By Keith Idec
Matt Korobov has received just the type of opportunity he has sought the past couple years.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Korobov has agreed to replace Willie Monroe Jr. as Jermall Charlo’s opponent on Saturday night in Brooklyn. BoxingScene first reported Saturday that Korobov was the probable replacement for Monroe if the WBC ruled that Monroe couldn’t challenge Charlo for its interim middleweight title due to a recent performance-enhancing drug test.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman revealed through his Twitter account late Saturday afternoon that there was an adverse finding in one of the tests administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. VADA oversees all testing for the WBC’s “Clean Boxing Program,” a requirement for all WBC champions and contenders ranked by the Mexico City-based sanctioning organization.
The WBC announced Monday morning that it wouldn’t sanction a bout between Monroe and Charlo.
"I was well prepared for Willie Monroe, who is a southpaw, so there won't be that much difference facing Korobov,'' said Charlo. "There is a size difference. He's taller than Monroe, but I'll just have to adjust my game plan. The best fighters in the world are the ones who are able to make the best adjustments. Beating Korobov is going to make the victory that much sweeter due to this adversity. That means the celebration is going to be sweeter as well. He was fighting on the undercard, so he's prepared. But now fighting for the title in the top spot is going to make him fight harder. I love it. He's a much better opponent on paper than Willie Monroe Jr.''
The Charlo-Korobov bout is scheduled to headline the inaugural telecast of the new joint venture between Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and FOX.
Korobov (28-1, 14 KOs) was set to box Colombia’s Juan DeAngel (21-9-1, 19 KOs) in an eight-round bout on the non-televised portion of the Charlo-Monroe undercard.
The contracted weight for the Korobov-DeAngel fight was 162 pounds, just two over the middleweight maximum. That should enable Korobov to make weight comfortably, despite that he has accepted a very difficult fight on less than one week’s notice.
"I was training to fight on this card so I am physically and mentally ready to fight,'' said Korobov. "It doesn't matter that I am taking this fight on a week's notice because I have been preparing for this moment my entire life. I will make a few adjustments for Charlo and make the most of this opportunity. Don't miss it. Make sure you tune-in to FOX for a great fight.''
Korobov, like Monroe, is a southpaw, thus a sensible replacement considering Charlo has spent his entire training camp sparring against left-handed opponents.
Houston’s Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) won a coin flip against his twin brother, Jermell, to take main-event status for next Saturday’s show during an October press conference at Barclays Center. Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) will defend his WBC super welterweight title against Detroit’s Tony Harrison (27-2, 21 KOs) in the 12-round, co-featured fight.
FOX’s three-bout broadcast also will include a 10-round heavyweight bout in which Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs), of Eastvale, California, will meet Miami’s Carlos Negron (20-1, 16 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.