Jermall Charlo undoubtedly hurt Juan Macias Montiel at least three times during their 12-round middleweight title fight Saturday night.
Charlo made Montiel stumble with a right hand early in the fifth round. He rocked the determined Mexican contender with another right hand early in the sixth round and wobbled Montiel with a third right hand that made Montiel hold him just before that round ended.
An appreciative Charlo commended Montiel (22-5-2, 22 KOs) for his admirable performance and for pushing the WBC 160-pound champion more than virtually everyone expected. When a videographer suggested Montiel buzzed Charlo in the eighth round, however, Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) quickly clarified that he was not hurt at any point in a 12-round main event Showtime televised from Toyota Center in Houston, Charlo’s hometown.
“I never got buzzed, yo,” Charlo said during his post-fight press conference. “Stop that! I didn’t get buzzed. I just got a little like, I had to make adjustments. I had to, you know, change. I keep getting clash of the heads. Like, I had to sit back. I was headed in too far and I was over my leg and my right leg, I was a little bit over. I made my adjustments, I sat back a little bit, started shooting the jab and we finished the fight.
“Like, you don’t have to knock everybody out to make the best fights, you know? It don’t have to be a knockout. If I’d have knocked him out, then they wouldn’t have gave me credit. They’d be like, ‘Yo, yo, yo, oh, you fought somebody dah, dah, dah.’ But I had a warrior in there tonight and I appreciate him fighting me with everything he got. He challenged me. I stood up to the challenge.”
The aforementioned videographer seemingly referred to a sequence when a left uppercut and follow-up straight left by Montiel made Charlo take a couple steps backward with just over 50 seconds to go in the eighth round. Charlo reset his feet, slipped multiple punches from Montiel and began throwing hard shots back at Montiel a few seconds later, though.
Montiel mounted a comeback in that action-packed eighth round, when Charlo suffered the first cut of his professional career, a small laceration across his right eyebrow. Swelling surrounded Charlo’s right eye after he suffered that cut, which Charlo said was caused by a head-butt.
Charlo still maintained a commanding lead on the scorecards. Judge Chris Tellez scored all 12 rounds for Charlo (120-108), whereas Steve Morrow scored 11 rounds for Charlo (119-109) and Nathan Palmer credited the two-division champion for winning 10 rounds (118-109).
Nevertheless, the 27-year-old Montiel made a statement by going the distance with Charlo, who went off as a 30-1 favorite versus the WBC’s fourth-ranked contender.
“He was a true warrior tonight,” Charlo said. “I take nothing away from Montiel. He’s a great fighter, awesome game plan, very, very awkward. … I dug deep, he dug deep, and we had a fight. You know, it was a fight broke out tonight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.