Prior to Tuesday evening’s bout between Jose “Bolivita” Uzcategui (23-1, 19 KOs) of Merida, Venezuela and Julius “The Chef” Jackson (19-0, 15 KOs) from St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands, at the Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio, Texas, several boxing pundits reckoned, “Jackson should be able to get past Uzcategu without a problem.” How wrong they were.
On Tuesday night, Uzcategui walloped his opponent from pillar to post until veteran referee Tony Weeks felt Jackson had taken enough punishment. Watching the fight on the big screen TV at Uzcategui’s home gym, Undisputed Downtown, I watched as fellow gym members started jumping for joy when they saw Jose’s mastery over Jackson. One of the gym’s three owners, Rocco Joel, suspended in time and jaw dropping, was totally captivated by what had just transpired, while others were in this state of euphoria.
The very same boxing pundits who envisioned a win for Jackson likely based their forecasting on what transpired in Omaha, Nebraska, back on June 28, 2014 in the Korobov vs. Uzcategui bout. If you watch the HBO Boxing After Dark highlight reel from that fight, you’ll see Matt Korobov exchanging heavy blows with Uzcategui and winning by an unanimous decision in that 10 round slugfest.
What has changed since June 28, 2014? Uzcategui, along with his better half, Kathy Maldonado, had themselves a baby. To make ends meet, they had to move to Tijuana and rent a modest apartment. They also decided to change gyms and trainers and put their faith in a new trainer, Jose Cital, the head boxing coach at Undisputed Downtown in San Diego. Refocused, Uzcategui then had to get up early each day and like the multitude stand in line to cross the border. As a result of this renewed dedication, he began sharper and harder. There was no way in hell, that he was going to lose to Julius Jackson. Being a success took on a new meaning as soon as his newborn arrived.
Next up? There’s been talk about Uzcategui joining the Money Team. In preparation for Tuesday night’s fight, Uzcategui and his coach Jose Cital spent two weeks in Las Vegas as a guest of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and sparred at his gym with some top notch people. With his win over Jackson, all those earlier talks about fighting people in the top 10 become a reality.
More about Uzcategui’s transformation and the gym that made it possible in our follow-up article.