By Jake Donovan
Heading into his first fight with Tony Harrison last December, Jermell Charlo hoped that his next adventure would be a three-belt unification clash with Jarrett Hurd.
Those plans went up in flames the moment the judges’ scorecards were read that night in Brooklyn, handing the super welterweight his first career loss in a fight many felt should have went the other way.
Further pushing back that goal is Hurd suffering his own first defeat, though in much more decisive fashion as he was upended by Julian Williams in a 12-round war last weekend in Fairfax, Va.
The result of last Saturday’s Fight of the Year contender further pushes back unification plans in the super welterweight division, as Hurd (23-1, 16KOs) is already seeking to exercise a rematch clause to immediately run it back with Williams (27-1-1, 16KOs). It’s perhaps for the best, as Charlo has been locked in his own brand of revenge.
“I’m driven, I’m just ready,” Charlo (31-1, 15KOs) told BoxingScene.com of his upcoming rematch with Harrison, which headlines a June 23 Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox primetime telecast live from Las Vegas. “This fight gives me a chance to avenge that loss, but it’s only personal in that every fight is personal for me.
“Whatever happened (last December), I’m now coming in as the challenger. He’s the one who has to defend his title.”
The fight will mark the first time since May ’16 where Charlo enters the ring in pursuit of a title rather than defending one. He made history with a come-from-behind knockout win over John Jackson to win a portion of the 154-pound crown, marking the first time in history that twin brothers simultaneously reigned as titlists in the same weight division as Jermall—was still an unbeaten super middleweight title claimant at the time.
Three successful defenses followed for Jermell while his brother would move on to welterweight. The two appeared on the same card last December—the first time they shared a bill since their aforementioned history making event in May 2016—but it ended with Jermell suffering a controversial loss and Jermall surviving a stiff challenge from Matt Korobov in an interim middleweight title fight.
The two will now fight six days apart, headlining their own shows in separate states and on separate platforms. Jermall is afforded a homecoming, headlining a June 29 edition of Showtime Championship Boxing versus Brandon Adams.
Jermell is all but guaranteed to be a ringside fixture, just a matter of whether as a two-time super welterweight titlist, or failing to trump Harrison (28-2, 21KOs) once again. Plenty of motivation was there to be found from their intense press conference last week in Los Angeles to formally announce the event.
But then, there was never any shortage of fuel to drive him in training camp.
“It was cool, all that stuff at the press conference,” laughs Charlo, who didn’t take any of it as personal as his divisional rival suggests. “I was already motivated. If anything, it just lit another fire in me. Now I’m carrying two torches into the ring, not just one.
“All that extra stuff that went down, I’m smart enough to tune it out.”
The only thing he won’t block are the memories of what helped him arrive at the top of the division, where he confidently believes he will return in June.
“I’m headlining this card, it’s big to me,” notes Charlo, who has remained a supporting player for most of his primetime appearances. “But it doesn’t add any pressure. It reminds me where I belong, and once I get my title back I’m here to stay.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox