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Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castaño Breakdown and Prediction

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Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castaño Breakdown and Prediction
Photo Credit:Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

The second chapter of Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castaño gets the green light Saturday (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET), but will the rematch live up to the first fight? It was one of the most exciting bouts in 2021 and had fans on the edge of their seats for all 12 rounds. Although the outcome was slightly controversial, with judge Nelson Vazquez scoring the fight 117-111 for Charlo, either variation of a win in his favor would have ended in a split draw.

And that leaves us with 31-year-old lineal and WBA/WBC/IBF unified titlist Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) and 32-year-old WBO titleholder Brian Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs) battling for junior middleweight supremacy again to determine the undisputed champion.

So without further ado, let's do a quick breakdown of the first fight from my vantage point and dive into how the rematch could potentially play out.

Castaño was the more consistent puncher and is known for his high-volume, intelligent pressure. But there were split-second moments when Charlo would time him with hooks in-between his combinations. In round two, Castaño had Charlo against the ropes and was unloading shots, many of which were blocked, but Charlo snuck in a left hook and sent him spiraling to the ropes. But once again, in the third round, Charlo found himself against the ropes. However, this time he couldn't keep Castaño off of him and got hurt by a left hook that nearly sent him to the canvas.

Moving forward to the 10th round, Charlo split the guard with a right-left combination that hurt Castaño again. He then followed up with a one-two combo that took some more air out of Castaño's tires. However, he couldn't secure the knockout, and ultimately the fight ended in a draw.

WHAT CHARLO NEEDS TO DO:

The most important punch in boxing is the jab. Charlo made pretty good use of the shot in the first fight. Charlo was looking for the home run at points in the bout, especially when he hurt Castaño. Instead of setting up his punches, he went for the knockout, and that allowed Castaño to get on his bicycle and recover.

He needs to use that jab more in the rematch. We know Castaño is going to be moving forward. Look at what Dmitry Bivol accomplished last Saturday against Canelo Alvarez. The jab was the key to throwing off Canelo's best shots, and he couldn't set up his stuff. Charlo can outbox Castaño. We saw glimpses of this in the seventh round. He connected with a slew of solid body shots from the outside, and he was able—at times—to use the ring and pivot around Castaño.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime

If Charlo stops moving and allows himself to be a stationary target, Castaño will accept his invitation, close the gap, and force Charlo to fight his battle. Castaño was able to throw off Charlo at times by feinting with his left to the head and coming back with a right over the top. We didn't see Charlo use feints at all in the first fight. Even when he had Castaño at long range, Charlo wasn't mixing up his punches or making Castaño think. It was constantly one-two combos, which allowed Castaño to time, counter, step in, and make it an inside fight again.

We need to see more punch variation and creativity from Charlo. Make Castaño think in there using the jab, but mix in some feints, control the center of the ring, stay off the ropes, and have a sustained body attack. Solid bodywork is one of the best ways to slow down an opponent.

WHAT CASTAÑO NEEDS TO DO:

You could argue that Castaño gave the fight away last July. As previously stated, he was more consistent, but Charlo had the more significant moments. However, he was unable to capitalize on those opportunities. Regardless of what you think about Nelson Vazquez's atrocious scorecard, those slippages on defense allowed Charlo to narrow the deficit. And ultimately, no one came out as a winner.

Now, not only does Castaño have to fight Charlo again, but he's also in enemy territory once again. He has no choice but to bring the fight to Charlo. With a height of 5′ 7½″ and a 67″ reach, Castaño isn't going to be outboxing the taller fighter. He doesn't have the physical attributes; he's coming to take Charlo's soul.

Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime

But when you fight like a Castaño, there's a chance you'll get caught with something you don't see coming. We saw that in the first fight. Stay aggressive, but also be mindful of what's coming back. Shorten up those combinations because we know Charlo will be looking for opportunities to land explosive counters. Don't get greedy against a good counterpuncher because you will pay the price.

PREDICTION: 

Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime

Both fighters will have their moments, but Charlo will make the necessary adjustments. I see him catching Castaño with an uppercut that drops him in round 10, but I say it goes the distance.

Charlo by unanimous decision 116-111 to become the undisputed king at 154-pounds.

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