Jermell Charlo has been nothing but respectful toward Canelo Alvarez throughout the promotion of their upcoming showdown.
The undisputed junior middleweight champion praised Alvarez for his abilities, accomplishments and impact on the boxing business. Alvarez never forgot, however, the disparaging things Charlo and his twin brother, Jermall Charlo, said about him over the years.
The Mexican legend acknowledged during his open workout Wednesday that the Charlo brothers’ criticism inspired him while training for their 12-round, 168-pound title fight September 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I think it’s the perfect fight right now,” Alvarez told Premier Boxing Champions’ Ray Flores. “He’s undisputed in his weight class, and I’m undisputed. And he’s calling me out for a long time, so, and I hear he’s talking a lotta things. And I never forget, no. He say Canelo going down and Canelo can’t do this, can’t do that. He never believed in my skills. But guess what? He’s gonna find out soon. So, I’m very excited for this fight because he and his brother never believe in my skills. And that’s one of the things that motivate me for this fight. And I’m very excited because it’s almost here.”
Alvarez, 33, is a 4-1 favorite over Charlo, according to most sportsbooks. Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs), who is also 33, has moved up two weight classes, from 154 pounds to 168, to challenge Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) for the undisputed super middleweight champion’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO belts.
Charlo is four inches taller than Alvarez, but he hasn’t weighed in at more than 155¾ pounds for any of his 37 professional fights. He will also end a 16-month layoff when he enters the ring to face Alvarez and will fight for the first time since he fractured two bones in his left hand during a sparring session a few days prior to last Christmas.
This wasn’t the Showtime Pay-Per-View main event Al Haymon had in mind when he first met with Alvarez about signing a multi-fight agreement with Haymon’s PBC. Once Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs), the WBC 160-pound champion, turned down the opportunity to move up from middleweight to super middleweight to challenge Alvarez, Jermell Charlo happily accepted the biggest fight of his 15-year professional career.
Fighting Jermell Charlo next wasn’t on Alvarez’s radar, either, but he always hoped he would get the chance to prove the Houston native wrong in the ring.
“Yeah, I never say anything, but I never forget,” Alvarez said. “I always see everything and I never forget. And I know he and his brother always talk about me. They never believe in my skills, never believe in what I can do in the ring. But I like that because these kind of fights motivate myself, so that’s why I’m very excited for this fight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.