By Keith Idec
Hugo Centeno Jr. noticed something surprising as Jermall Charlo attacked Adrien Broner and Gervonta Davis during an infamous Instagram video that caused controversy last month.
“He kind of came off a bit drunk,” Centeno told BoxingScene.com. “I don’t know if he was. It was kind of close to the fight to be drunk, but if he’s not focused, that’s on him.”
Centeno and Charlo are scheduled to fight Saturday night for the WBC’s interim middleweight title. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for Gennady Golovkin, the WBC middleweight champion.
Centeno considers some of Charlo’s comments and behavior recently signs that Charlo isn’t taking their scheduled 12-round fight quite as seriously as Centeno is taking it. Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) is known for his rigid training regimen and going all out in camp, but the Houston native is heavily favored over Centeno.
The 27-year-old Centeno (26-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC), of Oxnard, California, is listed by several Internet sports books as a 14-1 underdog entering a fight Showtime will televise as part of a three-bout broadcast from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I know a lot of people have been saying he’s been rambling and going off on Instagram and all the social media stuff,” Centeno said. “But every time he’s been doing that, I’ve been in the gym, staying focused. When he started rambling on about Gervonta Davis and Adrien Broner, I was in the gym, I was running. It was 1 in the morning. I stay focused. I don’t worry about none of that. I’ve got my eye on the prize and that’s winning this world title.”
Charlo took down the aforementioned Instagram video in which he expressed displeasure about boxing on Adrien Broner’s undercard Saturday night. The 27-year-old Charlo also criticized Davis, who’ll also fight on the undercard Saturday night, and called Davis names during a vulgar video that was posted the night of March 25 (https://www.boxingscene.com/jermall-charlo-erupts-tears-apart-adrien-broner-gervonta-davis--126547).
“A lot of people say it’s an advantage for me because he isn’t focused and he’s looking past me,” Centeno said. “Realistically, if he does, that’s on him. I don’t wanna hear any excuses because we’ve had a lot of time to get ready. Like I said, I just stay focused and I keep my eye on the prize. And if he overlooks me or he’s not focused, that’s on him. He should know better at a level like this.”
Before Centeno and Charlo clash, Showtime will begin its tripleheader at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with a 12-round bout between Baltimore’s Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) and Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) for a version of the WBA’s super featherweight title. Following Centeno-Charlo, Cincinnati’s Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) will face Las Vegas’ Jessie Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs) in a 12-round, 144-pound main event.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.