Jermell Charlo chases greatness with rare ‘leapfrog’ challenge to Canelo Alvarez


Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo face-off following the Los Angeles presser for their anticipated September 30 showdown. Photo by Esther Lin / Showtime

BEVERLY HILLS, California – Jermell Charlo and his twin brother Jermall have reputations for having fiery, antagonistic temperaments at their media events, but the undisputed junior middleweight champ was thankful and respectful at the kick-off press conference for his September 30 showdown with Canelo Alvarez in New York City on Tuesday, and the 33-year-old Houston native kept the same energy for the Los Angeles-area presser on Wednesday.

“When I got the call for this fight, there was nothing I could say other than ‘let’s go,’” Charlo said at his turn behind the podium at The Beverly Hilton. “My whole career has kind of been all about chasing Canelo. He’s been the top guy for a long time. The fight has presented itself now and I just have to get in there, do my job and be the best that I can be.

“After September 30, people are gonna appreciate my skills and what I’ve been doing for so long, ever since I was a kid. With every fight, I come to put on a show, and I’m dangerous the whole fight. I want to be known as great.”

If Charlo beats the Mexican superstar, he’ll get his wish. Charlo is skipping the middleweight division to challenge the reigning undisputed super middleweight champion. It’s very rare for a reigning world titleholder to leapfrog an entire division and defeat a sitting world titleholder in a heavier weight class. Roy Jones Jr. was the last to do it, 20 years ago, when he outpointed John Ruiz for the WBA heavyweight title as the reigning light heavyweight champ.

It’s even more rare for an undisputed champion to leapfrog a weight class to beat a heavier undisputed champion. Henry Armstrong did 85 years ago (way back in the days of only eight weight classes) when he outpointed welterweight champ Barney Ross as the reigning featherweight champ.

That’s boxing history and all-time great company if Charlo can get the job done against Canelo in their Showtime PPV main event from T-Mobile Arena.

Ten world title belts were on display during the Canelo-Charlo press conference but only Alvarez’s five 168-pound titles will be on the line on Sept. 30. Photo by Esther Lin / Showtime

The Texan is the underdog, but more than a few fans and insiders give him a shot to pull the upset given Alvarez’s recent ring form. The 33-year-old veteran looked pedestrian scoring unanimous decision victories over Gennadiy Golovkin and John Ryder following his points loss to Dmitry Bivol last May. Many believe Alvarez is past his peak and may be ripe for the taking.

“We’ll see if it’s true that I’ve lost a step,” Alvarez said when press conference host Brian Custer brought up popular opinion.

“We’ll see. I understand what the people said, and I agree. I didn’t look my best in my last two fights, but I know why and I’m ready for this fight. We’ll see what happens. We’re going to see something different.

“I always say that outside of the ring, I look like I’m an easy opponent. But when fighters step in the ring with me, it’s completely different. It’s not the same watching me from outside the ring as it is actually being inside the ring with me. I’m a different guy.

“I’m going to bring my best like always. I’ll bring my skills and my experience into the ring. I’m just going to do my best and that’s it.”

Charlo says he’s up for the challenge.

“He’s gonna find out that I’m the big Charlo. I am what I say I am. Canelo will see that I pack good punching-power, that I have good lateral movement and that I’m a ring general, just like he is. He’ll see that it won’t be a walk in the park. He says he’s gonna be better in this fight, and it’s the same thing for me.

“I’m gonna bring that Texas heat. I’m gonna show up and show out. I’m gonna have fun and do what I do. This is what I love to do. I’m gonna represent the culture and put on a show.”


The cover of the June-July 2023 Summer Special was painted by Richard Slone.




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