Jermel Charlo is aiming for the stars against Canelo Alvarez, but he’s coming to win

Estimated read time 5 min read
Undisputed middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez, left, Mexico, boxing promoter TGB Promotions Thom Browne, center, and undisputed world junior middleweight champion Jermel Charlo pose for photos during a boxing press conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Jermell Charlo jumps two divisions to challenge Canelo Alvarez for the undisputed middleweight title on Sept. 30 in Las Vegas, but he doesn’t just come for the paycheck. (Damien Dovarganis/The Associated Press)

There have been plenty of comparisons between what Jermel Charlo will try to do on September 30, when he challenges Canelo Alvarez for the undisputed middleweight championship at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and what Sugar Ray Leonard will try to do against Donny Lalonde in 1988.

Leonard was coming off a 1987 win over Marvelous Marvin Hagler that gave him the middleweight belt. He challenged Lalonde for Lalonde’s light heavyweight title but also the newly created middleweight title.

What Leonard tried, though, wasn’t nearly the same as what Charlo would try. Leonard and Charlo had to make the super middleweight limit of 168, which they both did, in order to be able to fight for that belt. Because they were both under 175, the light heavyweight limit, they could fight for Lalonde’s 175-pound belt.

Charlo goes straight from lightweight to super middleweight to battle Alvarez in a historic fight between the two undisputed champions.

There is no weight or agreement to meet in the middle. Charlo goes up two chapters in order to challenge Alvarez’s belt, period, end of story.

This is what makes this so unique. It’s a risky move that isn’t often seen in boxing. A lot of fighters, under the guidance of conservative management, just stay their way and don’t try to do something out of the box.

Alvarez was originally expected to face Charlo’s identical twin brother, Jermal Charlo. Jermall Charlo is a middleweight and holds the WBC 160-pound title, though he has his own personal issues and hasn’t fought since 2021. Jermall Charlo initially agreed to fight Alvarez, but when his issues couldn’t be worked out what Enough, Jeremiel intervened.

Jermell defeated Brian Castaño on May 14, 2022 to win the undisputed welterweight title, although he has not fought since due to a hand injury. But despite a 16-month layoff, he is eager to fight and confident he can succeed.

“He’ll find out I’m the big Charlo,” said Jermel Charlo of Alvarez. “I am what I say I am. Canelo will see that I carry good punching power, that I have good lateral movement and that I am a ring general, just like him. He will see that it wouldn’t be a walk in the park. He said he would be better in this fight, and it’s the same for me.”

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15: Jermel Charlo speaks to the media during a press conference previewing the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship September 30 against Canelo Alvarez (not pictured) at the Times Square Palladium on August 15, 2023 in New York City.  (Photo by Sarah Steer/Getty Images)

Jermel Charlo will be the undisputed champion in the second weight division if he beats Canelo Alvarez in his bout for the middleweight title on September 30 in Las Vegas. (Sarah Steer/Getty Images)

Charlo has been in or about to be in the top 10 pound-for-pound for the past few years, and you can’t get to that kind of place without a lot of talent and knowing how to win.

He’s clearly a threat, which makes the criticism Alvarez received for taking this fight baffling. Alvarez constantly sought out the best opposition and toughest challenges he could. And while some would have preferred to fight David Benavidez rather than one of the Charlo brothers, anyone claiming Alvarez was slacking and slacking didn’t pay attention or was just a hater.

Alvarez is at a point in his career where he is fighting for the history books and wants no soft touches. When he faced Avni Yildirim, it wasn’t because he wanted to fight. It was mandatory for one of the super middleweight belts and he had to take it if he wanted to unify all four of the 168-pound belts.

So when he sought a fight with Charlo after his rematch with Dmitry Bivol proved too difficult to pull off, he did so knowing it had some level of threat. Jermell Charlo is four inches taller than Alvarez and has an edge of up to three inches.

“I think both Jermel and Jermal Charlo are great fighters,” Alvarez said. “No disdain for Lermol, but I think Jermil has better opposition in his fight. I think he’s the better fighter. That’s exactly what I think.”

At BetMGM, Alvarez is a healthy -400 favourite, with Charlo at +310 on the buyback. Alvarez clearly deserves to be the favourite, but that’s a high price to pay.

Charlo has the tools to win this fight. The biggest advantage Alvarez may have over Charlo is mental toughness. Alvarez is almost always very focused and on point, Charlo wasn’t always that way.

This is an opportunity for Charlo to get rid of any negativity surrounding him about his career. Beat Alvarez and he will finally laugh at the doubters and critics.

“After September 30th, people will appreciate my skills and what I’ve been doing for a long time, since I was a kid,” said Charlo. “With every fight, I come to put on a show, and I rock the whole fight. I want to be great.”

It would be if Alvarez was defeated, no doubt. He has a better chance than many seem to give him.

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