Jermell Charlo believes beating Canelo Alvarez would finally earn him the respect that the undisputed 154-pound champion claims he has been denied during his successful 15-year professional career.
Charlo, 33, became boxing’s fully unified champion in his division when he knocked out Brian Castano during the 10th round of their rematch in May 2022 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The Houston native has since been listed among the sport’s top 10 pound-for-pound by BoxingScene.com, ESPN.com and The Ring magazine.
The first fully unified 154-pound champion of the four-belt era still feels underappreciated by fans and media as Charlo prepares to challenge Alvarez for the Mexican icon’s four super middleweight titles September 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. He explained to Showtime’s Brian Custer during a recent episode of his “The Last Stand” podcast how upsetting Alvarez would forever alter the boxing public’s perception of him.
“He’s one of the best in the boxing game right now, amongst other people,” Charlo said. “But I feel like I’ve always been underrated. I never got the love. I have the achievements. I have all of that, but I didn’t get the love that I deserve, I think possibly because I’m a twin and [Jermall] didn’t accomplish some of the things that I accomplished. So, they always compared that and that kinda messed it up for me a little bit. But I don’t feel like I’m a underground artist, you know? I’m a mainstream artist.”
Jermall Charlo remains undefeated (32-0, 22 KOs) and still holds the WBC middleweight title. Jermell’s twin brother has not fought in more than two years, though, not since Jermall Charlo defeated Mexico’s Juan Macias Montiel (23-6-2, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round, 160-pound championship bout in June 2021 at Toyota Center in Houston.
Alvarez thought he would face Jermall Charlo in the first fight of his three-bout agreement with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. Jermell Charlo secured the highest-profile assignment of his career once it became clear Jermall Charlo couldn’t be ready in time to battle Alvarez in this Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) will end a 16-month layoff and make his debut in the 168-pound division when he squares off against Alvarez, a four-weight world champion who was considered the sport’s pound-for-pound king in recent years. Charlo also will fight for the first time September 30 since he fractured two bones in his left hand during a sparring session late last December.
Charlo was supposed to defend his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 154-pound championships against Australia’s Tim Tszyu (23-0, 17 KOs) on January 28 at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas. Their postponed mandated fight for Charlo’s WBO belt was never rescheduled because Charlo understandably accepted a more lucrative purse to face Alvarez.
Guadalajara’s Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs), boxing’s undisputed super middleweight champion, is 7-0 and has recorded four knockouts in fights contested at the 168-pound limit.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.