As much as the competitor within Julian Williams wanted to exercise his contractual right to an immediate rematch with Jeison Rosario, he determined it just wasn’t the smart thing to do.
Williams knew he needed plastic surgery to remove scar tissue from above his eyes for quite some time. If the former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion put off that procedure again, Williams was worried he would find himself in the exact precarious position during their immediate rematch as he experienced in their first fight.
One of Rosario’s punches opened a cut above Williams’ left eye in just the second round of their title fight January 18 in Philadelphia. Williams believes that cut contributed to his unforeseen, fifth-round, technical-knockout defeat, but he hopes the surgery he had following his loss will help hold his skin together in future fights.
Philadelphia’s Williams (27-2-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC) discussed his decisions to have surgery and pass on an immediate rematch during the newest episode of “The PBC Podcast,” which debuted Wednesday on premierboxingchampions.com.
“I didn’t wanna go in the [rematch] with the same underlying problems,” Williams told co-hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal. “That would’ve been a little bit stupid of me, if I don’t take time to correct my mistakes and go back into a fight, where the same thing could possibly happen again. So, you know what I mean? Just because I got a surgery don’t mean I won’t never get cut again. That just means that I got the scar tissue cleaned up and it made it better than what it was. You know what I mean? So, I wanna go into a fight a hundred-percent healthy and give myself the best chance of winning.”
The 30-year-old Williams’ decision to turn down an immediate rematch will allow the Dominican Republic’s Rosario to fight another opponent next, whenever fights can be scheduled in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) and Houston’s Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs), the WBC champion, both are interested in a 154-pound title unification fight that would leave the winner with all of boxing’s recognized titles in that division except the WBO belt owned by Brazil’s Patrick Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs).
Williams, meanwhile, was told by his plastic surgeon that he would be able to fight later this year, probably within six months of the procedure.
“It’s going pretty good,” Williams said in reference to his recovery. “So basically, over the course of my career I’ve been cut over the top of my eyes a few times and, you know, scar tissue starts to build. And my skin was directly on the bone. It was really thin. And I probably should’ve got it done before my last fight [after defeating Jarrett Hurd]. You know, I had about nine months off.
“But it’s something that I put off because I’m not one to like, you know, I don’t like getting surgery, especially on my face. You know what I mean? So, I kind of like put it off, and it came back to, you know, bite me in the butt. So, I just said, you know, I’m gonna take this time and go get the surgery, and you know, heal up and, you know, hopefully come back stronger, so the same problem doesn’t keep happening.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.