Rob Brant (17-0) and Louis Rose (13-3-1) gave fight fans a terrific main event tonight on ShoBox: The New Generation at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, Arizona. Brant and Rose battled it out in a middleweight affair that had ups and downs from both fighters with momentum shifting throughout the contest, and at times in a single round.
It had the makings of an awkwardly fought affair, but both fighters managed to do what they do best, only at two very different levels.
I won’t completely take credit away from Rose, who seemed more mentally beat than physically, although he was physically beaten to an extent. Rose had the physical stature to at least attempt a solid counter for Brant’s jab, which was as sharp as any single punch thrown on the entire televised card. If you missed how good Brant’s jab was it is because he never fully put it together. Brant was always too far to make it count, too close, or not in a good enough position to follow up.
Still, it was a stiff jab that had intent behind it. Rose maintained a decent jab as well as the physical attributes as previously mentioned to at least stifle the attack from Brant. But Rose was unable to slip the jab in an effort to return something big. In fact, Rose’s only defense was to retreat, and he couldn’t even do that right most of the time, evident by the fourth round trouble he found himself in with 30 seconds to go.
In that fourth round after about 2:30, Brant, coming off of some stinging jabs, fainted the right-hand lead off the jab, which caused Rose to bite hard. Rose geared up for the right hand that never came, never saw the left-hand jab that caught him square in the mouth. Rose bounced off the ropes and he appeared hurt, however, he fought back to survive the round.
Despite the separation in punching technique and efficiency between the two fighters, it was a competitive fight to a degree. Rose was not winning rounds, and Brant was never in trouble, but he wasn’t dominating, either, and Rose was able to stay close in the fight.
Brant was lining up Rose well, but he had a hard time getting a full extension out of his lanky punch.
Midway through the action, Rose had almost totally abandoned what little bodywork he’d been executing thus far, which is more that can be said for Brant who didn’t utilize much body punching by comparison. The story thus far was Brant, as the more proficient puncher, winning by throwing less but connecting with more, and Rose throwing more but connecting with far less, both in quantity and meaningful shots.
Rose was coming on in the middle rounds just a bit, coming forward and keeping Brant out of his rhythm. Rose found it difficult to sustain his rhythm from the offensive side of the fight, so the best way to deal with that is to keep your opponent from establishing his own rhythm.
Rose remained a sucker for Brant’s straightforward attack as he refused to move laterally and ended up getting caught going straight backward.
Derrick James, Brant’s trainer and trainer of welterweight prospect Errol Spence, urged Brant to change angles and create lanes.
Even as the second half fighter Rose continued to throw more, Brant was landing solid shots. In the eighth, Brant came out strong and landed power shots in concession. Rose responded with a power shot of his own and then started to take momentum before Brant landed the biggest right hand of the round. Rose appeared hurt, but quickly shook it off and started coming forward with Brant’s confidence rising.
The 10th round was a real show as both fighters knew the scores could’ve been close enough that the final round would decide the winner. Rose went out and tried to take the round, but Brant found a way to connect big at times when it seemed like he had no answers. Rose’s head snapped back and even though he never seemed to be in real trouble, the punches looked better because of Rose’s reactions.
Rose ended up throwing 123 punches in that final round, but it would come down to an individual judge’s preference.
The scores came in and the judges scored the fight 95-95, and 96-94 twice for Brant, giving him his 17th professional win by majority decision.