John Jackson: A Beautiful Display Despite a Loss

John Jackson and Jermell Charlo engaged in battle
John Jackson and Jermell Charlo engaged in battle at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, May 21, 2016

Saturday May 21, 2016, Showtime featured a triple-header with three titles in the super welterweight division at stake. The opening bout featured a pairing of boxer-punchers: Houston native Jermell Charlo (28-0 13KO’s) taking on Virgin Islands native John Jackson (20-3 15KO’s). When the bout was first made, it was intriguing as both fighters are technically sound, with respectable power, (the edge in this category clearly goes to Jackson as he has inherited some of his dad’s renowned power) and a strong desire to win. For Charlo, it was the desire to step out of the shadow of his identical twin brother, IBF Super Welterweight Champion, Jermall Charlo. For Jackson it was about representing his hometown of St. Thomas Virgin Islands and the Jackson brand and name made famous by his father Julian Jackson. As intriguing as the fight was on paper, it was equally surprising in the ring.

Before I delve into an analysis of what transpired, I want to clearly state that there is no such thing as a flawless fighter or someone fighting a perfect fight. Mistakes will be made in the most brutal of chess matches – the fight game. What is clearly seen during a fight are the two combatants in the ring exchanging punches and trying to secure victory. What is often missed, overlooked and disregarded is the grueling preparation it takes to get to that point.  Now on to the fight.

The Game Plan: What Went Right for John

The 340 Boxing team designed a great game plan and in-fight strategy and John was executing it beautifully. Noted for being an aggressive fighter with fight-changing power, Charlo was completely befuddled when John came out and boxed. Jackson used great ring generalship, lateral movement, effective timing, combination punching and a great mix of power shots to keep Charlo confused and perplexed. John’s ability to effectively use lateral movement enabled him to dictate the pace of the fight and keep Charlo off rhythm and off balance.

John was also setting some great traps and was catching Charlo coming in. John’s backing up forced Charlo to rush in or reach and that provided the opportunity for John to stop suddenly, fire and then move again. This was a great strategy and Charlo did not seem to have an answer for it.

What Went Wrong for John

John did not do many things wrong in this fight. Though he was boxing beautifully, there are some things that he could have incorporated into his strategy and I will expand more on that a little later. The key thing that John did wrong in this fight is something that has been seen in some of his previous fights and can be corrected in the gym – he started dropping his hands. Ironically though, his hands were up at the time of the KO sequence. However, dropping his hands served as an invitation to his opponent to come in and attack; it gave him a clean look at the target and tempted him to exploit it. Sitting at ringside, I noticed in the fifth round that John started to drop his hands to the mid torso area. He was comfortable and in command of the fight and most of the time when he did this, he was out of range. However, Charlo is not a slow fighter and has the ability to close the gap pretty quickly.

While not as devastating, the fight ending sequence in this fight, was seen two weeks ago when Canelo stopped Amir Khan. In both cases, the one-two brought the end of the fight. Canelo used a throw-away jab to get Khan to drop his hands to block the punch, which opened the door for the straight right hand to land. Charlo used a short jab and chopping overhand right to stun John. The right landed on the left eye/temple area of John and immediately dazed him and affected his equilibrium. This was evidenced by the stiffening of his right leg and the awkward way in which he slowly turned away that compelled Charlo to attack with the left hook to a defenseless Jackson.  Referee Tony Weeks was left with no choice but to jump in and stop the fight. During that sequence did John do anything wrong? No. He was attempting to land a left hook of his own but Charlo’s two punches hit their target before John’s did. Exchanges are risky for both fighters as both are exposed at that point. Unfortunately, Charlo got there first and it led to the fight being stopped.

What John Can Incorporate Going Forward

It is always 20/20 in hindsight and I am in no way attempting to be the Monday morning quarterback. However, there are some things that I would have liked to have seen incorporated into John’s in-fight strategy on fight night.

  1. John had superb defense during the fight. Yes he has a habit of dropping his hands (which is attributable to his comfort level in the fight and something that must be corrected in the gym). However, he made Charlo miss, miss often and miss wildly; but he did not make him pay. There were opportunities for John to counter when Charlo missed and was open, exposed and out of position.
  2. Another thing I would like to have seen more of was the jab. Not one jab, but to double and triple the jab. Additionally, jabbing while moving. John had exceptional lateral movement. How great would it have been to fire off a couple of jabs as he was moving?
  3. Turn Charlo. There was some concern about Charlo’s left hook, and rightfully so. At this level, no one throws slow punches or soft punches. The punches are all fast and hurt. However, there was an opening for John to fire some shots, return his guard and quickly step to his own right, on an angle and force Charlo to have to turn to his left and reset. John would have been stepping away from Charlo’s dominant and strongest hand –  the right, getting Charlo out of position and being in position to land secondary shots as Charlo had to reset. Ideally, you want to be moving or stepping as you are throwing your shots. Trust me, it is not easy to do, but John has the skills and abilities to do it.

Where does he Go From Here?

Onward and upward. Yes he came up short in this fight, but it was a fight where he was boxing well, leading on the scorecards and looking good doing it. He is humble, fan-friendly and extremely skilled and talented. In this fickle boxing landscape, a loss can be extremely detrimental to a fighter’s career. However, I don’t see that as being the case here. He will have to grab a few lower-level wins; probably two or three and he can be right back in the mix. He has a few things to work on and they are correctable. Most importantly, he has the right attitude and the right mentality and that is the greatest asset and attribute of any fighter.  If the mind isn’t right, the fight won’t be right.


Islandboy Spices Fans Come Through on First Cross-Country Throw-down

On Saturday January 17, 2014 Ihsan Munir, the Islandboy, owner of Islandboy Spices and Catering joined a few customers in a cross-country throw-down. The idea was that all participants would make a dish or dishes using one of the Islandboy Spices blends.

A key component of the event required the participants to show before and after pics and to explain how they made their masterpieces. The event featured Kelley Ferrell of Arizona, Tom Pelton of Arkansas and the Islandboy in Glendale, California and they did not disappoint.

Kelley Ferrell of Arizona's seasoned chicken going into the oven.
Kelley Ferrell of Arizona’s seasoned chicken going into the oven.

Kelley started things off by sharing a picture of her beer-butt chicken that she seasoned with two of the Islandboy Spices blends – Beach Bum Rub (which is her favorite and blend of choice) and Rock Roast Rub. This was an interesting combination of flavors and one that we were interested in finding out how well they would mesh. Knowing Kelley’s favorite is Beach Bum Rub, the team at Islandboy Spices were surprised to learn of the blending of two spices. However, it was a throw-down and she was bringing her A-Game to the lab (kitchen).

Shortly thereafter, Tom Pelton in Arkansas tweeted @islandboyspices a picture of his wild boar chops thoroughly rubbed down with the 340 Boxing Blend. Most people at Islandboy Spices

Tom Pelton of Arkansas' wild boar chops seasoned with 340 Boxing Blend.
Tom Pelton of Arkansas’ wild boar chops seasoned with 340 Boxing Blend.

pride themselves on being carnivores and seeing what was happening to the chops definitely had them salivating.

Kelley then came back with a surprise dish…lemon infused shrimp, seasoned with the Sea Breeze Seafood Rub. She kept that one up her sleeve and didn’t tell us she was making it. It looked awesome and according to our sources, there were some very happy people in Arizona on Saturday.

Tom’s chops were accompanied by Arkansas mashed taters and bacon pasta salad. It looked like a plate of awesomeness and we wish we were there to share in the bounty.

Rounding out the day, the Islandboy Ihsan Munir, who was slated to make conch with rice and peas, had to make a last minute menu

The Islandboy Ihsan Munir's Chilean Sea Bass with Whelks and Rice
The Islandboy Ihsan Munir’s Chilean Sea Bass with Whelks and Rice

change due to the unavailability of conch at the local market. Instead, he made Chilean Sea Bass, seasoned with the Sea Breeze Seafood Rub and Whelks and Rice, seasoned with Tradewinds All-Purpose Blend. Whelks and rice is an authentic Caribbean dish that is enjoyed by islanders all year round.

We are extremely proud of the job that everyone did to make this first cross-country event successful, and want to thank Kelley and Tom profusely for joining in and sharing their masterpieces with the rest of the Islandboy Spices fans on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We look forward to having another event and the awesome #CustomerCreations that are sure to come. Thank you, Tom and Kelley!!!

Kelley Ferrell's final products - shrimp on the left and beer-butt chicken on the right.
Kelley Ferrell’s final products – shrimp on the left and beer-butt chicken on the right.


Tom's final product - wild boar chops with mashed taters and bacon pasta salad.
Tom’s final product – wild boar chops with mashed taters and bacon pasta salad.

Islandboy Spices Fans Engage in Cross-Country Throw-down

Conch ShellOn Saturday January 17, 2015, several Islandboy Spices customers will get their labs (kitchens), grab some Islandboy Spices, and make magic. They will be participating in a cross-country, cross-ocean throw-down that promises to feature a diversity of dishes.

Kelley Ferrell, from Arizona will be making beer-butt chicken using the Beach Bum Rub. She will also be making a surprise dish using another Islandboy Spices blend, but we’re not sure which one and the suspense is killing us.

Tom Pelton from Arkansas will be making wild boar pork chops. In the past he used the Tropical Flame Jerk Spice rub when making this dish. However, what he uses today is anyone’s guess; but we’re positive it will be awesome.

Edgar January from St. Thomas, VI, but living in New York City will be in the lab as well. He hasn’t shared his menu, as he plans on surprising us; but as a culinary arts student, our expectations are high.

Sharon Gumbs hailing from St. Thomas, VI teased us a few weeks ago by sharing a picture of some ribs that she seasoned with the Tradewinds All-Purpose Blend mixed with the Tropical Flame Jerk Spice Rub. We wonder what she has in store for us today.

Professional boxer and chef Julius “The Chef” Jackson, will be a participant. However, he is traveling to California today for training camp and plans on showing of his culinary talents later on in the week. He will be featured in an episode of Cooking with the Islandboy while he is in CA and the Islandboy will also be featured in an episode of the Chef’s Cooking Show.

Rounding out the day, the Islandboy will be making a traditional Caribbean dish – conch in butter sauce, peas & rice and funji.

Today promises to be a great experience for all of the Islandboy Spices fans as they will get to see the creations of other customers across the country. Stay tuned.


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