Minneapolis, MN, Saturday, July 13, 2019
Jamal James turned in the finest performance so far of his promising professional boxing career Saturday night, winning an epic battle of two classically skilled fighters with a unanimous decision over former WBC world lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco of Sinaloa, Mexico. James came forward with jabs and utilized his movement to cut DeMarco off in the first round, establishing control into the second round, but when DeMarco battled back it was immediately evident that this was going to be a passionately contested boxing match.
James started with hands high, controlling action with his jab against the southpaw De Marco, backing him up and cutting him off as he tried to escape to the right. In the last minute of the round he pinned De Marco in his own corner and landed a barrage of punches to the body and head, DeMarco managing to escape the attack and begin punching back just before the end of the round. In the second round James continued the attack, until the latter portion of the round when DeMarco pinned James to the ropes and began wailing away, forcing James to stretch the extent of his defensive skills, slipping and ducking punches enough to finally spin out and battle back towards the end of the round. DeMarco definitely appeared to have won the round, challenging James to turn the tide in the 3rd.
As the fight progressed James clearly and consistently gained the nod, but each round he won came with real work against a determined DeMarco, who was battling hard to win. At one point, DeMarco’s left glove had to be refastened with tape, giving him a short break, making one wonder whether the crafty veteran’s corner may have sent him back to fight with a loosened glove that would force a stop in the action. He then proceeded to attack James’ body when action resumed, which James adjusted to with more movement as well as brilliant slipping, bobbing and weaving on the inside, maintaining his dominance in spite a slight change in momentum. James was particularly effective with the left hook, sometimes landing it at will, skillfully following it with combinations that allowed him to move and reset as DeMarco attacked. As the fight reached its final rounds, the respective fighters poured everything they had into it. James came forward with determination in the 9th, and although he was landing effectively and building on the momentum he’d established, DeMarco was too determined himself to get into trouble. The 10th began with the touch of gloves and a brief hug in recognition of the mutually valiant effort, and then the two combatants went immediately to war. James pushed DeMarco down at one point and apologized, then the two went hard into an exchange of punches again. Battling to the end, the crowd of 3,140 were on their feat as the final bell rang. Both fighters showed an admirable amount of sportsmanship, congratulating each other on an excellent performance.
James won the fight via unanimous decision, scored 98-92 by all three ringside judges.