LOS ANGELES – Brian Castano called Jermell Charlo a “strong” fighter Thursday, but he doesn’t consider Charlo more powerful than any of the first 18 opponents he faced as a professional.
Charlo continued to predict that he’ll knock out Castano in their immediate rematch Saturday night. The IBF/WBA/WBC 154-pound champion claimed, too, that Castano knows, deep down, that he dealt with superior power when they fought to a controversial split draw last July 17 at AT&T Center in San Antonio.
The hard-hitting Charlo seemed to buzz Castano in the second and 10th rounds of their bout, but Castano stayed on his feet throughout their 12-round title unification fight.
“Look, Charlo is a top-tier fighter and that’s, without a doubt, that’s true,” Castano said during their press conference at The Westin Los Angeles Airport. “But at the same time, at this level everyone has power. And the fact is that the only opponent that has sent me to the mat has been the Puerto Rican guy [Emmanuel de Jesus]. The other ones haven’t been able to. So, I respect him as an opponent and I know that he’s strong. But there is nothing about his power that really, truly stands out to me over any other fighter that I have faced before.”
Puerto Rico’s de Jesus knocked Castano to the canvas in the second round of their July 2016 bout in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Castano’s hometown. Castano, who dropped de Jesus during the first round, got up from that knockdown, eventually knocked de Jesus (then 17-1) to the canvas in the sixth round and knocked him out in a scheduled 12-rounder for the WBA interim super welterweight title.
Charlo clipped Castano with a left hook that made Castano lose his footing with 1:40 to go in the 10th round. About 35 seconds later, Charlo’s right hand caused Castano to reset his feet again. Another right hand by Charlo knocked Castano backward awkwardly with a few seconds to go in the 10th round.
Houston’s Charlo previously countered Castano with a left hook that wobbled him 1:10 into the second round. Confident that he can finish off Castano in their rematch, Charlo predicted a knockout Thursday before Castano dismissively discussed his power.
“That’s what the f--- I do!,” Charlo said. “I’m knocking him [out]! That’s what I do! That’s what I’m known for. I’m known for the power. I’m known for the knockout. I’m known for the speed. He know it. He know it. But ask him.”
Showtime will air Castano-Charlo as the main event of a three-bout telecast Saturday night from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The action is set to start at 9 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. PT, when junior featherweights Kevin Gonzalez (24-0-1, 13 KOs), of Culiacan, Mexico, and Emanuel Rivera (19-2, 12 KOs), of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, will meet in a 10-rounder. Philadelphia’s Jaron Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs, 1 NC), an emerging welterweight contender, and Custio Clayton (19-0-1, 12 KOs), of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, are scheduled to square off in Showtime’s 12-round co-feature.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.