Canelo vs Charlo Fight Card Main Event Preview



Canelo vs Charlo Fight Card Main Event Preview

Boxing went through a whirlwind of excitement this past July. The sport's brightest star announced his next opponent, well see Canelo vs Charlo, and two of the sports' best practitioners, Terence Crawford and Naoya Inoue, stepped into the most important bouts of their careers and put on legacy-defining performances.

Crawford and Inoue put a gap between themselves and the rest of the pack in the pound-for-pound rankings, with eye-opening “ease.” In another surprising turn of events, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) will be facing undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) for the Mexican's undisputed super middleweight crown on September 30th.

Initially, it was thought that Alvarez would be taking on Jermell's twin brother Jermall Charlo who holds a title at middleweight; however, Jermell stepped in when his brother couldn't or wouldn't commit.

For Alvarez, this isn't the first time he has announced a match-up that took the sport by surprise.

Canelo Has Surprised Us Before With Foe Choice

In 2016, he announced a catchweight fight with former junior welterweight champion Amir Khan and the following year, a battle with Mexican countrymen Julio Cesar Chavez Jr took place. Both fights set a level of intrigue for boxing and casual fans.

Now before you lose your temper or let out a set of expletives, yes, the match between Canelo and Jermell Charlo is leagues above the bouts with Khan and Chavez Jr. But, just like those two bouts, the match with Charlo isn't the fight that fans asked for or is in the best interest for their respective divisions. But that's not to say that it won't be legitimately competitive.

Charlo moving up two weight classes to take on Alvarez without first acclimating himself to the new division is definitely a risk. But it isn't anything new.

Boxing's original and arguably greatest multi-divisional champion, Henry Armstrong, held the featherweight title when he moved up to welterweight to challenge Barney Ross for the division's championship in 1938.

Along with Armstrong, the man many bestow with the title of boxing's GOAT (greatest of all time) not only in a pound-for-pound sense but also at welterweight is Sugar Ray Robinson.

He would challenge Jake LaMotta for the middleweight championship and later would face Joey Maxim for the light heavyweight title. These were considered one-division jumps in the 1940s and 1950s; however, there are all two-division leaps in today's era.

Jumps Have Been Done Before

Generations later, fighters like Roberto Duran and Shane Mosley would move from the lightweight division to welterweight to take on the sport's biggest names, Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya.

Duran, in particular, had eight fights at the weight, including a victory over former welterweight titleholder Carlos Palomino before challenging Leonard. Mosley would have two fights at welterweight before taking on De La Hoya in the summer of 2000.

Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao skipped divisions twice.

First, when he grew out of the flyweight division, losing his title on the scales, and moved up to super bantamweight. Years later, after one fight at lightweight, he challenged Oscar De La Hoya at welterweight, launching his career into another stratosphere.

After losing his middleweight title to Jermain Taylor, Bernard Hopkins moved to Light Heavyweight to take down Antonio Tarver for the lineal championship. Canelo made the same move in 2019 after defending his middleweight titles against Daniel Jacobs. He moved up to light heavyweight to take on Sergey Kovalev.

Y'all Didn't Forget Roy, Didja?

Famously, after a long tenure as a light heavyweight, Roy Jones Jr. went up to heavyweight to win a title against John Ruiz in March 2003 in what was arguably the peak moment of his career.

However, while the risk of moving up in weight paid off for many elite fighters now enshrined in the annals of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Jones is an example of the toll that can take on the body.

After his stint at heavyweight, when Jones moved back down to light heavyweight, he didn't look like the same fighter.

“It's strange for Mel because this is his first time going that high,” Roy Jones said in an interview on Fight Hub TV discussing Jermell Charlo and Canelo Alvarez.

Roy Jones Jr spoke on the Canelo vs Charlo fight card main event

Listen to Roy Jones, man knows what he's talking about regarding hopping up weight classes

“And he's doing it for two weight classes. To jump one weight class is good, but when you jump two, it's difficult. It's more of a significant amount of weight, and you don't know how your body is going to react.

“You are going to take that 14-pound jump, and you're going to see what happens. But that's dangerous because you don't know how your body is going to react. Can you carry that for 12 rounds? Can you take a punch that way for 12 rounds?

“It's a lot of questions to be answered, and you didn't start with the six-jump weight you went all the way to the 14-pound jump. Now if you're a special guy, which he may be, then he can do that with no problem. Cause if you think about it, Canelo started at the same weight.”

Canelo vs Charlo Fight Card Main Event: Is Jermell Charlo Special?

As Jones described, Jermell Charlo could be that special fighter to move up in weight and defeat the number one fighter in the division.

As seen during the press tour in New York and Los Angeles, the size difference between Charlo and Alvarez isn't vast, with the junior middleweight standing taller at an even 6-foot compared to Alvarez's 5'8. Also, Alvarez is on a three-fight slump in the eyes of many observers.

After a streak of stellar performances that started with his second fight with Gennadiy Golovkin in September 2018 to his undisputed super middleweight crowning in November 2021 against Caleb Plant, Canelo has been on a downward trajectory.

A loss to Dmitrii Bivol in May 2022 was his first official defeat since taking on Floyd Mayweather almost ten years earlier.

This was followed by the trilogy bout with Golovkin, which, at worst, can be described as transactional. Neither man performed at a high level, dropping a dud in what was until then seen as one of the better rivalries of this era.

More recently, Alvarez took on contender John Ryder in Mexico.

NYFIGHTS covered Canelo vs John Ryder

Canelo hasn't looked impregnable last three fights, has he? Maybe Jermell is placed perfectly to pull off the upset in the Canelo vs Charlo main event

While he dropped his United Kingdom opponent, there were times when the four-division champion looked like the wear and tear of boxing professionally since a teenager had taken its toll. Maybe it was injuries, fatigue from fighting at a consistent rate, or a general lack of passion; clearly, Alvarez hasn't been at his best since 2021.

