NEW YORK – As much as Jermall Charlo wants to prove himself against Canelo Alvarez, the WBC middleweight champion couldn’t justify criticizing Alvarez.
Charlo respects Alvarez for moving up two weight classes to challenge WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.
“He’s doing exactly what a lot of fighters would wanna do,” Charlo told BoxingScene.com following a press conference Thursday in Manhattan. “You know, if you ever looked at boxing and wanted to be that guy, you have to move up divisions and show people, ‘I’m the best in every division.’ And he’s doing a good job of it. His team is marketing him real well. He’s having championship fights outside of his weight division. Hey, hats off to him. You cannot hate on a person who’s doing such a thing, and so well. I have nothing bad to say bad about him. Just if you give me the opportunity, I will [fight Alvarez].”
Houston’s Charlo was the WBC’s mandatory challenger for Alvarez when Alvarez held that sanctioning organization’s middleweight title.
Instead of ordering Alvarez to make that mandatory defense, the WBC oddly elevated Alvarez to the unprecedented status of franchise champion. In a corresponding move, the WBC also promoted Charlo from its interim middleweight champion to world middleweight champion.
Charlo (29-0, 21 KOs) made the first defense of that WBC world middleweight title June 29. He beat Brandon Adams (21-3, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision that night in a 12-rounder at NRG Arena in Houston.
The former IBF junior middleweight champion is scheduled to defend it a second time December 7. Charlo is set to square off against Irish veteran Dennis Hogan (28-2-1, 7 KOs) in a main event Showtime will televise from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Charlo, 29, doesn’t know whether Alvarez ever will return to the middleweight division now that he has moved up 15 pounds to compete at light heavyweight. Whatever happens thereafter, Charlo expects the Mexican superstar to make a successful debut at the 175-pound limit November 2 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (DAZN).
“I think he will beat Kovalev,” Charlo said. “He’s younger, hungrier and the situation is [made] for him. Kovalev is a strong fighter, a big guy, tall and rangy. So, styles make matchups. Canelo’s gonna come straight to him and Kovalev is gonna have to box. Canelo’s kinda faster than [Andre] Ward, so his size will make the difference. We’ll get the chance to see what Kovalev will do. Canelo’s the favorite because the situation is for him. You’ve gotta knock him out.”
Though the smaller man, Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) is listed by most sports books as a 4-1 favorite over Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.