By Jose E. Santiago
With only a little over a weeks notice, Jason Robinson (19-5, 11 KOs) of Chicago, IL entered into the hostile environment of a pro Yahya McClain (25-8-2, 17 KOs) crowd in Duluth, GA to outwork his opponent and score a workmanlike unanimous decision. It was Robinson’s sheer determination, pressure, and execution that forced McClain into holding on the inside looking for ways to survive in the later rounds of the scheduled 10 for the NABF cruiserweight championship.
Photos: Ozzie Santiago
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In the first four rounds of the fight it appeared that McClain would have an easy night as he dazzled his supporters and frustrated Robinson with fancy footwork, and lightning fast counter punches and jabs. Only in the third of the first four rounds was the southpaw Robinson able to catch McClain with a meaningful straight left that momentarily shook him. McClain complained that he was getting elbowed and head butted. However, McClain responded well to the punch and unintentional fouls and got back to his slick boxing style.
In the fifth it seemed like McClain’s energy simply abandoned the 42-year-old and he came out holding every time Robinson would work his way on the inside. After a few warnings from referee Jim Korb, McClain held on again and was deducted a point.
In the sixth round McClain was still holding a considerable amount as Robinson pressed on. Already clearly winning the round Robinson moved aggressively inside with about ten seconds left, and with both fighters stepping in, a hard head butt hurt McClain. As he winced in pain he was given about one minute to recover prior to officially ending the round at the sound of the bell.
In the seventh Robinson was coming in like a bull by constantly coming in head first and bullying McClain all over the ring. Although never seriously hurt, McClain continued to hold every time Robinson pinned him up against the ropes. Once again, Korb stepped in and deducted a point from McClain.
The eighth round was just like the seventh; Robinson outworking McClain and McClain holding. The constant holding would once again cost McClain his third point deduction of the fight.
In the ninth McClain, realizing that he was well behind due to the point deductions, he came out and appeared to hurt Robinson within the first minute. Pinning him in the neutral corner McClain let off a barrage of shots to the head and body. Robinson covered up allowing McClain to let unload clean shots. As was the case in most of the rounds, Robinson simply shrugged off the shots and turned the tables quickly sticking to his game plan of pressure and moving forward. McClain may have punched himself out with this last ‘hurrah’ as he once again resumed holding.
In the tenth both fighters looked a bit weary and Robinson finally looked tired, but a hard straight left punctuated the round as McClain looked to survive the last minute.
All three judges score the contest unanimously for Robinson as he captured the NABF cruiserweight title. Scores read: 97-90, 96-91, 96-93.