- Could Charlo follow in Pacquiao’s footsteps with step up in weight division?
- Charlo positive going into bout
- James feels Charlo’s size will be an advantage for him
In modern boxing history, Jermell Charlo joins a notable list of fighters who have dared to move up two weight divisions to challenge established champions. Manny Pacquiao and Guillermo Rigondeaux are two recent examples, each facing different outcomes in their respective bouts. Pacquiao’s clash with Oscar De La Hoya saw him force a ninth-round stoppage, while Rigondeaux faced a tough loss against Vasiliy Lomachenko, retiring after the sixth round.
Charlo feels this is the right time for Canelo showdown
Stepping into the ring as the light middleweight undisputed champion against Canelo Alvarez, Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) steps up in place of his brother Jermall, who withdrew due to personal issues. Charlo, at 33, believes the timing is perfect for this showdown.
“Now is the right time for this fight,” Charlo stated during a workout on Sept. 11. “We’re in our primes and at our best. I wanna shake the doubters off and prove to the world why I’m in this position. There’s a reason I made it this far. I’m gonna show what I’m made of. Everything I’ve done since I was eight years old, I’m putting it all on the line now.”
As of Tuesday, Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) held the favourite’s position. Nevertheless, there’s a rich history of fighters defying the odds and besting champions in higher weight classes.
Alvarez himself stands as a prime example, moving up from 160 pounds to 175 to claim the WBO light heavyweight title from Sergey Kovalev in November 2019. Pacquiao’s leap to welterweight against De La Hoya in December 2008, despite being at a catchweight of 145 pounds, is another remarkable feat. His victory against De La Hoya, a dominant performance that led to a ninth-round quit, showcased the small guy prevailing over the big guy.
Charlo is well aware of the challenge he faces moving up to 168 pounds, but he’s confident in his preparation.
“I’m not going to have to worry about losing too much weight,” Charlo said. “I’ve been sparring bigger guys for a very long time and now it’s about bringing that same mindset that I have at 154-pounds and bringing it up with me to 168-pounds.
“We’ve done so much sparring and conditioning. I’m working on the mental as well, because I know it’s not only about the physical. I’ve been training 14 weeks and making sure I do everything I need to.”
Several legendary fighters have moved up two divisions for title fights, with outcomes varying. Roy Jones, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Michael Spinks all tasted success, while others like Sugar Ray Robinson and Juan Manuel Marquez faced defeats.
Will Charlo emulate Pacquiao or Rigondeaux?
Charlo’s situation mirrors Pacquiao more than Rigondeaux in terms of size, and this could play a pivotal role. Standing at 6 feet, Charlo has a height and reach advantage over Canelo (5-foot-8), potentially enabling him to transition to the higher weight class more smoothly.
According to Charlo’s trainer, Derrick James, Charlo’s size is his advantage.
“Jermell’s advantage is actually his size,” James said. “You have to maximise that advantage. It’s about what Jermell is able to do. He doesn’t have to become the guy, he has to be the guy.
“You win the fight in the gym. You’re not pulling a rabbit out of your hat. You have to go in the ring having done it the right way.”
The big question remains whether Charlo can withstand Alvarez’s power at super middleweight. While Charlo is accustomed to facing welterweights and junior middleweights, it’s uncertain if he can handle the punches of a fighter known for knocking out opponents in higher weight classes.
The outcome of this highly anticipated fight will be revealed on Saturday, promising an electrifying event for boxing enthusiasts worldwide.
The bookies clearly are of the opinion that stepping up two weight classes to face a fighter of Alvarez’s quality is a big ask. At the time of writing, BoyleSports have Alvarez at 3/10 with Charlo at 11/4 with a draw 16/1. Charlo does, however, have the advantage of height and reach, so nettors need to assess whether this will allow him to cause an upset.
Odds are correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
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