Jermall Charlo will end a 29-month layoff when he returns to the ring on Nov. 25 to take on Jose Benavidez Jr.
Although Charlo is the WBC middleweight champion, the fight will be a 10-round non-title tilt and serve as the co-feature to the Showtime pay-per-view event headlined by super middleweights David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade.
The 33-year-old Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) has been battling personal issues and mental health since he last fought and scored a unanimous decision win against Juan Macias Montiel on June 19, 2021.
“It’s been a long road to this point, but only the strong survive and I’m built different,” Charlo said in a statement announcing his comeback fight.
“I’m looking forward to reminding everyone that there is a reason why Jermall Charlo is an undefeated world champion and one of the best fighters today pound-for-pound. This is the next chapter of my life and it’s going to be my best, so I want all my fans to tune in on November 25, because I’m going to light up Las Vegas.”
A sizable opportunity passed by Charlo while he was on the sidelines.
Long considered a frontrunner to clash with Canelo Alvarez, Charlo’s twin brother Jermell was instead tagged in to jump up two weight classes to fight Alvarez because Jermall was not fit to fight.
Jermall was in attendance throughout the fight week, and he got into an altercation with Caleb Plant.
Charlo has a 7-0 record since moving to middleweight in 2017.
The 15-year professional from Houston has victories against the likes of Sergey Derevyanchenko, Julian Williams, Austin Trout, and Cornelius Bundrage.
Beating Benavidez (28-2-1, 19 KOs) won’t be so much of a surefire bet for Charlo considering the turbulent last two and a half years he’s endured.
“I’ve been working hard and I feel strong and ready to take him out,” said Benavidez.
Benavidez is 1-2-1 in his last four fights dating back to 2018. The losses have come against Terence Crawford at 147 pounds and Danny Garcia at 154 pounds.
The 31-year-old Benavidez made his middleweight debut in August, scoring a fifth-round TKO win against journeyman Sladan Janjanin.
“I’ve been wanting to fight Charlo for a while. I’m going to come that night and show him what I’m about,” Benavidez. “But I’m not here trying to use words. I don’t need to say anything. I’m going to let my fists do the talking in the ring on November 25.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.