I was direct, not rude.
“You got a lot of money on it?” I asked Tommy Rainone aka Razor Rainone, referencing the Saturday night clash between Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo, the Mexican sportsman who has successfully transcended boxing to gain profile traction against a foe coming up in weight, to a stage with hotter spotlights than he’s tasted previously.
“I do have a lot on it,” he answered, with appreciated candor.
“I’m doin a parlay, thinking a few different ways, but I think Canelo wins,” Rainone said. “I think Canelo having a 75% chance to win sounds accurate.”
We chopped it up, pretty micro-scopicly, I’d say.
When you figure out that someone has an art/science like this thing down, you will pick the brain of the savant, right, so you can up your own game. Gimme wisdom, Razor, some intel/insight that will give me the “edge” ie make me look a tick smarter than I am….
“Only way Charlo wins is by KO, and Alvarez is basically KO proof, I can’t see the guy coming from 154 hurting and stopping him,” the Long Islander continued.
Ok, but, I said, let’s allow for all possibilities. Let’s ponder, shall we, the what if, that the A grade chin of Canelo gets nicked. I mean, isn’t he on the clear decline, Razor?
Not to such a degree, Rainone said.
That chin will hold on Sept 30, he’s thinking, and he believes the same will hold true for Charlo. “He’s defensively responsible, and a good offensive fighter, distance fight. Safest way to go.. Alvarez is not getting knocked out. And if Charlo stops Alvarez, he earned my money, get a rematch. I do have the fight going the distance as well as Alvarez money line.
“Would Charlo winning be a SHOCKER? It would definitely be an upset, but not like Bivol was to Canelo.”
Razor found himself a sliver of safety, reasoning that OK, Charlo would win…but nah, not gonna happen by walk off-shot, it would be decision. “So if that happens, Charlo wins, I don’t get so hurt on that.”
Charlo winning, let’s dive in to that. Fair to say if Canelo vs Charlo were made 2 years ago, it would be seen differently.
Yep, both men are same age range, 33 years old. Canelo, though, has been paying the trade as a pro since he was 15. Do that “ouchie” math. Or maybe don’t.
He’s a thinking man’s fighter, and I don’t think he fell prey to macho gyms where the sparring sapped people hard. But, let’s talk decline. “Even a decline of 5 is OK, but like 12-15 percent, when you are that super talented, that’s big,” Rainone said. So he thinks the red head has dipped that much? “There are a lot of things he’s no longer doing,” the ex fighter said.
Yes, Canelo Has Declined
“Woodsy, I was re-watching the Canelo vs Cotto fight, it’s painfully obvious he’s not that guy, who rips shots, is creative, now it’s just high guard, trying to walk you down. And that’s worked, to an extent. It worked against Plant, but maybe he’s gone to the well once too often. He’s devolved? There was no Plan B versus Bivol, was that due to aging?
“Or not so much aging, but more so being content with what’s been working,” Rainone pondered. “But what worked against Saunders, Callum Smith..against Bivol it didn’t. It’s laziness, or really complacency. I don’t think we’ve seen the “old Canelo” since the Danny Jacobs fight.”
He went on: “He fought Danny at 160, then Kovalev, a calculated risk, his name was huge, he had a belt, he was a declining fighter, dare I say shot, and Kovalev was scared of him, the way he fought. Canelo made him gunshy to throw his right. All he did was he walked the bigger man down. It worked for him. You can go to the well once too often.
“What if Charlo's not afraid of him, he's not shot. There's the old expression, the fighter is the first one to realize he's declining, and the last one to admit it. I don’t think he's there yet, but I think he’s suspicious, knows coming in that changes need to be made, so he'll do the certain drills before Canelo vs Charlo, training methods, to get back to where he was.”
We chatted more, about how folks who whisper-screamed about Canelo not fighting black fighters, well, that thesis got junked.
“Hey, the biggest name gets the most hate, he's the face of boxing, and has the most detractors. People will say, if he wins, ‘You fought the wrong Charlo!' No matter who he fights, they're gonna have something to say. The amount of hate he gets, it’s upsetting. Name me a better resume, we will miss him when he's gone, same old thing, fighters we didn’t appreciate them, they go, now you miss them.”
