By Lem Satterfield
WBC 160-pound interim champion Jermall Charlo vowed during a Wednesday conference call “to show the world why" Gennady Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez and division counterparts "don’t really want" to fight him, adding that ultimately, "they’re gonna have to answer to Jermall Charlo."
Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) pursues his first defense, fourth straight stoppage and 20th knockout in his past 22 fights against southpaw two-time title challenger Willie Monroe (23-3, 6 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on December 22.
The Showtime-televised card also features Charlo’s twin brother, Jermell (31-0, 15 KOs), defending his WBC junior middleweight crown against repeat title challenger Tony Harrison (27-2, 21 KOs).
After losing his junior middleweight title challenge to Jermall Charlo by unanimous decision in the then-IBF champions’ second defense and second-to-last 154-pound fight, Austin Trout had a warning for “The Hit Man’s” future opponents.
“Whomever Charlo fights next is going to have a tough task on their hands,” said Trout, a left-handed former champion whose resume includes a career-defining unanimous decision over Puerto Rican four-division champion Miguel Cotto.
Charlo reeled off three knockouts in as many consecutive victories, appearing to make a prophet of “No Doubt.”
In succession, Charlo scored three knockdowns during a fifth-round knockout of previously unbeaten Julian “J-Rock” Williams (December 2016), vacated for a 160-pound debut and two-knockdown, fourth-round TKO of Argentina’s Jorge Sebastian Heiland (July 2017), and flattened previously once-beaten Hugo Centeno Jr. (April) with a second-round left hook to become WBC’s interim titlist and mandatory challenger for Golovkin, a then-unbeaten WBC full title-holder.
Jermall looked made it look easy winning the J-Rock fight, looked even better in his second fight at 160, and just blew the guy out in his last fight,” said Trout of Charlo, who stopped Heiland for the first time in the latter’s career.
“Jermall’s only had two fights in the middleweight division, so Triple-G and Canelo have already allowed him to get settled in. Jermall is in his prime, and I think after one more fight, he’ll ready to go and pretty much unbeatable at that weight.”
Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) has since lost his WBC and “super” WBA titles by September’s split-decision to Alvarez (50-1-1, 34 KOs) in a rematch of their draw from September 2017. On Saturday, Alvarez pursues a third crown in as many divisions against 168-pound Rocky Fielding but retains his middleweight championships.
Making his third straight appearance both at 160 and at Barclays, Charlohas been mandated by the WBC to face Golovkin if he beats Monroe.
“My first fight at 160, [Heiland] had a hurt leg, and I didn’t get the chance to show the fans and the people at Barclays what I was made of. With Hugo being a bigger guy, I showed that I had a future at 160. Now, I’m fighting Willie Monroe, who has experience at 160, and he’s a big guy also but not of my stature,” said Charlo, 28, of Houston, Texas, on Wednesday.
“I’m learning that being at 160 pounds is just like 154 pounds. My body is constantly growing, so I’m filling out at 160 and I feel good. This has been one of my best camps that I’ve had because I’ve gotten a chance to experience it twice already…I’m only getting wiser, faster and stronger…I’ll let those guys [Alvarez and Golovkin] take care of their campaigns for now, but sooner or later, Canelo and Golovkin, they’re gonna have to answer to Jermall Charlo.”
The 31-year-old Monroe sandwiched unanimous decisions over John Thompson and title challenger Gabriel Rosado in June and September 2016 between losses to unbeaten champions Gennady Golovkin (sixth-round TKO) and Billy Joe Saunders (unanimous decision) of England in May 2015 and September.
Monroe enters his third fight under Al Haymon, having rebounded from his loss to Saunders with consecutive unanimous decisions over Carlos Galvan and Javier Franciso Maciel in March and August.
“Not to make any excuses, but it’s just a fact that I didn’t have the protection [in England] that other fighters have. I didn’t have an Al Haymon…or somebody to make sure things went right,” said Monroe, who took the Golovkin fight on “three-and-a-half week’s notice” as opposed to “nine weeks” for Charlo.
“Two months later, I got another contract, Al signed me and I’ve gotten three fights and now I’m back on the main stage. God doesn’t make mistakes. Come December 22, I have to prove that I’m one of the top middleweights in the world…I just feel blessed and elated at this opportunity.”
Charlo is trained out of the Houston-based Plex Gym by Ronnie Shields, who has told BoxingScene.com he believes Alvarez and Golovkin, among others, are “afraid” to face the 6-foot-1 boxer-puncher’s blend of speed, power and relative youth.
“I’m glad that [Monroe] is with Al [Haymon,] I’m glad that everything is good in his camp, so there won’t be any excuses,” said Charlo. “I’m going to show the world why Golovkin and others don’t really want a high risk whenever you’re fighting a Jermall Charlo.”