Charlo vs Castaño: You mad, bro? Showtime Boxing Saturday
SAN DIEGO, Calif., July 16, 2021 – Boxing’s rebound year from the pandemic serves up another division unification bout in Charlo vs Castaño on Saturday from San Antonio. It’s the best bout in the Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions summer lineup. The Showtime Boxing broadcast begins at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT. Boxing will slow down the next few weeks due to the Tokyo Olympic Games, another good reason to take in Charlo vs Castaño.
Jermell Charlo of Houston (34-1, 18 KOs) puts the WBC, WBA, and IBF super welterweight world titles on the line against Brian Castaño’s WBO belt. The winner (assuming it isn’t a draw) will become the division’s first undisputed champion in the four-belt era. The previous undisputed champion held three titles when IBF belt holder Winky Wright scored an upset decision over WBC and WBA champion Shane Mosley in 2004.
There are only two undisputed male champions, junior welterweight Josh Taylor and lightweight Teofimo Lopez Jr. (although some question Lopez Jr.’s inclusion). There are three women’s undisputed champions: super welterweight Claressa Shields, welterweight Jessica McCaskill, and lightweight Katie Taylor.
Charlo calls the fight a dream come true. “I’ve wanted to be undisputed since I was a child because this is the highest you can reach in boxing. Now is the time that me and my brother finally get the opportunity to show the world what we’re worth. This is the moment for us,” said Charlo.
The Argentinean champion (17-0-1, 12 KOs) scored the opportunity to face Charlo after a one-sided performance against Patrick Teixeira of Brazil in February. The entire Castaño team burst into song after the win. Diego Madrona’s face adorned Castano’s trunks as a tribute. Now Castaño says the recent win by Argentina and Leonel Messi will motivate him on Saturday.
“I guarantee the fans are going to enjoy this fight and won’t leave disappointed. Both of us are going to do whatever it takes to come out victorious, and that will make sure the fans will love this fight,” said Castaño. “I want to make not only Argentina but all of Latin America proud. That’s what I want to do on Saturday night.
Charlo: ‘A focused Jermell is a dangerous Jermell’
At one time, Charlo was seen as the less accomplished fighter compared to older twin brother Jermall Charlo, campaigning at middleweight. But Jermell has steadily gained and passed big brother due to superior opposition overall. He also presents himself as the hungrier and often the angrier. He claims not to care he’s not on any pound-for-pound top ten lists, but Charlo rarely fails to bring it up with boxing media.
“I believe Canelo (Alvarez) is number one right now. Y’all have Terence Crawford really, really, really high. You look at his opponents? I know Kell Brook was a dangerous fighter that he beat but – my bad, I don’t want to throw out names. I don’t got time for the drama but I’m just keeping it real.” Keeping in real stuck in his craw is more accurate.
Tempers boiled over at Friday’s weigh-in, with promoter Tom Brown gamely trying to keep the peace. Charlo weighed 153 pounds, Castaño 153.3 pounds.
Charlo deserves credit for fighting the top names in the division over the past few years, including fresher versions of John Jackson and Vanes Martirosyan, Austin Trout, Erikson Lubin, Jeison Rosario, and avenging a loss to Tony Harrison by knockout, the sole loss on his record.
“A focused Jermell is the most dangerous Jermell there could be,” he said of himself. “I have different skill sets that I can implement in this fight no matter what Castaño does. I have a lot that I can do depending what Castaño brings.”
Castaño: ‘He has all the pressure’
The fight is close enough to keep the odds tight, although Charlo is named the narrow favorite by virtually everyone. Charlo has more power, and he will have the home cooking edge fighting at home in Texas if he chooses to make it a more tactical fight, using his size and reach advantage to frustrate Castaño. “It’s dangerous for him to come forward and walk into shots. Most opponents that I’ve faced who’ve done that, I’ve put them out. We’ll see if he’s able to stand up to the power,” said Charlo.
It’s a smart approach. Castaño is an extreme pressure fighter. He came within a whisker of stopping Teixeira behind a body shot in the final round. Castaño was the shorter man, but he knows how to fight on the inside and take the height and reach advantage away from his opponents. Castaño landed 373 of 1136 punches (33%) against Teixeira; 344 of those were power shots.
“He has all the pressure on him being in his home state. I’ve been training so hard for nine months, and I’m comfortable as the underdog. I always come in as the underdog, so I don’t feel any pressure,” said Castaño.
“When it comes down to it, if I have to lower my punch output to put more power on my punches, then I will. I don’t like to focus on past fights because we have our own game plans for this fight. I have a plan to come out victorious Saturday night.”
Prediction: Charlo goes the distance for the win
Invoking the “styles make fights” approach, the winner will be the man who successfully imposes his game plan on his opponent. Charlo should stay clear of Castaño in early rounds, letting him wear down and forcing him to start taking chances. This is where Charlo can capitalize on mistakes.
But if Castaño can perform in a way similar to lightweight prospect William Zepeda who swarmed Hector Tanajara in their bout last week, he’s got the best chance to prevail. He won’t get a narrow scorecards decision. He needs to prevail in eight or nine of the 12 rounds.
Most of Charlo’s stoppage wins are by accumulated damage in later rounds rather than early power shot KOs. He might need to be satisfied with a decision win. Skeptics will continue to overlook Charlo, but it will be nearly impossible to deny him a place on the top ten pound for pound list if he wins. A Castaño win will seem more like an anomaly.
We see the fight falling a bit short of fan expectations, but there should still be plenty of action and drama on the way to a Charlo decision win by 117-111. It won’t matter to Charlo when he holds all four belts at the end of the night posing for photos. At least until the next time he falls just short of someone’s pound for pound list and gets irritated about it.
Undercard fight lineup in San Antonio
The opening fights feature unbeaten Interim WBA Lightweight Champion Rolando “Rolly” Romero of Las Vegas (13-0, 11 KOs) taking on last-minute replacement Anthony “Can You Dig It” Yigit of Sweden (24-1, 8 KOs) in the co-main event. Yigit, coming down one division for the bout, was five pounds over the 135-pound limit at Friday’s weigh-in and cannot win the title with a victory.
Unbeaten middleweight Amilcar Vidal of Uruguay training in Coachella (12-0, 11 KOs).faces veteran contender Immanuwel Aleem of Virginia (18-2-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-round bout to open the PPV. It is a must-win for Aleem after losing three of his last four fights. He’s been inactive since December 2019.
One other notable bout features undefeated super welterweight Bahkram Murtazaliev of Russia (18-0, 14 KOs) against veteran Khiary Gray of Worcester, Massachusetts (16-5, 12 KOs). Murtazaliev is managed by Egis Klimas and trains with Virgil Hunter. He is quietly rising through the super welterweight ranks and could become an opponent for one of the top-tier names.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media at@PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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