So, possibly, Charlo is fighting Alvarez at the perfect time.

CLICK HERE to check out the top triumphs for Canelo.

Right Place and Time For Jermell in Canelo vs Charlo?

“We'll see if it's true that I've lost a step,” Alvarez stated at the Los Angeles portion of the press tour for his bout with Jermell Charlo.

“We'll see. I understand what the people said, and I agree. I didn't look my best in my last two fights, but I know why, and I'm ready for this fight. We'll see what happens. We're going to see something different.”

Despite some history and circumstances on Charlo's side, he hasn't exactly been the most active fighter over the last few years. He's fought on an annual basis over the last three years. When he steps into the ring against Alvarez, it will have been over a year since he last fought when he faced Brian Castano in May 2022.

And while Charlo is taller than Alvarez, someone's height isn't the only factor when moving up in weight.

When Kell Brook took on Gennadiy Golovkin in September 2016 for the Kazakhstani's middleweight titles, he wasn't much shorter than Golovkin. The difference was how Brook's body reacted to the punches of a fighter who had consistently fought at a higher weight. Brook ended up being stopped in five rounds with a broken orbital bone.

When he moved back down, he found himself in the same position against Errol Spence Jr. It was a risk that was commendable, but it ended up backfiring for the former welterweight titleholder.

Is it possible that Charlo at the end of Canelo vs Charlo could end up in the same position as Brook?

Jermell Charlo looked at home with his Balenciaga shades in Beverly Hills. But will he rue the move to try out 168? Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

Charlo is a fighter that has responded to adversity. He stopped Tony Harrison and Brian Castano in rematches and scored knockdowns and knockouts when least expected.

However, having never fought on this grand of a stage, a game plan will need to be executed so he doesn't find himself falling behind in a close fight.

“I know that the jab is going to be active,” Charlo said to Showtime Sports. “That jab has got to be active. Lateral movement has really got to be active as well. So we can't just sit there and take shots. It's about being smart in there. Using my high IQ will definitely put this fight in my hands.”

Most agree that Canelo-Charlo should be a competitive fight no matter how long it lasts. It's likely that it will be the highest-grossing bout for the remainder of 2023. But was it the best fight that could have been made?

The intrigue behind Canelo-Charlo should bring eyeballs and attention; however, there are some casualties to the fight taking place.

Would You Rather See Canelo vs David Benavidez?

For what feels like years now, fans have been clamoring for a match between David Benavidez and Alvarez. The 26-year-old Benavidez is a two-time super middleweight champion and is coming off one of his more significant wins defeating Caleb Plant by unanimous decision in a grudge match.

The undefeated Benavidez holds the interim WBC super middleweight title and would have not only satisfied the boxing hardcore but, more importantly, a casual audience, could have easily been sold a battle between the two. This match could still occur with Alvarez signing a three-fight deal with Premier Boxing Champions. However, the timing would have been perfect as Benavidez has never had more recognition.

Tim Tszyu has been waiting for a shot at Charlo for quite some time. A fight between the two was scheduled at the beginning of this year in January, but a left-hand fracture postponed the match indefinitely. Tszyu has stayed active fighting twice this year, but it seems unlikely that a bout between the two will ever come to fruition at this point.

Should Charlo win against Canelo, a rematch is likely to take place, and should he lose, a move back down in weight may only seem enticing if it's against another undisputed champion, Terence Crawford.

“After this, we'll see what we can do with Crawford,” Charlo told Showtime Sports as he discussed Canelo vs Charlo main event. “After I get my era of Canelo out of the way.”

Pondering Crawford vs Jermell

This year, a grudge match between Crawford and Charlo would have broken the internet.

A fight between two undisputed champions just one weight class apart with two fighters who hold a large amount of hostility toward each other makes a recipe for an exciting fight and even higher box office returns.

Since Crawford's win over Errol Spence, he has been on a media run doing a plethora of interviews. Recently, he sat down with comedian Joe Rogan and discussed the possibility of following Charlo up to super middleweight and facing the winner of Canelo-Charlo.

“To go up from 147 pounds to 168 pounds and to win-wow,” Crawford said on The Joe Rogan Experience. “I want to be a three-time undisputed. I'm ready now. People think it's all bout weight, but it's skill. I've got the power to make anybody respect me. I don't care what your weight is.

Terence Crawford on Joe Rogan

“Canelo's not a big guy; he's 5ft 8 ins. He's big muscular-wise, but as far as height? Nah. I think it can happen. If he beats Jermell Charlo, Terence Crawford vs. Canelo Alvarez is the biggest fight in boxing, hands down.”

Canelo-Charlo is fine. There's nothing inherently wrong with the bout.

But what does it really do for Canelo? It will make him money just like any other fight would.

Should he win, a victory will come with a litany of asterisks. He fought a smaller fighter. He fought an inactive fighter. The truth is the match mainly benefits the fighters themselves.

Some matches, such as Canelo-Benavidez and Charlo-Tszyu, lay as casualties due to Canelo-Charlo taking place. Others like Demetrius Andrade will thrive as he looks to receive a major opportunity against David Benavidez. And with Charlo leaving super welterweight, if he chooses to bypass returning, the division opens up for other contenders to shine.

Canelo-Charlo was one right that left a couple of wrongs in its wake. However, boxing as a sport is a marathon. We need to wait to see how things ultimately play out.

“I don't have any excuses,” Charlo told the media during the press tour. “Whatever happens, happens. I came here to win this fight. I'm not laying down. I don't care what anyone says.”