By Keith Idec
Jermall Charlo can’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be able to carry his power with him to the middleweight division.
The former IBF junior middleweight champion knocked out three of his final four opponents at 154 pounds, including a three-knockdown, fifth-round knockout of previously undefeated Philadelphia contender Julian Williams in his last bout before moving up. Houston’s Charlo (25-0, 19 KOs) will test that power at 160 pounds when he squares off against Argentina’s Sebastian Heiland on July 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“Knockout power is something that’s God-given,” Charlo said during a conference call Thursday. “I expect my power to translate immediately. Not only that, I’m feeling a lot better. As you know, making 154 pounds was the objective and the goal all along. But now my focus has been on sharpening up me and sharpening up my mind frame. And now that I’ve put my physical strength with my sharper mind frame, I feel like I’m gonna fight a lot better.”
The 30-year-old Heiland has not been knocked out since he turned pro 10 years ago. He has lost four times, though, and largely has thrived against a low level of opposition while amassing a 29-4-2 record, including 16 knockouts.
Charlo, 27, is favored to win their fight, despite Heiland’s eight-fight winning streak. The winner of their WBC elimination match will become the mandatory challenger for whoever emerges victorious from the September 16 showdown between IBF/IBO/WBC/WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) and former WBC middleweight champ Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs).
“I’m not overlooking Heiland at all,” Charlo said. “I have to do what I did at 154 pounds, or else they’re not gonna think I’m real. So my job is to fight as hard as I can and train as hard as I can, and fulfill my dream, and that’s becoming a two-division world champion.”
The Heiland-Charlo clash will be part of a Showtime telecast set to feature a 12-round, 140-pound main event that’ll match Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) against Adrien Broner (33-2, 24 KOs, 1 NC). Charlo will fight for the first time since he knocked out Williams (23-1-1, 15 KOs, 1 NC) on December 10 in Los Angeles.
“Moving forward at 160 pounds, I feel like this is where I should’ve been the whole time,” Charlo said. “Now the pressure is on me to look good and perform good … and give the fans what they need to see, so I can continue to reign.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.