By Keith Idec
Every time Jermaine Franklin watches footage of his last fight he becomes more annoyed by his performance.
Franklin beat Rydell Booker by unanimous decision in a 10-round fight Showtime televised April 13 from Atlantic City, New Jersey. His victory kept Franklin undefeated (18-0, 13 KOs), but the heavyweight prospect wasn’t pleased with how he rushed himself, hellbent on scoring a knockout, rather than just boxing Booker (26-2, 13 KOs).
“I felt a little tight and tense,” Franklin told BoxingScene.com. “It was kind of like I was fighting against myself.”
The 25-year-old Franklin, of Saginaw, Michigan, is determined to avoid making that mistake again Friday night. That’s when Franklin and Jerry Forrest (25-2, 19 KOs), of Newport News, Virginia, are scheduled to meet in a 10-round fight Showtime will air as the main event of a “ShoBox: The New Generation” tripleheader from Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington.
“Right now, I feel like I’m the top American heavyweight prospect at this time,” said Franklin, who won a national Golden Gloves title in 2014. “I feel like I’m steady climbing the ranks. I just need to give the fans an opportunity to see me, so they can believe like I believe.”
To make believers out of observers who weren’t swayed by his previous performance, Franklin knows he must take a relaxed approach to facing Forrest. Loading up on his punches and trying to force a knockout won’t work, an invaluable lesson he learned while trying too hard to stop Detroit’s Booker inside the distance.
“We’ve just been working on patience, not letting myself get overanxious,” Franklin said. “Sometimes I land a couple punches and I get hyper. So, I’m working on being patient, keeping my composure.”
It’ll help that the 6-feet-2 Franklin will be closer to his usual weight of 230 pounds for this fight than the 245¼ pounds he weighed for the Booker bout.
“I’m trying to show people my skills,” Franklin said, “and that I’m just some big guy that throws tons of punches, and tries to look for a knockout. I can really box. I’m good with my angles, I’ve got nice speed and power, so I just wanna show my skills and my assets, and show people that I can use them.”
Showtime’s telecast Friday night also will feature another heavyweight prospect, Sweden’s Otto Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs, 1 NC). Wallin will face former cruiserweight and heavyweight championship challenger B.J. Flores (34-4-1, 21 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
In the opener, Chicago’s Giovanni Mioletti (16-0, 7 KOs) and Ecuador’s Luis Porozo (14-0, 7 KOs) are set to meet in a 10-round super featherweight fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.