ONTARIO, Calif., December 20, 2019 – Former WBC Super Welterweight champion Jermell Charlo of Houston (32-1,16 KOs) has a score to settle with the man who took away his title and his undefeated record last December. Tony “Super Bad” Harrison of Detroit (28-2, 21 KOs). If the pair trade as many punches in the ring fight at the Toyota Center in Ontario, California as the insults they’ve been throwing at each other for the last few months, fans are in for some fun.
The bout airs as the main event on Fox PBC Fight Night and Fox Deportes on Saturday, December 21, starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Yes, this is free TV. Thank you, Sweet Science Santa.
Favored to win the first meeting in his second home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Harrison outboxed and outfoxed the young lion Charlo in 12 technical rounds to win a hotly-disputed unanimous decision by scores of 116-112 and 115-113 twice.
Charlo and his fans have been in a rage ever since. The rematch was originally scheduled on June 23, but an ankle injury to Harrison caused a delay. Charlo accused Harrison of faking the injury because he wasn’t prepared. It’s a small taste of the invective Charlo has hurled at Harrison. Charlo has always been a hotheaded guy, but he’s taken it to a new level with Harrison.
“He’s a fraud,” said Charlo. “He manipulated the system and he isn’t the real champ like I am. I’m the real champion and it will take me going in there and showing why I am the champ. I get to do that on December 21.”
“He wasn’t really injured … Maybe he used the smallest excuse and used it to get him out of the fight. There’s no easy routes in this thing. When you’re at the top, you have to fight.”
Charlo admits to being a passionate person. “When they took that one from me, of course, a passionate person is going to have a different reaction than he would have had. I found out where your heart was. I’ve been able to make more investment into myself to destroy you ever since then.”
Charlo calls Harrison a phony. “It’s easy to explain why the rematch will be different. I’m knocking him out. I can’t let them judges make any decisions. That’s what I need. He’s going to sleep. Cold.”
Harrison laughs off the insults, saying they are proof he’s gotten to Charlo. “I’ve got the mental battle won. I have him all riled up, now it’s just about capitalizing.
“I’m living rent-free in that head,” added Harrison. “He’s mentally weak. Period. He’s emotional. He fears me and he fears everything about me. He knows I’m a threat. He likes the way I walk. He likes everything about me. He likes the way I talk what I talk.”
Harrison says he’s a better athlete, calling Charlo a ‘sucker.’ “As long as he’s walking this earth, there’s nothing he can do to beat me. I’m going to dominate this man. I just want to beat him 12 rounds like he stole something. I’m going to humble him again, that’s my job. I’m going to ease him of his pain. He acts like he’s the strongest guy in the world, but he’s up against an animal.”
All righty then. Enjoy watching more of the Harrison vs Charlo 2 interview for yourself here.
The first bout was a tense technical dance with both fighters trying to lead the other. The decision on which man won each round was razor-thin no matter what you saw. Harrison was the better ring general and demonstrated better defense behind a solid jab. Charlo had better success scoring power punches, but not often and not enough. Harrison rolled up the early rounds, but Charlo gained momentum as Harrison lost a little steam.
Prediction for the rematch: Harrison vs Charlo 2
How the fighters adjust their approach – or not – will tell the story. Who can stay disciplined in the ring and execute the game plan, whatever it is? If Harrison is right and he’s gotten inside Charlo’s head, Charlo will let his emotions lead him instead of logic. Harrison can use the same approach he used to win in the first fight, but he can’t stall down the stretch. If Harrison isn’t in top shape, Charlo may be able to overpower him.
Harrison needs to be sure the judges see and appreciate his skills. A different set of judges on the West Coast may not see it the same way as the judges in Brooklyn.
We predict the cooler head will prevail and Harrison will send Charlo home without his revenge. Sometimes a fighter has his opponent’s number and it’s just the way it goes.
Undercard cheat sheet: Efe Ajagba and Karlos Balderas featured
On the undercard, heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba of Nigeria, now training in Texas, (11-0, 9 KOs) fights veteran Iago Kiladze of Georgia (26-4-1, 18 KOs). in a bout scheduled for ten rounds. Ajagba could use a flashy performance after he ground out a win in July against a tougher than expected Ali Eren Demirezen of Turkey on the Pacquiao vs Thurman undercard. Kiladze should give it to him. In the last year, he’s lost to Joe Joyce, Michael, Hunter, and Adam Kownacki.
“I know he has experience and he’s lost to a few good fighters,” said Ajagba. “I have to test him with my jab and see how he reacts. He has movement and has good experience. I’m going to let him get tired and find my spots. I can’t wait to get in there.”
“I know that’s he’s a strong young fighter, but he doesn’t have experience like me,” said Kiladze. “I have more fights and more tough fights. I think that he’s going to try to come forward, but I’ve worked really hard to stop him. I’ve worked on my power and I will show it on Saturday night.”
2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas of California (9-0, 8 KOs) takes on Rene Tellez Giron of Mexico (13-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight match as the Fox broadcast opener.
“I’m an Olympian for a reason,” said Balderas. “I’ve faced the best since I was 15. This is a great opportunity for me and I’m going to make the most of it. He knows what’s coming Saturday night.”
Giron, who is only 20 years old, is coming off his first loss by decision in June.
“The only loss I had was a fight I believe I won, but you always learn from a fight,” said Giron. “Balderas is a good fighter and I respect him, but he’s in for a war. I’ve been in tough fights everywhere so I know what it will be like Saturday … I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity and I know that we’re going to steal the show Saturday.”
There are 15 total fights on this card, making for such a long day two different shifts of referees and judges are needed. Fans, settle in, pace yourselves, and make a day of it.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter and Instagram at @PRProSanDiego.
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