Where'd the Lion Go?
Then we delved hard into Charlo.
Is it a red flag that he’s not been his pissed off self, the guy who had that threatening aura come fight week? “Not necessarily, he’s not been puffing his chest out, not been a shit talker,” the ex fighter said.
It could well be that his eyes are wide open, he recognizes the immensity of the assignment and has had to acknowledge that he may not be able to shock the Mexican. “I’m thinking as camp rolled on, if he had some doubts, those were dispelled somewhat, because he’s probably trained harder than he ever has to this point. As camp rolls on, confidence grows..
“He will be prepared fight night. Yeah, I don’t see a one sided beatdown, a la Crawford-Spence. Could I picture a surprise with Charlo dominating and convincing Canelo that this is the Jump the Shark phase of his career? He’s the better and more ambitious of the Charlos, much better resume. Two blemishes, a loss and draw and he’s avenged them both. That shows character.”
Is Jermell's Head Dialed On Tight Leading In To Canelo vs Charlo?
So, if you are wondering if beneath the surface, a repressed intensity won’t be messing with Jermell’s head leading into and on fight night, Rainone says he thinks Jermell got this.
“I’m betting on this going the distance,” he said. “If someone’s getting kayoed, that’s Charlo. I do expect an ‘old’ effort from Canelo, him doing some of those old things that he got away from. Ryder, he was a solid fighter, Canelo broke his nose, pressed harder, but he’s not the same guy, his endurance goes. Ryder is not A level, he stops him three years ago.
“We agree, Charlo will be bigger and more dangerous than Ryder. But I think Canelo is locked in for Canelo vs Charlo, will give a more disciplined performance, we’ll see more hints of the ‘old’ Canelo, having drilled some old things in the gym.
Rainone doesn’t sound too worried that “the moment” could sap Charlo on Canelo vs Charlo fight night.
He cited the fights with Brian Castano as showing that Jermell can handle deep waters with lead weights. No, Castano isn’t Canelo, not unless Canelo’s slide continued and worsened. “Charlo reacted properly,” he said.
It's Possible The Strain of a Mega Fight Week Takes Something From Jermell
We both agreed that eyes are on Charlo leading in to Canelo vs Charlo, with folks analyzing his mood, his fire (or lack of), and that’s because the jury is out on how he’d react to harsh queries against an A level talent.
“Is this a hard one? Everything ’s always crystal clear Monday morning, Ryan v Tank, I was on the right side, had Tank by KO, late KO (7-12), I had knockdown in 1-4. Everything fell into place, people had a lot of questions on Gervonta, there were lots of distractions leading in, he was fighting Ryan, who pushed for it, who wanted the fight. Charlo has been there, not like Ryan. No, I don’t see Alvarez by KO. Are the bases covered? I’m feeling good, leaning toward 12 round decision Alvarez.”
Crazier things have been seen than a Charlo by SD win, he added. “I’m fairly confident Canelo will find a way to win, this is the first fight of a three fight deal.”
Buzz Check For Canelo vs Charlo
“How fired up am I for this one, 1-10? Close to a 10, Canelo vs Charlo is a huge fight, I don’t like shitting on it in any way….Charlo is a big guy who fights small, Canelo is a small guy who fights big. I’m legit pumped, how often do two top ten pound for pound guys face off?”
Rainone continued: “I have Canelo at 5-6, Jermell 9-10 pound for pound, a moving list, Spence was knocked off. Could the Spence whack out infect Jermell? That was a bad look for the lions, has it crossed his mind the same thing could happen to him, sure. ‘My friend got obliterated.’ I could see this. Early, Charlo eats an Alvarez hard overhand right, and says to himself, I’m not looking to be Spence here.
“Charlo to win has to put on the performance of a lifetime. And I’ve seen Alvarez win when behind. Plant was no walk in the park!”
OK, so, sorry to intrude, but will Rainone go big on Canelo vs Charlo? “I lean more yes than no,” he said. I had a lot of money on Davis vs Garcia, I didn’t have a lot on Spence-Crawford. I had a shitload on the Jake Paul vs Nate Diaz…this will be somewhere in the middle.” Maybe a grand, overall.