Boxing takes a second shot at crowning its seventh undisputed champion of the four-belt era this weekend when Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano rematch for all the riches at 154lb, writes Nick Peet.
American Charlo was considered fortunate to hold onto his WBC, WBA and IBF light-middleweight belts last summer when his first fight with the Argentinian WBO champ was scored a draw.
— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) May 10, 2022
The 32-year-old South American appeared to have done enough, outworking the much-fancied Charlo for the majority of the fight. But a late rally threw up an assortment of scorecards.
Thankfully, they meet again in Carson, California on Saturday night and this time Charlo insists he’s dropped his flashy persona and has gotten back to work.
“I was just being superstar Jermell Charlo. And I put that s**t beside me,” said the Texan, who turns 32 next week. “This is about me digging deeper into the Jermell Charlo that I really am.”
Jermell and his identical twin brother Jermall are two of the biggest draws in boxing Stateside. Both world champions – Jermall ruling now up at middleweight – they are both known for their flashy knockouts and charismatic personalities.
The only other blemish on Charlo’s 34-1-1 ledger is a points defeat to Tony Harrison in 2018, which he quickly avenged with a knockout 12 months later, to regain the WBC portion of his unified belts.
Six of his last seven wins were stoppages. But that power fame was all too evident in the first fight with Castano, as Charlo loaded up with single shots only to be outdone by combinations.
Unbeaten in 19 fights, Castano also has a reputable draw against Charlo’s former stablemate Erislandy Lara on his pro record and, with 12 KOs in 17 wins, statistically, he’s actually the bigger puncher.
An accomplished amateur, Castano boasts wins over the likes of current pound-for-pound star Errol Spence and serial middleweight contender Sergiy Derevanchenko wearing a vest, losing just a handful of times in almost 200 fights before turning pro in 2012.After a stint as WBA regular champion, he captured the WBO world title with a near shut-out performance against dangerous Brazilian Patrick Teixeira in February last year.
A volume fighter who revels on the front foot, the man from Buenos Aires has a fierce engine and a solid chin.
“I’m going to leave it all in the ring,” Castano said when asked about this rematch. “This time we’re going to try everything to make sure we don’t leave the fight in the hands of the judges.”
Charlo will likely start as a heavy favourite once more, despite Castano’s legitimate claims to deserving the victory last year.
He will need to be almost punch perfect again to become South America’s first undisputed world champion. But Charlo underestimated his rival last time out and he won’t do the same thing again.
Whilst I expect the fight to run close once more, Charlo should have enough respect for Castano second time around to fight to his full potential and join an elite group of undisputed kings.
TIP: Charlo on Points or via KO 10-12