McGirt Jr. Decisions Joval
By Eric Thomas: Stepping up against his best opponent of his still early boxing career, 25 year-old middleweight prospect James McGirt Jr. (19-1, 9 KOs) by a 10-round unanimous decision on Friday night at the City Center, in Saratoga Springs, New York. The final judges’ scores were 99-89, 99-89 and 97-91. Forget the scores, though, because the actual fight was much closer with McGirt winning narrowly by a round or two over the 39 year-old Joval. McGirt Jr., a tall, slender southpaw with long arms and little power, shocked the crowd early in the third round when he dropped Joval twice in the round.
The first knockdown occurred when Joval, not quite comfortable with McGirt’s southpaw stance, was nailed by a wide right hook that came around to the side of Joval’s head stunning him and knocking him to the canvas. After he got up, Joval was still badly hurt and had no clue on how to deal with McGirt’s right hook which, due to his unusually long arms, allowed him to connect to the side of Joval’s head with great frequency early on. The punch wasn’t particularly fast, as McGirt Jr. had little in the way of good hand speed, but it connected none the less with great accuracy.
After the first knockdown, Joval was unsteady and susceptible to any shot that was thrown his way. Soon after, McGirt landed a weak left hand that dropped Joval for the second time in the round. It was the type of punch that wouldn’t normally hurt anyone, even Joval, but given his condition at the time, barely able to stand on his own two feet, the punch was enough to send him down again.
In the 4th and 5th rounds, McGirt, who dominated the first three rounds as well, continued to control the fight with his long hooks and awkward style of fighting. However, McGirt was less successful in keeping his distance and often stood straight up within punching range of Joval. In these rounds, McGirt was able to get away with his poor boxing technique, but in the later rounds it would come back to haunt him.
In rounds six through eight, Joval came back strong, fighting hard and taking the fight to McGirt with hard combinations to the head and body. Joval wasn’t going to be denied and walked through McGirt’s weak shots to continually land well to the head and especially to the torso. McGirt tried hard to re-establish control of the fight, but without any power to speak of in his punches, and without the element of surprise no longer working for him, he was reduced to a punching dummy during this time.
McGirt came back to narrowly win the 9th round, but it was very close. Joval actually appeared to land the more numerous punches, but none of them had much power on them, nor did McGirt’s, for that matter, but he seemed to land a few that looked better than what Joval was serving up.
In the 10th round, fighting with a sense of disparateness, Joval came on strong and took the fight to McGirt, hitting him often and snapping his head around on his pencil-thin neck. McGirt did little in the round accept move a lot of try to fend of Joval. In the end, I still had McGirt winning the bout, but it was very close and nothing like the ridiculous scores handed down by the judges.