Burgeoning stars Jermall and Jermell Charlo positioned for greatness

Combat columnist
Yahoo Sports
Jermall (L) and Jermell Charlo headline Saturday’s PBC card on Fox. (Getty Images)
Jermall (L) and Jermell Charlo headline Saturday’s PBC card on Fox. (Getty Images)

The same question was put to both Jermall and Jermell Charlo, albeit at different times when they weren’t together: Would the late change of opponents, from Willie Monroe Jr. to Matt Korobov, be a problem for Jermall on Saturday when he defends his interim WBC middleweight title on Fox at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn?

Jermell: “He’s a grown man and a professional. Changing an opponent shouldn’t be a problem. It sucks to spend a lot of time preparing for someone and then it changes up, but it’s boxing. That happens in boxing and you have to accept that.”

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About 27 hours later, it was Jermall’s turn to answer.

Jermall: I’m a grown man, a professional, and a world champion. You have to change the workflow a little bit, but it shouldn’t be a problem. If you are around boxing for any length of time, you accept that this is boxing and it happens occasionally.”

Yes, they’re twins and yes, they’re champions and yes, they’re burgeoning stars. It’s no coincidence that they’re headlining as Premier Boxing Champions makes its debut on Fox. There are major fights for them on the horizon and the PBC wants to use the power of network television to increase their visibility.

The Charlos flipped a coin to see who would be the main event and who would be the co-feature. Jermall won, and was originally slated to face Monroe. Monroe, though, was pulled from the card with elevated testosterone levels and replaced by Korobov.

Jermell, who is eyeing a major unification bout against IBF-WBA champion Jarret Hurd next year, will defend his WBC super welterweight belt against Tony Harrison.

They’ve combined to win all 58 of their bouts, 36 of them by knockout. Jermall is 27-0 with 21 knockouts while Jermell is 31-0 with 15 KOs.

Their styles are similar, but Jermell’s punching power has begun to catch up to his brother’s and he’s finishing at a much higher rate, even as his level of opposition improves.

Jermell had scored four consecutive stoppages — in the sixth, eighth, sixth and first rounds, respectively — until winning a decision in his last outing over Austin Trout, probably the toughest opponent of his career. In his five fights prior to this recent streak, he had four decisions and one knockout.

“Putting in the work and maturing and coming into my own,” Jermell said of his recent power surge. In Harrison, he’s facing a highly skilled opponent who has won 27 of 29 fights. Harrison, though, has been stopped in both of his losses, by Willie Nelson in the ninth in 2015 and by Hurd in the ninth last year.

A stoppage on network television would be a statement for Charlo, who jumped into the ring to challenge Hurd after Hurd scored a win on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury undercard.

Jermall Charlo teases Jarrett Hurd (R) after his third round KO of Jason Welborn during the WBA-IBF-IBO junior middleweight championship on Dec. 1, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Jermall Charlo teases Jarrett Hurd (R) after his third round KO of Jason Welborn during the WBA-IBF-IBO junior middleweight championship on Dec. 1, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Harry How/Getty Images)

“Fighting on HBO and Showtime, people had to pay money to watch them and a lot of people who love boxing, they didn’t have those channels,” Jermell said. “Boxing made those channels popular, but the people who saw them weren’t the same. But now, we’re on the biggest channel and you don’t have to pay; you just have to tune in and there we are. It’s an opportunity to showcase our skills.

“For me personally, I love where I am. I believe in myself and I believe in my power. I have been hitting people and hurting them since I was 16 years old. This fight is an opportunity for me to show people who maybe didn’t know my story what I am all about.”

His brother stands on the precipice of a massive fight. Former champion Gennady Golovkin remains one of the biggest names in the sport, and has reportedly negotiated with the PBC for a new deal. The WBC recently ordered a Jermall Charlo-Golovkin bout for its title.

But Golovkin isn’t Jermall’s only option. Canelo Alvarez won the super middleweight title on Saturday in New York, and after that fight, promoter Oscar De La Hoya said all options are on the table. He didn’t rule out an Alvarez-Charlo fight simply because Charlo is with the PBC and De La Hoya doesn’t get along with PBC creator Al Haymon. De La Hoya noted that Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez has done many deals with Haymon over the years.

In addition, IBF champion Danny Jacobs is a free agent and while the expectation is he’ll sign with DAZN if he gets a fight with Alvarez on May 4, if he doesn’t, he’ll be available and the PBC is making a push for his services.

So Jermall, who has won three in a row by finish and five of his last six, needs a win over Korobov to position himself for what could be a mega-bout in the near future.

“It’s a good time to be in this division,” Jermall said. “Golovkin and Alvarez are two of the most attractive fighters in boxing and they’re in my division. There’s a lot going on, so this is a big fight for me. I have the opportunity [Saturday] to show the world the kind of champion I am, the type of fighter I am.”

The beauty of boxing on network television is that with the right fights, a star could be made overnight. In the case of the Charlo brothers, though, the possibility and even the probability exists that it will be two stars instead of one.

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