Tony Harrison scored perhaps the upset of the year by controversially outpointing Jermell Charlo on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Harrison won by scores of 116-112, and two scores of 115-113 to take the WBC junior middleweight title from Charlo, who was making his fourth world title defense. FightNights.com scored the fight 116-112 for Charlo.
"I dictated the pace. That's what champions do," Harrison said. "He wound up for big shots, and I kept my defense tight. All we worked on was defense. I kept my composure, and I did what champions do. I'm blessed. I told y'all, my family, everyone. He's a great champion. I've seen him in the gym. He's a hell of a champion. I used my ring generalship."
Charlo's shocking defeat put a screeching halt to a world title unification bout with two-belt champion Jarrett Hurd, who was ringside. The 28-year-old also thought Charlo won the fight.
"They took that fight from me," Charlo said. "I was pressing the action. He didn't win that fight. I'm going to get my belts back. I still want Jarrett Hurd. I know my brother knows I won that fight. I might have given away a few rounds, but I won that fight."
Harrison said he was willing to give Charlo a shot to regain his belt.
"Jermell -- you gave me a shot. I'll give you a rematch," he told Charlo directly in the ring.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Charlo landed 160 of 548 punches (29 percent), and Harrison landed 128 of 377 (34 percent).
Charlo (31-1, 15 KO's), 28, of Houston, was the aggressor and fought behind his stiff left jab and his straight right hand. Harrison countered Charlo effectively, but not enough to win according to most ringside observers. However, the judges got the last word.
In the 12th round, Charlo hurt Harrison with a left hook along the ropes and followed up with a huge overhand right that forced Harrison to clinch. Charlo, who was not at his best, was unable to knockout Harrison, but produced his best round of the fight. In the end, it was not enough to preserve his unbeaten record.
The crowd booed loudly when Harrison (28-2, 21 KO's), 28, of Detroit, who was making his second world title appearance, was announced as the winner.
"I got back to my corner after every round. They told me to just keep doing what you're doing; you're dictating the pace. I dictated the pace," Harrison said. "That's what champions do. Champions don't just try to knock people out. That's all he wanted to do. I dictated it. I used my jab. I dictated the fight. That's what champions do."
Harrison was knocked out in both of his previous losses, including a ninth-round TKO to Hurd in February 2017, but has been victorious in his last four bouts.