Talk about a twin bill.
Jermall Charlo and Jermell Charlo will co-headline a Showtime Pay-Per-View broadcast September 26 against two of the toughest opponents in their respective divisions.
Jermall Charlo will defend his WBC middleweight title versus Sergiy Derevyanchenko, the number one contender for his 160-pound crown. His twin brother, Jermell Charlo, will face Jeison Rosario in a 154-pound title unification fight as part of the same six-fight pay-per-view show from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Showtime announced the Charlo doubleheader Wednesday morning, along with seven other live events it will air either on that premium cable network or on pay-per-view. Each of those cards, starting August 1 and ending December 12, will take place at Mohegan Sun Arena, without fans in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Charlo-Derevyanchenko and Charlo-Rosario fights are called the “first main event” and “second main event,” respectively, in Showtime’s official press release. The order of their fights aside, the polarizing Charlo twins will test their boxing abilities against imposing opponents, as well as their drawing power by co-headlining on pay-per-view for the first time.
Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) and the Dominican Republic’s Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) will fight for Charlo’s WBC super welterweight title and the IBF, IBO and WBA 154-pound championships Rosario won from Julian Williams six months ago.
Charlo-Derevyanchenko and Charlo-Rosario will be packaged with four more fights, most notably an intriguing WBC super bantamweight elimination bout between Daniel Roman (27-3-1, 10 KOs) and Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12 KOs).
The Charlos’ undercard also will feature Mario Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs), who will defend the WBA world 140-pound championship against Ryan Karl (18-2, 12 KOs), and Brandon Figueroa (20-0-1, 15 KOs), who’ll defend the WBA world super bantamweight championship versus Damien Vazquez (15-1-1, 8 KOs). The September 26 show will include an IBF lightweight elimination match that’ll pit Diego Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) against Isaac Cruz (19-1-1, 14 KOs) as well.
Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) opted against waiting for the WBC to order him to fight Derevyanchenko. Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs) is the number one contender for Charlo’s championship, but the WBC has not yet declared him the Houston native’s mandatory challenger.
The 34-year-old Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs) chose challenging Charlo over a lucrative offer to fight Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) on September 12. The middleweight contender would’ve had to move up from 160 pounds to 168 for that 12-round super middleweight match against the Mexican icon.
Derevyanchenko represents the toughest test, at least on paper, for the 30-year-old Charlo since the former IBF junior middleweight champ began competing in the middleweight division in July 2017.
Detractors have criticized Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) for fighting huge underdogs Jorge Sebastian Heiland, Hugo Centeno Jr., Brandon Adams and Dennis Hogan in four of his five middleweight matches. England’s Chris Eubank Jr. (29-2, 22 KOs) was long considered the front-runner to become Charlo’s next opponent prior to Charlo-Derevyanchenko discussions becoming serious last month.
A heavily favored Charlo stopped Ireland’s Hogan (28-3-1, 7 KOs) in the seventh round of his last fight, December 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Challenging Charlo will afford Derevyanchenko his third crack at winning a middleweight title in his past four fights. Derevyanchenko has lost two fights for the vacant IBF 160-pound crown to Daniel Jacobs and Gennadiy Golovkin since October 2018.
In his last appearance, Derevyanchenko gave Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) one of the most difficult fights of his career October 5 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Kazakhstan’s Golovkin defeated Derevyanchenko on all three cards (115-112, 115-112, 114-113), but their brutal battle was extremely competitive and was named “Fight of the Year” for 2019 by BoxingScene.com.
Eleven months earlier, Brooklyn’s Jacobs (36-3, 30 KOs) edged Derevyanchenko by split decision in their 12-rounder at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.
The durable Derevyanchenko got up from first-round knockdowns against both Jacobs and Golovkin and gave them very troublesome bouts.
Jermell Charlo, meanwhile, will encounter a hard-hitting opponent who pulled off boxing’s biggest upset of 2020.
Williams was consistently listed as a 30-1 favorite to beat Rosario, but the unknown underdog overwhelmed Williams (27-2-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC). The rugged Rosario hurt and stopped Williams in the fifth round January 18 at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Williams’ hometown.
Jermell Charlo regained his WBC 154-pound championship in his last bout by knocking out Tony Harrison (28-3, 21 KOs) in the 11th round of their rematch December 21 at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California. Detroit’s Harrison upset Charlo almost exactly one year earlier by unanimous decision to win that title from Charlo at Barclays Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.