Home Columns Julian Jackson vs. John Mugabi Fantasy Match-Up

Julian Jackson vs. John Mugabi Fantasy Match-Up

An All Time Great Boxing Match That Never Happened Between Two Hard Punching Warriors

Comparing two fighters that fought at the same time and in the same division, but never faced one another, is always an intriguing way to look back into the history of the sport. While it’s always fun to compare a Sonny Liston against a Lennox Lewis type dream matchup, realistically the match of course never would have been able to happen. Therefore, I like to pit two fighters against one another who fought at the same time and very well could have, and maybe should have, slugged it out.

One of my featured matchups would have taken place at the Junior Middleweight division. This was my favorite division back in the ’80s. It was a stop-off for welterweights moving up to the riches of the middleweight division. In my opinion, great fighters such as Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns could have enjoyed their best fights at this weight class. We never really knew since both fighters had but brief stays at this weight.

So my great fight that never happened here pits two of the hardest punchers this division has ever seen.  John “the Beast” Mugabi against Julian ‘the Hawk’ Jackson.  They actually briefly held titles simultaneously around 1989 but each fighter was looking upwards and onwards to the Middleweight division for bigger paydays.  Unfortunately, for boxing fans they never looked at one another for what would have been one of the most explosive fights that would have ever been made. So enough with the introductions let’s get to fighting!

Julian Jackson vs. John Mugabi Fantasy Fight

The opening bell rings and both fighters take a little time to start heaving bombs. Both fighters let their hands go in a spirited exchange that has the crowd on their feet immediately. Jackson seems sharper with short combos using both hands, and Mugabi is winging bombs more recklessly. About 90 seconds into the round, Jackson delivers a short, compact left hook that finds Mugabi’s chin flush and pitches him forward to the canvas. Mugabi quickly gets to his feet at the count of 4 and tells the ref he’s alright.

Though all smiles, Mugabi is clearly hurt andJackson wastes no time in coming forward with combinations with both hands. Mugabi tries to wing back but is staggered into the ropes. With Jackson opening up more, Mugabi tags him with a wild right hand and clips him behind the ear, dropping him to the seat of his trunks. Jackson wisely sits up on one knee and rides the count to nine before rising. He’s clearly stunned and the fighters engage in a wild exchange for the last 20 seconds till the bell saves both of them. Mugabi pumps his fists in the air as he returns to his corner and the crowd is frantic.

Round 2 begins with Jackson wisely using his height to snap his jab and circle to his right.  Mugabi keeps pumping his right hand and Jackson neatly avoids the punch and fires off combinations to the head and body.  The round is uneventful compared to the first but is clearly won with Jackson’s steady flow of punches.

Round 3 and 4 are almost carbon copies of Round 2 with Jackson snapping his jab and neatly firing off combinations as he backs Mugabi up. Mugabi keeps firing bombs and definitely has Jackson’s respect but is inconsistent in getting his offense going.  At the beginning of Round 4, he seems to stun Jackson with a snapping right uppercut but is unable to follow up with any significant punches as Jackson wisely ties him up. At the end of Round 4, Jackson begins to land consistent bombs to Mugabi’s chin and body behind his jab.  ackson hammers Mugabi with 7 unanswered bombs to the head as the bell rings.

The referee pays a visit to Mugabi’s corner afterwards and trainer Mickey Duff assures the referee that he’s OK. Round 5 begins with Mugabi covering up and Jackson picking up where he left off. Jackson again opens up with both hands until a thumping left hook from Mugabi wobbles Jackson badly. Mugabi wastes little time and pounces on Jackson with both hands blazing.  Jackson tries valiantly to regain momentum with a single punch but Mugabi swarms him and puts him on the canvas with a straight right followed by a hook to the chin. Jackson barely beats the count and rises on unsteady legs.

The referee lets the fight proceed and Mugabi races across the ring, unleashing a two fisted barrage. With seconds left in the round, Mugabi lands a titanic hook to the body that leaves Jackson lifeless and follows with an overhand right that lands as Jackson is crumpling to the canvas. The referee doesn’t even bother to count as he immediately calls the fight off.

Mugabi prevails at 2:58 of round 5 in what we call “15 minutes of fame (in hell)” and becomes the unified WBA and WBC junior middleweight titleholder.