By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
This journey for Houston, TX native Jermell Charlo to become a unified Super Welterweight Champion began nearly a year ago. In July of 2021, Charlo clashed with Brian Castaño in San Antonio when these fought to a controversial draw. On the line, that night in San Antonio was Charlo’s World Boxing Council’s Super Welter Weight (WBC) belt, his World Boxing Association Super Welter Weight (WBA) belt, and his International Boxing Federation World Super Welter Weight (IBF) belt. In turn, Argentinean Brian Castaño would be putting up his World Boxing Organization Super Welter Weight (WBO) belt in their fight.
Both men thought they won their grueling 12-round fight last year in San Antonio, TX. Yet the fight was so close because of its back-and-forth exchanges. The opportunity to crown the first-ever undisputed 154-pound champion in the four-belt era would have to, unfortunately, be put on hold, making this fight one of the most significant fights in any year. Well, the wait was worth it because boxing fans witnessed an instant classic on Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA.
“I’m going to be stronger, faster, and smarter than I’ve ever been before. Thank you, Castaño, for giving me more time to prepare myself,” Charlo said about having extra time to prepare for this fight due to it previously being postponed. “I didn’t finish him, so I think that was the only mistake I made. I’m usually a closer. I have that in the back of my mind. One he’s hurt again, and hopefully it’s earlier than later, it’s over,” Charlo added.
“It is going to be special to show everyone what I’m capable of, especially in front of the Latin fans here. This is the culmination of years of work. I’m anxious to go out there and prove that I’m the champion and give the Latin fans the show that they deserve,” Castaño said leading up to their bout this past Saturday night.
“The lack of respect he has for a fellow athlete bothered me. He said a lot of things that I thought were out of line. I don’t know why he’s all edgy and screaming and nervous. I’d rather him show that energy in the ring,”Castano said about Charlo and his alleged steroids usage. “Saturday is going to be electric. The way that we’ve been spicing this up, we’re guaranteeing a spectacle. You’re not going to want to miss it,” Castaño vowed to boxing fans.
Though many people picked Charlo to win this fight, the anticipation for this bout grew as fight night drew closer. The many Argentineans who traveled to Southern California to support Castaño increased the competitive environment of the week’s events leading up fight night. However, all the chanting and singing from Castaño’s supporters would not be able to protect him from Charlo’s eventual onslaught.
These guys took little time to find a groove in this fight. In this first round, Charlo and Castaño exchanged some haymakers that would test the resolve of their opponent. An energized Charlo connects on a four-punch combination that rocks Castano. Castano returns the favor by landing a few right hands blows on Charlo’s chin.
Charlo controlled most of the second round of the fight. Though similar to the first round, Castaño would come on to attempt to steal the end of the rounds. They exchanged heavy punches in the next couple of rounds, as Charlo would continue to draw Castaño in and then catch him with that hard right hand each time he was in range.
The fourth round was one to replay, as they both seemed to unload the tank on each other. Just when one would suspect Charlo has gained the edge in the fight, Castaño would land some power punches to make you rethink your position. As tough as it was to score, I gave the fourth and fifth rounds to Castaño. He controlled the fight, and he remained the aggressor in those middle moments of the rounds, with his consistent activity.
Sensing that he may have dropped a couple of consecutive rounds, Charlo came out firing, in the seventh round. His offensive onslaught allowed him to regain control of the fight and stifle Castaño’s aggression. Charlo vowed, “to fight better off the ropes in this fight,” and he was true to his word as he showed off his power, quickness and craftiness.
Charlo’s planned to allow Castaño to get within reach and then unloaded his right hand, filled with bad intentions, appeared to be working masterfully. In that seventh and eighth round, Castaño’s granite chin seemed to withstand all it could, and Castaño began to show the effects of the battery he endured from the young Charlo brother.
Impressively, Castaño was the aggressor in round nine. Where Charlo thought he was wearing Castaño down, the hard-hitting Argentinean wasn’t ready to give in just yet. The resolve Castaño showed to exchange power shots with Charlo is the stuff champions are made of.
Charlo wasn’t impressed as late in the tenth round, he hit Castaño with a right hook to the body and followed that up with a short-left hook that Castaño never saw coming and forced him to take a knee. The referee gave Castaño a six-count yet didn’t make Charlo go to a neutral corner before allowing the fight to continue.
Without even giving Castaño a chance to catch his breath, Charlo came in hot. Charlo hit Castano with a left jab and a powerful right-hand punch that sent Castaño to the ropes. Charlo connected with another left hand to Castano’s jaw and then hit him with a finishing shot to his ribs, which knocked the rest of the air out of Castaño. Once Castaño went down on both knees and struggled to get up, the referee called the fight. Just like that, Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo, at 31, became boxing’s seventh Undisputed Champion.
“This is legacy,” the 31-year-old Charlo said after the fight. “This is legendary. I’m a legend. I knew Castañowas going to give it his all. I knew I had trained very hard, but you all can see that I came in at 152 pounds because I was really in shape, and I wanted to make sure that this was my fight.”
“We showed that we are warriors,” Castaño said. “We both were fighting back-and-forth. He’s a champion. He got me,” Castano humbly added.
“I listened to my corner this time,” Jermell, “Iron Man,” Charlo said after the fight. “I got in my bag around the seventh round. I started sitting down a little bit more instead of boxing so much and moving around. I saw that he was wearing down a little bit, and I was breaking him down. I just saw my punches being more effective. I get stronger in the later rounds if they didn’t know.”
Each of these men landed over 40 percent of their power punching in this exciting fight. Charlo landed an impressive 46.9 percent of his power punches. Let me know your thoughts on Jermell Charlo’s career; now that he is the new Unified Undisputed 154-pound Champion, where do you have him ranked on your pound-for-pound list? Kindly share your thoughts by reaching out to me using Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.