SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Jesse “Left Hook” Cook finished strong, but it still wasn’t enough to earn a clear-cut victory.
Cook and Jarvis “The Jackal” Williams fought to a split draw after six rounds in the super welterweight co-main event of ‘Rumble in the Heartland’ on Saturday night at Oasis Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield.
As far as the scorecards, one judge scored it 57-57, while another had it 57-56 for Cook and the third had Williams winning 57-56.
As a result, neither boxer had their hand raised.
“I started too slow,” Cook said. “There was some ring rust. I know I won the last half of the fight, but I’m not surprised it was a draw. I’d like to fight him again. I know I can stop him. I should have been busier early in the fight.”
Williams was the busier fighter early, but the Seneca native turned it on in the fourth round, and from there, appeared in control until the final moments of Round 6.
During the early stages of the sixth and final round, Cook (18-1-2) connected with a strong left hook and Williams (8-2-1) spent the next several minutes holding.
“I ate (took) some shots I shouldn’t have taken early, I knew I was losing, so I knew I had to turn it up,” said Cook, who weighed in at 151 pounds. “I could tell I was hurting him when I hit him with combinations. I think if he wouldn’t have held so much, I would have had a chance to take him out. He was really hanging on.”
“I thought Jesse lost the first three rounds and won the last three,” said Dallas Cook, Jesse’s father and trainer at Heartland Boxing Gym. “I thought Jesse landed a lot harder punches. We had him hurt and that’s when he started grabbing and he head-locked him about three times.
“Jesse needs to get back in the gym right away. He’s had too much time in between fights. He looked a little rusty early.”
It was Cook’s first fight since June 23 of last year, when he earned a knockout victory over Brandon Baue at Kansas Crossing Casino in Pittsburg, Kansas.
In the cruiserweight co-main event, Springfield native Justin “Too Smooth” Ridgway (8-2) earned a technical knockout over Kent Holland (4-4-1) of Hannibal.
Also representing Heartland Boxing Gym was light heavyweight Ethan “Mad Dog” Cooper.
Fighting out of Neosho, Cooper improved to 4-0-1 by earning a unanimous decision over Springfield native Tyler Ross (0-1) in a 175-pound scrap.
Cooper took control in the second round, landing a number of significant shots against Ross, who was making his pro debut. By the end of the fourth and final round, Ross was bleeding from the mouth and nose and the outcome was never in doubt, as Cooper had his hand raised.
“Ethan fought a tough guy,” Dallas Cook said. “Ethan’s an awkward fighter and he’s hard to catch. I was really happy with Ethan’s fight.”
In other action, Shannen McCray (2-4) earned a technical knockout in the first round against Eric Willoughby (0-4) in super-welterweight action.
Jake Robinson (1-0-1) defeated Alexander Hernandez (0-1) by majority decision after four rounds in an action-packed and fan-friendly middleweight scrap.
Also, Luis Galaviz (1-0) earned a first-round technical knockout in his pro debut over Drake Heitfield (1-7-2) at 140 pounds, while Cesar Marquez (1-0-1) picked up a majority decision over Juan Hollingsworth (1-1-1) in cruiserweight action.
The event was promoted by Skip Stewart.