Jermell Charlo was one of the few people in boxing that wasn’t stunned when Jeison Rosario upset Julian Williams.
Philadelphia’s Williams was a 30-1 favorite to beat Rosario and had produced the biggest win of his career in his previous fight, his own upset of then-undefeated Jarrett Hurd. The largely unknown Rosario also had been dropped three times and stopped by Nathaniel Gallimore in the sixth round of their bout less than three years before he challenged Williams for the IBF, IBO and WBA 154-pound titles.
The Dominican Republic’s Rosario still stormed into the former champion’s hometown, overwhelmed Williams and changed his life by stopping Williams in the fifth round January 18 at Temple University’s Liacouras Center. That impressive victory moved Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) into position to battle Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) in a 154-pound title unification fight that’ll headline a Showtime Pay-Per-View event September 26 from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“I mean, a lot of people was surprised,” Charlo said Tuesday during a virtual press conference. “I actually wasn’t. Just knowing J-Rock is nowhere on my level, I feel, and he had a lot he needed to bounce back from. I’m not that type of fighter. I’m a dedicated fighter. My ambition is not the same as all these other boxers. You know, I fight different. I’m not here to down J-Rock. I mean, he fought. He at the top … but Rosario is a different fight. And I’ve seen so many styles in my career. I’ve been boxing since I was a young boy.”
A bigger, stronger Rosario roughed up Williams (27-2-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC), hurt him badly during the fifth round and stopped Williams while he was still standing in a main event FOX televised.
“I mean, he won,” Charlo said in response to what impressed him about Rosario’s victory. “He just won. I don’t really get into all of that, what impressed me. Nothing impressed me. You know what I’m saying? I know for a fact that I’m ready for this fight. Thank you for asking these questions, and let’s move forward.”
According to numerous Internet sports books, Houston’s Charlo is a 4-1 favorite over Rosario. Charlo, 30, and Rosario, 25, will fight for Charlo’s WBC and Williams’ IBF and WBA belts.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.