Tony Harrison still neither likes nor respects Jermell Charlo.
The former WBC super welterweight champion does give Charlo credit for finding a way to beat him in their rematch 15 months ago. Their second fight was very competitive entering the 11th round, until Charlo caught Harrison with a left hook that completely changed it.
That shot staggered Harrison and eventually sent him to the canvas just before the midway mark of the 11th round. Harrison got up, but Charlo connected with a barrage of power shots, including a left uppercut, that knocked Harrison down again about 20 seconds later.
A game Harrison reached his feet again, only to have Charlo continue an assault that made referee Jack Reiss stop the action with Harrison still standing.
The 30-year-old Harrison will fight for the first time since Charlo stopped him April 17 in Los Angeles. Detroit’s Harrison (28-3, 21 KOs) is scheduled to battle Bryant Perrella (17-3, 14 KOs), of Fort Myers, Florida, in a fight FOX will air as a main event from Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall.
Harrison recalled how he lost to Charlo during a recent appearance on “The PBC Podcast,” which streams weekly on www.premierboxingchampions.com.
“For me, it wasn’t just a get-the-win kinda thing,” Harrison told co-hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Mike Rosenthal. “It was like, ‘Look, you became world champion. Now you don’t gotta live your life on the shield no more.’ You know what I mean? … Let your hair down, and show this guy that he’s not physically stronger than you, he’s not better than you. But beat him at his game. And that was my game plan, was to beat him at his game, make the bull be the matador. And I thought I was doing an excellent job at that.”
Harrison was ahead on one scorecard, 95-94, and trailed by the same score, 96-93, on the other two cards through 10 rounds in a rematch that took place in December 2019 at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California. Houston’s Charlo (34-1, 18 KOs) scored a knockdown in the second round, yet Harrison came back to test Charlo again, almost exactly a year after he upset Charlo by unanimous decision to take the WBC 154-pound championship from him.
“I just think, for me, that I’m so comfortable fighting that it makes me lax,” Harrison said. “And that’s the uncomfortable thing. You know what I mean? Like I’m so comfortable with fighting and I’ve been doing it for so long and I’m so comfortable doing it, in the midst of a guy shooting at you with an AK-47, I’m in the street dancing because I’m comfortable in those kind of situations. You know what I mean? So, I think, you know, in a top-level fight, fighting a top-level fighter like Jermell, you know, it was more of a mental lapse, just [not] being solid the whole way through. But like the shot he hit me with, though, it wasn’t like I was even playing around. He just caught me with a shot that I didn’t see. It was crazy. It wasn’t even like one of his hardest shots of the fight. Because he hit me harder during the fight. It was just a shot that I really never saw coming. You know what I’m saying?
“And he landed it at the right time. Didn’t put a lot on it. Didn’t try to trigger the shot like crazy. But you know what I’m saying? He hit me with a good shot and they stopped the fight. But it just showed that the bull really ain’t the bull like that. You know what I’m saying? You seen him in the [Jeison] Rosario fight box really well, which he always was a pretty decent boxer. So, I mean, back to that, nah, he’s not really the tough man kinda guy, trying to walk everybody down, trying to stop everybody like that. But he can do it another way. And he’s using his attributes. You know what I’m saying? And kudos to him. Wherever his career goes from here, kudos to him.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.