Jermall Charlo could have an intriguing fight lined up for him later this year.

The WBC middleweight titlist has been AWOL since a points win over Juan Macias Montiel in June 2021, but he is expected to return this summer, according to the head of Showtime Sports, Stephen Espinoza. 

If Charlo, whose twin brother, Jermell, is the undisputed junior middleweight champion, does indeed return to the ring at that time, it will likely be against an opponent of middling caliber. But the fight after that, Espinoza said, figures to be a far more “meaningful” one.

One possible opponent could be Carlos Adames of the Dominican Republic. The former 154-pound contender has seen his fortunes rise as a middleweight, with a points win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko in 2021 and third-round stoppage of Montiel last October. That Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) and Adames  (22-1, 17 KOs) share an opponent in Montiel would no doubt play a part in the promotion of their hypothetical fight.

“I do expect [Charlo] to [return], whether it’s June or early July. I think somewhere in there makes sense,” Espinoza said on The Boxing With Chris Mannix Podcast. “We’re close to finalizing the fight. Being completely candid, he has been out for two years. He had an injury and some personal issues to be sorted out. He’s anxious to get back in the ring. I think — being completely candid, 160 isn’t the deepest division. There’s very good talent at the top but there’s a gap once you get past the top names.

“I don’t think it’s fair to ask him coming off an injury and time off to take on the toughest opponent at the top of the list. It’s clearly not going to be Adames, or someone like that. But I think it’ll be a credible fight and I’d look to see a meaningful fight, maybe Adames or something like that, as the next fight before the end of the year.”