Julian Jackson (born September 12, 1960, U.S. Virgin Islands) is a retired professional boxer and former three-time world champion in the light-middleweight and middleweight divisions. Known as “The Hawk”, Jackson is considered to be one of the hardest pound-for-pound punchers in history, and is ranked #25 on Ring Magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Punchers Of All-Time.
The Virgin Islands boxing legacy also includes Peter Jackson (distant relation).
Jackson had many of his early fights in Puerto Rico, where he lived for a short period of time, and gained a shot at WBA light-middleweight champion Mike McCallum in August 1986. Jackson hurt the champion on a couple occasions in the first round, but McCallum came storming back with a barrage that forced the referee to stop matters in the second round.
After McCallum moved up to middleweight, Jackson got his second shot at the now-vacant WBA title in November 1987 against Korean In-Chul Baek, winning in three rounds. Baek would go on to win the WBA super-middleweight title a year later. Jackson made three defenses of his crown, against former IBF title-holder Buster Drayton (TKO 3), Francisco DeJesus (KO 8), and future three-time champion Terry Norris (TKO 2). All these defenses were won with a single knockout punch.
Jackson then vacated his crown, moved up to 160 lb (73 kg), and was pitted against Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham for the vacant WBC middleweight title. Due to Jackon’s retina damage which had required surgery, the British Boxing Board of Control didn’t allow him to box in the UK, so the bout was held at Torrequebrada Hotel & Casino, Benalmadena, Andalucía, Spain on 24 November 1990.
Graham was putting on his typical savvy performance against Jackson: countering, slipping, and dancing out of the way. After being consistently beaten to the punch for three and a half rounds, Jackson unleashed one of the immortal right hands of boxing. Unconscious before he hit the canvas, Graham was revived only after five alarming minutes.
Defenses against Dennis Milton (KO 1), Ismael Negron (KO 1), and Ron Collins (TKO 5) ended quickly, but Thomas Tate would make Jackson work longer and harder in their August 1992 encounter – Julian had to go to the scorecards for the first time in a title bout in winning a 12-round unanimous decision, scoring a knockdown along the way. At this point Jackson was in the middle of the pound-for-pound rankings.
This would lead to his showdown in May 1993 with another big hitter, Gerald McClellan. This time the challenger prevailed, flooring Jackson twice in the fifth round. The second knockdown prompted the referee to stop the fight, after Jackson made it to his feet yet remained unsteady. Jackson had another shot at the title in May 1994 in a rematch with McClellan. Jackson was hurt and put under heavy pressure by McClellan very early into the first round, and was soon dropped by a left hook to the body. The referee stopped the bout as Jackson rose to his feet, with Jackson insisting he could have continued.
After McClellan vacated the title to move up to super middleweight, Jackson would have a second but brief reign as WBC middleweight champion, beating the previously undefeated European champion Agostino Cardamone in March 1995. Jackon had a shaky end to the first round, during which he was hurt and put under pressure until the bell by Cardamone, who wasn’t considered a hard puncher. In round two however, Jackson again showed his punching power by suddenly dropping Cardamone heavily with a short right hand. Cardamone managed to make it to his feet but was still badly shaken, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Jackson lost the title in his first defense against Quincy Taylor in August of that year by a sixth-round stoppage in a fight where Jackson looked a shadow of his former self. Jackson would have four more low-key victories, before ending his career with losses to Verno Phillips and Anthony Jones, both in nine rounds, in 1998.
Life After Boxing
Julian Jackson joined the ministry, living in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He continued his involvement in the local boxing field as a trainer and coach. He has two sons who are also boxers and have been doing well lately at the local level.