By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jermell Charlo cannot figure out why he is obligated to defend his title against Erickson Lubin.
The unbeaten 154-pound champion from Houston made a mandatory defense of his WBC super welterweight title when he knocked out Charles Hatley viciously in his last fight. And as far as Charlo can tell, the 21-year-old Lubin doesn’t deserve a title shot based on what he has accomplished during the first 3½ years of his pro career.
Regardless, Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) will make a second mandatory defense of his title in less than six months when he battles Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) on October 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Showtime).
“You’ve got a young guy, 21 years old, 18 fights,” Charlo told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Wednesday at Barclays Center. “In my heart, I don’t believe that this fight should be a fight that he deserves at this moment because when I was 25, I was barely getting a chance to fight for a world title. I didn’t win my first world title until I was 26. So how the f*** is this kid getting an opportunity like this? And then, I look over it and I’m asking the same question about myself. ‘How did this kid get this opportunity to face someone like myself?’ ”
The 27-year-old Charlo would much rather face Miguel Cotto next in what would be a more profitable fight. Yet here he is, preparing to defend his title against a powerful prodigy in what many boxing experts consider a 50-50 fight.
“It’s been rough on my mind,” Charlo said. “I’m thinking, ‘Hey, why is this motherf***er fighting me? I should be fighting Cotto.’ I’m not just a businessman. I’m a fighter as well, so sometimes I have to jump back into my fighter mode and say, ‘F*** everybody and let’s beat everybody up.’ Or I can jump in and say, ‘I’m a businessman as well. I’ve got one career, one life, one destiny, one legacy, and I have to continue to be the head of that.’ They’ve got guys I could fight, but it just takes time. Other guys have to fight each other to get in place to fight me. And I feel like it should’ve been more of tournament mode to get a chance to fight me.
“After I already knocked out the mandatory, they said, ‘Since you won a vacant title, you have to fight two mandatories.’ This is my second mandatory. So I’ve gotta respect that before I can actually call shots. I really don’t like that, though. I feel like I’m Jermell Charlo, I fought a lot of fighters, I have a great resume in the boxing world. Me and my brother has been doing a hell of a job training and keeping up with our name. And I believe right now we should be fighting guys – if you don’t have a name, you shouldn’t even be in the ring with me. I feel like I’m a name and Lubin is not.”
Charlo-Lubin is one of three 154-pound title fights Showtime will air as part of a tripleheader next month.
Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) is scheduled to defend his WBA super world super welterweight title against Cleveland’s Terrell Gashau (20-0, 9 KOs) in the main event. In the third televised title fight that night, Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs), of Accokeek, Maryland, is set to defend his IBF junior middleweight title for the first time against onetime WBA champion Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs), of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.