As for the venue, different dates other than June 6 are now being kicked around as are venues far and wide from Las Vegas to Miami.


As for Andre Ward, he announced on Twitter that he would be returning to the ring on June 20 at the Oracle in Oakland, Calif. I would link that tweet but he has me blocked for some reason (geez, was it something I said? Yeah, it probably was). And get this: the word in the industry is that this bout against Tom Bob Anderson (TBA) could be on BET. Yes, I said that right: BET, with whom Roc Nation Sports is said to be consummating a time-buy with.


If this comes to fruition, I would hope that Donnie Simpson is part of the announcing crew.





The new-and-improved two-hour edition of “The Next Round” with Gabriel Montoya and Yours Truly.





Here’s the second edition of “3 Knockdown Rule” with Mario Lopez (host of EXTRA, among many other things) and me, now available for subscription on iTunes.





Yeah, I’ll be watching Big Knockout Boxing this Saturday night. Hey, I was entertained by their first card…OK, so is Golden Boy Promotions still representing Amir Khan? It’s hard to tell from this quote from Oscar De La Hoya…Word is FOX Sports 1 is now looking at a time-buy model for boxing…Not sure what I think about ESPN.com’s new layout…Stephen Curry has to be the NBA MVP, right?…It’s pretty clear the Angels want no part of Josh Hamilton anymore…I got Kentucky and Duke to play for it all on Monday night…I can be reached at steve.kim@ucnlive.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.




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