The “stalk, stun and close” is one of my favorite fight scenarios. If it involves the prey being gassed, then that adds to the drama. The stalk often begins at different times depending on circumstances.
Fighters like Julio Chavez Sr., Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Roberto Duran, and Khaosai Galaxy, to name a few, defined this style during their respective reigns of terror. They would start the chase as soon as the bell rang cutting off the ring and getting closer and closer until they made initial contact. Pipino Cuevas (pre-Hearns) was a classic tracker who instilled fear in his opponents and rendered them vulnerable with his jack hammer left hooks. He then dispatched them with no further adieu. Their “track them down and execute style of fighting” has become a part of fistic lore.
Duran began his stalk against poor Davey Moore when Duran realized that Moore could no longer hurt him. One of the most thrilling stalks was Margarito’s against Cotto in their first fight. It was subtle and began after a seriers of crunching uppercuts, but when it occurred, it was brutal and definitive.
Jarrett Hurd vs. Tony Harrison
At stake would be the vacant IBF junior middleweight title that Houston’s Jermall Charlo recently gave up. It was unexpected and it was a gift.
“I’ve been waiting on this for a long time. This the biggest shot of my life. It’s like my son being born all over again…This just made the fight that much more interesting. As a boxer this is what you dream of – the day you fight for a world title. Santa came early. We’re both 26 years old. It’s a dream come true for both of us. It doesn’t change the approach. It just makes it much sweeter and puts that much more respect on the winner of this fight.”—Tony Harrison
“This is the moment every boxer dreams of, becoming the world champion…I finally get that opportunity on the big stage – on the Deontay Wilder heavyweight championship card and on FOX in prime time on national TV. I’m blessed. I want to thank everyone for getting me to this point. Tony Harrison is a great fighter. It’s not going to be an easy fight. Tony Harrison is top-level competition and I’m a top level competitor. Two great fighters going after something they want. But I have to say my pants are falling and I need my belt.” “Swift” Jarrett Hurd
When the bell rang, “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (20-0) was on Harrison like glue even though he was countered by several of slick Tony’s shots. In fact, a cautious but slick Harrison was counterpunching while backing up and using a neat stick-and-move strategy While this allowed him to win rounds and keep the fight very competitive, it also served to tire him.
In the fifth, Hurd landed one of his signature punishing uppercuts that rattled Harrison.
Keeping the non-stop pressure on, Hurd then drilled Tony into the ropes with a right in the seventh and that signaled that the fight had shifted from semi-competitive to a serious stalk. Harrison faded rapidly from that point, as Hurd was in full control and now had Tony hanging on.
In round eight, Harrison was being battered and shades of the Willie Nelson disaster in 2015 (in which Harrison fell in the ninth round) began to appear. Another Hurd right uppercut, one of the best in the business, stunned Tony and the second part of the scenario had finally occurred. This was affirmed when a game but wilting Tony gasped for air between rounds 8 and 9.
The closure came when a perfect straight right dropped Harrison to the canvas like he had been sapped. He managed to get up—but just—and spat out his bloody mouthpiece and that was interpreted correctly by referee Jim Korb as a “no, I don’t want to continue” at 2:24 of the round.
Hurd, of Accokeek, Maryland won his sixth straight by stoppage.
He said after the fight, “We wanted to take our time with him, because Harrison can box and move, but every time he fights, he wears down toward the end…”
And that’s precisely what Tony did. Hopefully, he can come back.