Jim Rock celebrated ten years in the pro ranks by claiming the IBC middleweight title with a revenge win over Welshman Alan Jones at the National Stadium, Dublin on Friday night. The 33-year-old “Pink Panther” came through some difficult moments in the middle rounds to take a deserved unanimous points decision after twelve hard fought rounds.
Rock who had WBU welterweight champion, Eamonn Magee in his corner swept the early rounds with a busy, aggressive style while Jones seemed strangely subdued. The shorter Rock was doubling up his jab to get close enough to the 6 foot 1 inch Jones to land thudding overhand rights. It was a simple but effective strategy and ensured that the hometown man swept the first five rounds on my card.
Round six seemed to the following the same pattern as the previous five until Jones finally appeared to come to life with a minute to go in the session. A right hand from the 29-year-old Aberystwyth man stunned Rock momentarily and Jones followed up with a two fisted barrage that threatened to signal a dramatic u-turn in the fight. Rock saw out the round though and indeed by the bell was coming on strong again as Jones appeared to have punched himself out.
The minutes rest was enough to recharge Jones’ batteries and rounds seven and eight were also good ones for the visitor. Rock appeared visibly tired as the crowd did their best to keep him going by continually chanting his name. Despite being tired and ragged it was still Rock who was the aggressor in the fight continually forcing his way forward despite catching enough right hand counters to lose those rounds.
By the ninth it appeared that Jones was now flagging while Rock looked on the verge of a second wind. The last three rounds were a real war of attrition but Jones punches no longer seemed to be troubling Rock and the Dubliner was now beginning to resume the control he had enjoyed over the first half of the contest.
After the twelve completed rounds I scored it 117 – 113 in Rocks favour a four point margin that judges John Coyle and Emile Tiedt agreed with. Both had scored it 116 – 112 for Rock while the remaining judge, Paul Thomas made Rock the winner with a117 – 112 scorecard.
Afterwards an elated Rock dedicated his win to the
Laura Lynn foundation, a charity established to build suitable accommodation for terminally ill children. Having realised his career goal of winning a world title Rock said he would consider his future. “I’ll take a week off and then sit down with Brian, my trainer John Breen and my wife and see where I go from here. I’m 33 and I’m starting to feel it. Every fight that I’m having now I’m getting hit more and more. It’s alright being brave and standing there toe to toe but it doesn’t do much for your health.”
“I found it tough in there at times but I told myself to dig deep because I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t.”