Current undisputed super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) will face Saul “Canelo” Álvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs), who holds the same distinction at super middleweight, on September 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the time of writing, both men are on a media tour which includes press conferences in New York City and Los Angeles. In anticipation for their clash, Big Fight Weekend takes a look at the career of Charlo so far.
At just 17 years of age, Charlo made his professional boxing debut on December 8, 2007. His opponent was Corey Sommerville whom he dropped in round three en route to a unanimous decision victory. This fight was at welterweight, a division Charlo remained in until 2010. Following a unanimous decision win over Gerardo Prieto, he tested the super welterweight limit twice before coming back down to welterweight for a final time. After defeating Luis Grajeda, he made the full transition to 154.
Upon moving to super welterweight, he rose through the ranks by defeating the likes of Denis Douglin, Gabriel Rosado, and Vanes Martirosyan. In 2014, he had his only fight outside of the USA when he took on Charles Bellamy in Montreal, Canada. It was only a matter of time before Charlo would get the opportunity to challenge for a world title. That opportunity finally came nearly nine years after making his professional boxing debut.
Becoming world champion and early defenses
On May 21, 2016, Charlo challenged John Jackson for the vacant WBC super welterweight title. Jackson is the son of three-time world champion Julian Jackson, one of the hardest punchers in the history of boxing. Despite trailing on the scorecards, Charlo landed a right hand that dazed Jackson. He then followed it up with two left hooks which caused referee Tony Weekes to stop the contest.
Following the win over Jackson, Charlo successfully defended his title three times. He began his reign with knockout wins over Charles Hatley and Erickson Lubin in 2017. In 2018, he took on former champion Austin Trout, dropping him twice before winning a majority decision.
Charlo loses and regains his title
Following the win over Trout, Charlo took on Detroit’s Tony Harrison. In a fight that the judges had close on the scorecards, Harrison dealt Charlo the first loss of his professional career. A rematch was then scheduled, only for Harrison to pull out due to an injury. Due to this, Charlo fought Jorge Cota in a non-title fight, winning by third round stoppage.
Eventually, Charlo faced Harrison on December 21, 2019. After dropping Harrison in the second round, Charlo dropped him twice more before the bout was halted. With the win, Charlo became a two-time super welterweight champion. He could now look towards unifying and eventually becoming undisputed in the division.
Unifying and becoming undisputed
In his only fight of 2020, Charlo took on Jeison Rosario in a fight that had the WBC, WBA, and IBF super welterweight titles on the line. He dropped Rosario in rounds one, six, and eight en route to becoming a unified champion via eighth round knockout. Interestingly, it was jab to the body early in round eight that forced the stoppage as Rosario simply could not get up.
Following the Rosario win, there were calls for an undisputed clash against Brian Castaño. Since both fought under the Premier Boxing Champions umbrella, the fight was viewed as an easy one to make. Boxing fans got their wish as the bout was scheduled for July 17, 2021. In a close, action-packed fight, neither emerged the winner as the bout was ruled a split draw. There were immediate calls for a rematch, something that did happen roughly ten months later.
On May 14, 2022, Charlo and Castaño fought each other for a second time. Although Castaño had his moments, Charlo did the better work throughout the fight. Charlo was rewarded for his efforts as Castaño fell to the canvas in round ten. Castaño had a delayed reaction to a left hook that sent him down the first time. Following a barrage of punches, Castaño was dropped a second time. The began to administer a count but waved the fight off after determining Castaño was in no position to continue. With the win, Charlo became the undisputed super welterweight champion of the world.
In a bid to become undisputed in a second division, Charlo will now jump two weight classes to take on Canelo. Will he fall short? Or, will he defy the odds and repeat what he achieved at super welterweight? Boxing fans will be able to find out on September 30.