LAS VEGAS – Jermell Charlo’s calm, measured, respectful approach to the biggest fight week of his life and this entire promotion has been such a departure from his norm that it has puzzled people that typically deal with the undisputed junior middleweight champion in such settings.
Where is the combustible, combative Charlo that has utilized that gigantic chip on his shoulder to become one of the best boxers, pound-for-pound, in the world? The answer to that question, according to Jermell Charlo, is directly tied to the whereabouts of his twin brother, Jermall, who has neither seen nor spoken to Jermell Charlo throughout his recently completed training camp for his showdown with Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
The Charlo twins have essentially taken a break from their admittedly complex relationship since July 28, the day of the weigh-in for the Terence Crawford-Errol Spence Jr. welterweight title unification fight at T-Mobile Arena. Caleb Plant smacked Jermall Charlo in the face that afternoon around the same time Jermall Charlo’s wife and Jermell Charlo’s girlfriend got into a physical altercation outside of T-Mobile Arena.
Two months later, Jermell Charlo hasn’t displayed the trademark edge that has helped make him an elite-level fighter. The Houston native has shown the utmost respect to Alvarez, but he assured anyone that has criticized his approach to this Showtime Pay-Per-View main event that he still has the mental makeup to produce what would be considered a legacy-changing victory.
“This is the same mindset I always have,” Jermell Charlo told a group of reporters after a press conference Wednesday at MGM Grand. “They say I’m calm, cool and collected, but I’m really fired up. I don’t know why they [say that]. You know, I guess I can say not having my rowdy-ass brother around me every [day] – my brother ain’t been in camp. Ain’t seen him, talked to him, nothing, throughout this whole camp.
“I think that might’ve, you know, slowed me down as far as how rational I can be. You know, when he getting ready for a fight, I’m loud and obnoxious and energy, intoxicated, whatever we wanna call it, and having a good time waiting on him to fight. And I feel like at this moment, it’s my turn. Just don’t got that noise in my head.”
Jermall Charlo is in Las Vegas and, as usual, is expected to sit ringside for his brother’s fight for Alvarez’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles. The unbeaten WBC middleweight champion hasn’t attended any of the fight week events at MGM Grand, however, and Jermell Charlo admitted he has somewhat missed having his twin brother by his side.
“I did, maybe a little bit,” Jermell Charlo said. “It ain’t affecting me. I still got a good team. I still got my friends, people I grew up with and all of this. You know, like I don’t think – I have no excuses. You know, and my brother’s getting his life together and whatever he gotta do to be the best in boxing. So, I’m my brother’s keeper always.”
Jermall Charlo hasn’t fought since June 2021, when he beat Mexican contender Juan Macias Montiel unanimously in a 12-round, 160-pound title fight that was more difficult than anticipated for the two-division champion. Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) was supposed to challenge Alvarez on Saturday night, but Jermell Charlo happily replaced him when it became clear Jermall Charlo wouldn’t be ready to battle boxing’s biggest star in the first fight of Alvarez’s new three-bout agreement with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
Jermall Charlo recently revealed that he is working with retired legend Roy Jones Jr., but the former IBF junior middleweight champ’s return to the ring still hasn’t been scheduled.
Meanwhile, Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) has repeatedly expressed gratitude toward Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) for giving him this life-changing chance. He wholeheartedly disagreed with critics that think, though, that he has surprisingly shown his favored opponent too much respect in the three months since their fight was announced.
“Man, I don’t know what they talkin’ about,” Jermell Charlo said. “My demeanor, this is really me. I’m more than ready for a fight. I turn it up, turn it off when I need to. And when I get in the ring it’s about protecting yourself and being vicious at every moment and every step of the 12 rounds, 36 minutes.”
While ready to become very violent Saturday night, Charlo believes he is otherwise misunderstood.
“I’m just a calm person, for real,” Jermell Charlo said. “I always been a calm person. I don’t know what y’all be talkin’ about. Maybe just my facial expressions and all of that kinda create that like, you know, that y’all be motherf----- overtalkin’ me. Now y’all listening to me, so I’m calm. When you start telling me all this other crazy sh!t, then I wanna defend myself. I haven’t been in a position to have to vocally defend me.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.