Sampson Lewkowicz is well aware of how most of the boxing public perceives the Jermall Charlo-Juan Macias Montiel fight.
Charlo, the WBC 160-pound champion, is perhaps boxing’s best middleweight. Montiel was knocked out in the second round by Jaime Munguia and fought to a 10-round split draw with Huge Centeno Jr., an opponent Charlo knocked out in the second round.
Lewkowicz, who promotes Mexico’s Montiel (22-4-2, 22 KOs), is nevertheless confident that his powerful fighter can pull off what would be considered a huge upset June 19 at Toyota Center in Houston, Charlo’s hometown. The William Hill sports book lists Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) as a 33-1 favorite, but Lewkowicz reminded reporters during a virtual press conference Wednesday that one of his fighters knocked off a 30-1 favorite just 16 months ago in a 154-pound title fight.
“Well, don’t go too far,” Lewkowicz said. “My fighters, they come to fight. I proved it several times, like with Jeison Rosario, that nobody [was] giving a shot against [Julian] Williams. He knocked him out [in the fifth round]. And let me tell you about the loss, when [Montiel] fought Munguia. He fought at 147 pounds. It was not his weight division. He went down because he wasn’t eating, and he lost by knockout. I can tell you that I will not be surprised if Juanito Montiel knocks out Charlo. I can almost assure you that he will have a hard time. It’ll be the toughest fight of his career.”
Charlo dismissed Lewkowicz’s prediction as “crazy” talk moments later.
“It’s gonna be fireworks,” Charlo said. “You hear Sampson talking. Sampson, you crazy as hell! You think he gonna knock me out – you crazy as hell!”
Lewkowicz interjected to remind Charlo that he “loves him anyway.”
“Yeah, I love you, too, but you crazy as hell,” Charlo replied. “Even your fighter sitting there looking like you crazy as hell! It’s gonna be a fight, you know? I come to fight. I come to put on a good show in front of my city, in front of Houston. Y’all get ready. Tune in. Hey, I put my life on it. You know what I’m saying? It’s going down, all the way down. And I’ll be damned if I let Montiel take any advantages over me.”
The 31-year-old Charlo’s chin has been one of his greatest assets during a 12-year pro career in which he has held world titles in the junior middleweight and middleweight divisions. The heavy-handed Montiel has only won professional bouts by knockout, though, and owns a 79-percent knockout ratio.
The Charlo-Montiel match will headline Showtime’s tripleheader a week from Saturday night.
The premium cable network’s three-bout broadcast also will showcase lightweight contender Isaac Cruz (21-1-1, 15 KOs), who will face another Mexico City native in former WBC super featherweight champion Francisco Vargas (27-2-2, 19 KOs). In Showtime’s opener, former WBO junior featherweight champ Angelo Leo (20-1, 9 KOs), of Albuquerque, New Mexico, will meet Mexican southpaw Aaron Alameda (25-1, 13 KOs) in another 10-rounder.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.