Two minutes into the eighth round, Jermell Charlo, trailing 69-64 on the three judges’ scorecards, landed a perfect counter right hand to Jackson’s left eye. As Jackson dropped his guard to insure his mouthpiece was in place, Jermell connected with two more right hands that sent Jackson falling forward into his corner. Defenseless and seemingly out on his feet, referee Tony Weeks stepped in immediately and stopped it at 0:51.
“It’s history,” said Jermell, who entered the match as the WBC No. 1 contender and became the 66th ShoBox: The New Generation fighter to capture a world title.
“We did it. A lot of fighters don’t come out of Houston and we did it. I’m waiting for my brother next. We’ve been boxing for all of these years and it had to happen.
“I was behind. He was boxing, he was moving around a lot. That was unexpected of him. I thought he was going to come out to brawl. I had to make an adjustment and I did.
“When he started slowing down, I was able to catch him with a shot. I knew that if he could have continued he could have come back so I had to hit him.”
While both were selective with their punches, throwing just 427 combined shots through eight and a half rounds, Jermell was the more accurate fighter. The new WBC champ landed 23 percent of his total punches, including 34 percent of his power shots against Jackson.
“It was a journey to get here,” said Jackson, the WBC’s No. 2 contender going in and son of former world champion Julian “The Hawk” Jackson.
“I feel like I was ahead and I came up short. He caught me with a punch and I was trying to fix my mouthpiece. Then he hit me and I was out. It hit me in the eye, but my mouthpiece was coming out. I was trying to push in my mouthpiece back in and he hit me. I knew where I was. It dazed me, but I wasn’t knocked out.
“It’s boxing. It was a great fight. I felt I was winning the fight, I got caught and that was it.
“I dedicated the fight to my dad and I hope I didn’t let him down. I fell short. You win some and you lose some.”
Said the elder Jackson: “I’m proud. It took a lot for us to get this far. I know my people are proud. We are strong people and we are coming back.”
Lara, 33, was making his fourth title defense. “This is normal,” said Lara who landed 60 percent of the 160-plus power punches. “This is boxing, not baseball. Low blows and headbutts happen. I’m a very intelligent fighter and at no point did I feel this fight was going to be lost.
“My mother and kids are still there so it would be a great privilege to go fight in my native Cuba.
“Everything is possible in this world. I didn’t think I’d be champion of the world and here I am.
“I want to tell Team Vanes thank you for giving me the rematch. I’m ready to fight anybody. I’d like to fight Canelo.