In the biggest boxing event of the pandemic era thus far, Showtime Boxing gave us a unique pay-per-view show, with both Charlo brothers headlining their own mini-card. While each had already proven their tenacity and tremendous physical gifts, their recent opposition left something to be desired. So this was an opportunity to demonstrate to fight fans that their skills and talent do in fact stack up against the highest caliber opponents and are truly world-class.
No one could question the quality of the match-ups and Jermall was the first brother to impress as he convincingly defeated a game Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-3) in a rousing affair. It was then Jermell’s turn to demonstrate Charlo superiority, as he took on Jeison Rosario (20-2-1) to unify three junior middleweight belts. Rosario had pulled off a shocker back in January when he viciously stopped unified champion Julian Williams and he was looking to upset the applecart once more.
But Jermell wasn’t about to let that happen on the biggest stage of his career to date. While he boxed more conservatively against the rugged and aggressive Rosario, which resulted in a less exciting contest compared to his brother’s, he did what he had to do to get the win. And in the end, he provided a memorable, if highly unusual, knockout.
Jermell immediately asserted himself over his opponent in the opening round. After just missing a winging right that pushed Rosario back, Charlo followed with a glancing left hook that disrupted Rosario’s equilibrium and sent him to the canvas. But if anyone thought this was going to be another dominant early stoppage for Charlo, they were clearly mistaken. Rosario appeared unhurt as he took the referee’s count on steady legs and proceeded to force a highly competitive fight because of his relentless pressure, high offensive output, and thudding body blows.
Instead of Charlo capitalizing on the knockdown by pressing his advantage, it was Rosario who was more wiling to let his hands go and force the action, which allowed him to sweep the next three rounds on all three judges’ scorecards.
But despite losing the rounds, Jermell appeared content to let Rosario carry the fight, which gave him the opportunity to display his under-appreciated boxing skills. Charlo used footwork and a stiff jab to stay on the outside, and he clinched on the inside when he wanted to stifle Rosario’s attack. But Charlo was still being overly judicious with his punch count, which allowed Rosario to stay active and maintain control of the fight.
But all that changed abruptly in round six. With seconds remaining in the round, Charlo countered a Rosario jab with a sharp left hook followed by a straight right that sent Rosario to a knee. Although he arose immediately, Rosario was definitely shook this time. Lucky for him, the round ended and he was spared from Charlo’s ruthless finishing ability.
Rosario used the seventh round to recover, though to his credit, he kept pressing forward in hopes of pulling off another upset victory. Unfortunately for him, those hopes were shattered early in round eight courtesy of a spearing jab to the body that was set up by a jab to the head.
Although undoubtedly a hard punch, the reaction from the Dominican seemed disproportional to the force of the blow. He flew backward and crashed to the canvas, where he appeared to be convulsing and groaning in agony, an alarming sight to behold. He attempted to rise, but his body wouldn’t cooperate and the ref wisely waved it off. Thankfully, he was able to get up moments later on his own power and seemed to be responding well during the post-fight scrum.
“I did good. Like I said earlier, I ultilized my gameplan, I listened to my coach, and did everything he told me to do,” said Charlo at the post-fight press conference. “The sky was the limit for me. I’m excited about what I’ve done. I know I got more work to do and more learning to do. Rosario was a tough opponent for anybody; he will get in there and dominate anybody. So I will figure out what we do next but tonight was amazing.”
Was Rosario’s relentless pressure ever a cause for concern for Charlo?
“It’s no trouble because that’s what boxing is; You just got to stay composed. I got in there and I stayed composed, I listened to my coach. I didn’t let each knockdown make me get in there to make any mistakes.”
“This was a big one right here. Spectacular. The guy that they said was a beast, the guy that they said was strong, the guy that they said was this good. I went in there and did what I had to do. Have you ever seen somebody drop somebody with a jab to the body and put him out? Man, that’s different. I hit him in the right spot, took the air out of him. I wish him well, I pray for him in the ring and I hope he’s doing better.”
The bottom line from Saturday’s show is that both Charlo twins took care of business and earned important wins. They were unequivocally tested by their determined foes, but they passed those tests with flying colors. They showed they could rise to the occasion and are deserving of Showtime’s marketing push. Hopefully, this leads to more compelling matchups in the very near future as, at thirty years old, there is little time to waste, and both are in strong divisions. Who wouldn’t want to see Jermall take on Canelo or Golovkin? What about Jermell against Jarrett Hurd or Julian Williams? Those are the type of fights they need if they want to secure Hall of Fame legacies. For their sake, and the sake of the fans, let’s hope they happen. — Jamie Rebner