“I’m way too much for Miguel Cotto,” Jermell Charlo told the media on Friday.
The undefeated WBC junior middleweight champion, Charlo, hosted a media day at Charlo Boxing Academy in Houston. Boxing fans and media attended the event to get up close and personal with Charlo ahead of his October 14 title defense versus Eriskson Lubin. Charlo went through the customary media day workouts like shadowboxing and hitting the bag while fans surrounded him with cheers and adulation.
While Charlo defends his belt against rising star Jurickson Lubin next, Charlo offered only slight praise of his next foe before moving onto lambasting Cotto for not accepting the proposed fight.
“He’s a crafty young fighter,” Charlo said of Lubin. “He’s strong. He has skills. He has pop.”
But Charlo said he was confused about why his WBC mandatory bout was against Lubin, saying he didn’t see Lubin on the same level as him as a fighter.
“I’m fighting a prospect. He’s not even a contender. Like I said, I don’t even know how he got this fight, but I have to [fight him] so I can fight the No. 1 guys. That’s what mandatories are all about.
Charlo, alongside his twin brother, Jermall, are Houston’s biggest boxing stars. Both fighters are elite-level, championship-caliber hitters, Jermell a current 154-pound titleholder and Jermall a former one having recently vacated his belt to move up to middleweight.
Charlo seemed frustrated over luring the bigger names into the ring to face him.
“I’m after the big fight. I’ve fought 29 fights. I’ve fought a lot of prospects. I’ve fought Olympians. What else do y’all want me to do? Now it’s time to put this Houston fighter on the map, [and] beat the Cottos, beat the Canelos and the GGGs and whoever else y’all want me to jump in the ring with.”
Charlo indicated he didn’t believe Cotto would take the fight. Cotto, one of the most decorated fighters in boxing history, is set to retire after his next bout, a proposed December 2017 showdown against an opponent to be named.
While it was Cotto’s preference to face the winner of September’s Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin bout, the draw in that fight has led to the two possible final fight matchups focusing on a rematch against each other instead of a bout versus Cotto.
Charlo sees opportunity there, but admits the bout against Cotto is unlikely to happen. He said Cotto and his team would ignore his requests for the fight in search of an easier win.
“I’m just way too much [for Cotto]. He’s older now. He doesn’t have the athleticism I have. He’s not active enough.”
A bout versus Cotto would easily be Charlo’s most lucrative bout to date. While Charlo is one of the division’s most recognizable titleholders, he’s yet to become a big enough draw to lure boxing’s cash cows into the ring with him. He said he felt that way when Mayweather retired, too, and Charlo doesn’t expect anything to change with Cotto.
“[Cotto] would be a great fight for me, of course. But I don’t believe Cotto and his team would put that together.”