Derrick James doesn’t understand why Jermell Charlo isn’t on every pound-for-pound list by now.

Charlo’s hand injury has kept him out of the ring for the past 16 months, but he became boxing’s first fully unified 154-pound by knocking out Brian Castano in the 10th round of his last fight in May 2022. The 33-year-old Houston native also avenged his lone loss to Tony Harrison and his 12-round split draw with Castano by knocking them out in the only rematches of his 15-year professional career.

If he upsets Canelo Alvarez in their 12-round, 168-pound championship match September 30, James doesn’t see how even those that haven’t given Charlo what his trainer considers proper credit to this point could deny acknowledging his greatness.

“I can see Jermell making history,” James told Premier Boxing Champions’ Ray Flores during Charlo’s open workout Monday afternoon in Houston. “And he would have to be considered one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time because most of the people don’t even have him rated in their pound-for-pound ratings. So, to be a super middleweight undisputed champ and a light middleweight undisputed champ at the same time, [that is] two amazing feats at the same time.”

Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) will challenge Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) for the Mexican legend’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles in a Showtime Pay-Per-View main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (8 p.m. EDT; 5 p.m. PDT; $84.99). Most sportsbooks have established Alvarez as a 4-1 favorite, mostly because Charlo has moved up two weight classes, 14 pounds altogether, to face the former pound-for-pound king. currently lists Alvarez fifth on its pound-for-pound list, one spot atop the sixth-ranked Charlo. and The Ring magazine both have Alvarez ranked fourth, yet neither outlet lists the comparatively inactive Charlo among its top 10 pound-for-pound.  

Alvarez has won world titles in four weight classes and has lost only a 12-round unanimous decision to unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) over the past 10 years.

Charlo has fought at or near the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds for the past 12 years. If he beats Alvarez, Charlo will become just the second male boxer to be crowned an undisputed champion in a second weight class during the four-belt era.

Terence Crawford became the only male champion to accomplish that feat when he stopped Errol Spence Jr. in the ninth round of their welterweight title unification fight July 29 at T-Mobile Arena. Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) was the undisputed junior welterweight champion prior to beginning his reign as a welterweight champ five years ago.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.