JAMES ‘JAZZA’ DICKENS might be well into his 33rd year and fresh off a fourth stoppage loss, but the Liverpool featherweight has no intention of closing the curtain on his 37-bout, 13-year career any time soon.
The likeable Liverpudlian was stretched for the full count by a single right hand detonated by Argentine underdog Hector Andres Sosa in Dubai last month.
Despite dropping Sosa with a precise counter right hook in the opener and being up on the scorecards, Jazza looked laboured throughout. When asked about the suspected weight-cut issues ahead of the Middle Eastern contest, the former British champ remained coy on offering details, insisting ‘It can open a can of worms.’
Jazza does concede, however, that he didn’t accord ample respect to the powerful Sosa’s punching ability. While Guillermo Rigondeaux broke his jaw and Kid Galahad inflicted two stoppage losses, Jazza never previously had his lights switched off in quite such dramatic fashion.
“I can’t say it’s a lucky punch; I don’t believe in lucky punches. He caught me with a good shot, and I give him full credit; hats off to him. But I don’t believe he’ll get a better win than he did that night. It was the win of his life,” assessed Dickens, who dropped to 32-5 (12).
“It wasn’t a great fight. I was doing what I needed to come away with the points win. Then I woke up seeing me dad there and thinking, ‘Oh My God, the worst has happened!’”
“I’ve gotta be self-biased, but I am aware enough to know I dropped the ball rather than allowing him to force the mistake. I said before the fight I would have to stick to the game plan at all times because, if I didn’t, things could go his way. And it turned out to be true!
“I felt pressure to close the show and deviated from the plan. In that round, I made a conscious decision to go forward and break him down. I felt him getting weaker at the time. Next minute, I’m on my back.”
A rematch clause will likely sew up Sosa for a second outing before the year ends. However, given his advancing years and the clinical manner of his latest loss, there have been predictable whispers that the former English and British super-bantam champion’s best days are history and the slick southpaw’s best interests might be best served in a new profession.
Jazza’s pride needs ample time to heal from an ‘embarrassing’ Arabian night. However, in this trying time, his team and faith offer him comfort and confidence to right this wrong.
“It’s been a bit embarrassing,” confessed the Born-Again Mersey man.
“I’ve not responded to a lot of messages. Not because I don’t care, I just don’t wanna open the messages. I appreciate them all; I appreciate all the support. It doesn’t go unnoticed; I just need to get back where I need to be to face them messages.”
“There was a moment between me and my dad; he gave me the reassurance I needed. But I’m old enough to know when it’s right to retire.”
“I can’t say I’m getting used to it (losing) because no fighter wants to get used to it, but I understand the process now. What I have got on my side is my faith. It’s helped me with the process of losing.
“I believe that this time, unlike times I’ve had before, I’ve got a good team around me to care for me and get me that rematch. That’ll be the difference. I can see a way back now.’
Far from jacking it in, spirited Jazza believes his best nights could still lie ahead. The goal of being world champion persists and, bizarrely, he believes that his knockout defeat could finally entice his leading domestic rivals – notably Wood, Warrington and Conlan – to finally chance their arm against him and significantly bolster his pension.
“I know for a fact there’s more chance of them fights now,” concludes the dad of three.
“After losing like that, I understood that all the fights I’m looking for are one step closer. That rematch clause puts me in a better position to get them fights. Win that and I know those fights will be there.
“Leigh Wood has got the fight with Josh Warrington. Michael Conlan is there also. It’s an interesting division, but right now, I can accept that them fights might not be there unless I clean up the mess I’ve made.”