Who Can Say How Jermall Charlo Looks in Return?
Coming up Saturday night on the undercard of the David Benavidez – Demetrius Andrade pay-per-view main event in Las Vegas, current WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo returns to the ring for the first time in virtually 2 and 1/2 years. And, even though he’s undefeated with a bunch of title defences to his credit, it’s anyone’s guess as to what kind of shape and performance will see out of the Texan Charlo.
Jermall Charlo Returns After Long Absence
Jermall Charlo to Face Jose Benavidez Jr.
First, he’s had well-documented problems outside of the ring during his long layoff, including a February 2022 arrest for assault, with that charge being later dropped in the Fall of that year. He’s had marital problems, a custody fight with his estranged wife and now, self-described “mental health issues” plaguing him deep into this year, as well.
Amazingly, the WBC has sat back and done nothing about Charlo’s inactivity and failure to defend his title, specifically against top contender and now, interim champion Carlos Adames. Adames has been waiting for a year and counting for a title shot that has no sign of coming anytime soon.
Further complicating things is – Charlo is apparently nowhere near being able to make the middleweight limit of 160 lb. and instead will be fighting at super middleweight and will apparently weigh at least 163 or 164 lb. This fuels the belief that he’ll no longer be interested in fighting/defending at middleweight.
Another component of this comeback fight is he’ll be fighting a fighter who has only had one career bout at middleweight and primarily has competed at welterweight throughout his career in Jose Benavidez Jr.
Benavidez Jr is the older brother of David Benavidez, so it was not hard to “connect the dots” that he could end up on this pay-per-view undercard with his brother in the main event. Benavidez Jr. has had only two fights himself in the last two and a half years.
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Charlo Speaks Out on Ring Return
So, one can make the argument with both fighters having been largely inactive that this fight will have a slow, if not stale, beginning. Then again, there’s a school of thought that Charlo may want to demonstrate that he’s fully back and ready to compete at a championship level and therefore, come right at the smaller Benavidez in this one.
Charlo told the media on Tuesday in Vegas that he expects to be ready to excel, despite the time away,
“I’m going to fight at the top of my level no matter if my opponent is talking trash or not. There’s something wrong with this dude obviously. He’s got a few screws missing. He must not know what he’s getting himself into. 32 have tried and they’ve all failed. He’s just a stepping stone. I’m going to step on him super hard. I’m going to crush him.
“The boxing public is going to be reminded that I fight hard, each and every round. I’m coming to knock him out. And when I say I’m going to do it, I do it.
Charlo vs. Benavidez Jr.
Clearly, Charlo has displayed big punching power earlier in his career with his 22 knockouts in his 32 wins, although his last KO came in 2019. And, the last time Charlo was in the ring was June of 2021, so no one including him, knows what that translates into in terms of timing, power, etc., come Saturday night. You can check the latest odds provided by American Betting Apps website.
The hope for Charlo’s camp in from Premier Boxing champions is that he looks impressive, if not spectacular, and then proceeds on to possibly fight Adames in a title defence early next year.
That is, unless Charlo has already made up his mind that he will be fighting from here on out at super middleweight and if so, the WBC should strip him shortly after Saturday night. This after waiting easily a year longer than they should have to make Charlo defend his title in 2023.
So, as we head into Saturday, we know who will be stepping through the ropes, but what happens once the bell rings? That is truly anyone’s guess. And, that includes Jermall Charlo.