SAN DIEGO, Calif., September 25, 2020 – Boxing fans can settle in for action all day with the first significant cards of the COVID-19 era on Saturday – but only if they’ve got the money to follow them all.
Leading the list is a unique double feature with two separate cards headlines by brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo. Their matchups are true pick ‘em fights against dangerous opponents.
Part one has WBC Middleweight World Champion Jermall Charlo of Houston (30-0 22 KOs) taking on serious threat Sergiy Derevyanchenko of Ukraine (13-2, 10 KOs). The undercard has WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion Brandon Figureroa of Texas (20-0-1, 15, KOs) defending his title against Damien Vazquez of Las Vegas (15-1-1, 8 KOs). WBO Bantamweight World Champion John Riel Casimero of the Philippines (29-4, 20 KOs) fights undefeated Duke Micah of Ghana (24-0, 19 KOs).
After a 30-minute intermission, card number two finds WBC Super Welterweight champion Jermell Charlo of Houston (33-1,17 KOs) in a unification title fight against IBF and WBA World Super Welterweight Champion Jeison Rosario of the Dominican Republic (20-1-1, 14 KOs). Former world champion Luis Nery of Mexico (30-0, 24 KOs) moves up to super bantamweight in a vacant WBC title fight against undefeated Aaron Alameda of Long Beach, California (25-0, 13 KOs). The opening bout pits former unified champion Danny Román of Los Angeles (27-3-1, 10 KOs) against former champion Juan Carlos Payano of Miami (21-3, 9 KOs) in a WBC Super Bantamweight title eliminator.
The show starts at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. And for the low low price of $74.95 it can all be yours. (Insert the record scratching noise here).
When the price tag was announced two weeks ago today, boxing social media didn’t react too kindly to it. What’s the outrage about? Aren’t these fights worth it? These are six quality bouts with no filler and two legitimate main events. Not a showcase or pushover in the bunch.
Diehard fight fans will still watch. Fans will get their money’s worth. But they’ve got to have the discretionary income to spare. Don’t expect a big number of buys, but it’s no reflection on the quality of the fighters involved.
Without a live gate due to the pandemic, promoters have to make up the difference to pay the purses of top talent and stage the event, taking place in Showtime’s “bubble” at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. There isn’t a doubt every participant will earn his paycheck. It does seem a big ask of the fans struggling in the damaged economy. Even during good times, many fans invite friends over to share the costs of the PPV and the food and beverage. With social distancing in place, it’s a tougher task.
But combat sports fans never seem to gripe about the $64.95 for a UFC pay-per-view card with three fights. The Showtime card with six quality bouts is up against UFC 253 on the same night, along with NBA conference finals and Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup, which might be the final game if the Tampa Bay Lightning go up three games to one Friday night.
What should the fans who DO purchase the PPV expect to see? The best event since Wilder vs. Fury 2 back in February. Remember?
Charlo vs Derevyanchenko: Boxing or brawling?
The Charlo brothers are compelling personalities. Both 30 years old, they are legitimate champions but both still need career-defining wins to emerge at the top of their respective divisions. They can get both get them with wins on Saturday.
Jermall Charlo faces a serious test in Derevyanchenko. He lost narrow decisions to both Daniel Jacobs and Gennadiy Golovkin, fights many believe he won. Derevyanchenko is a nonstop pressure fighter with a granite chin and fearsome work rate. He just keeps coming. Charlo would be smart to box him more than brawl with him. It’s t,o Charlo’s advantage there isn’t a crowd to work him up and egg him into a firefight. He will need to stay disciplined and he’s got what it takes to win.
Derevyanchenko knows all too well he can’t leave the fight in the judges’ hands. He has little to lose going for broke and at the least trying to score knockdowns if not a stoppage. What will be among the most interesting aspects of the fight is measuring how Charlo performs against previous opponents Jacobs and Golovkin.
“We’re making necessary adjustments based off all our experience and developing a game plan specifically for Cha,rlo. The sparring partners have been giving me great work and I’m absolutely ready for September 26.”
“I’m not solely focused on the fight going one certain way, we just have our game plan and we’ll see what happens in the ring,” said Derevyanchenko. “If I can knock him out, I’ll be ready to go for it. But if it goes 12 rounds, I have all of the skills to win a decision.”
Charlo vs Rosario: Count on a dogfight
Jermell Charlo faces a dangerous power puncher in Jeison Rosario, who dispatched Julian Williams in short. Charlo ,expressed confidence in his improved skills.
“I ended my last fight in the 11th round (against Tony Harrison), so I’ve been able to, finish in the later rounds. Everyone knows I can end the fight early, too. When I’m at my best, I don’t see anyone that can compete with me. I always wanted all the belts, and I knew I was going to have to take them from somebody.”
Charlo says his loss to Harrison in 2018 was “jet fuel” and he’s come back full throttle.
“I have nothing to lose. I’m not letting him take anything from me. I’m even more dangerous than I was before. I’m an old school fighter right here. I’ve been dedicated to this game and I’m not going anywhere,” insisted Charlo.
Rosario didn’t have a full-time camp until the Williams win. If this is true and Rosario comes off another full training camp at his peak, Charlo will get a tough challenge. Charlo has never been knocked down or stopped, but he can be hurt as Harrison discovered. Rosario can win a serious inside brawl.
“Charlo and I are two of the biggest punchers in the division,” said Rosario. “We both fight with a lot of pride. We’re two very aggressive fighters who want to fight in the middle of the ring, so we’re going to bring the action and make this an epic war.”
Ranking the rest: John Riel Casimero, Danny Roman, Luis Nery, Brandon Figueroa
Among the undercard fights, we’re most eager to see John Riel Casimero. The fiery Filipino was originally scheduled to fight pound for pound powerhouse Naoya Inoue in a fight derailed by the pandemic. Casimero is still flying off his upset third-round knockout victory over Zolani Tete, and his victories against Charlie Edwards and Amnat Ruenroeng look even better in retrospect. He should burn right through Micah.
Danny Roman is an under-the-radar action star. He defeated T.J. Doheny in a 2019 Fight of the Year but narrowly lost to Murodjon Akhmadeliev in another slugfest in January. He’s got something to prove against Payano, who is tough but has been stopped in two of his last three fights.
Luis Nery is training for the first time with world-class trainer Eddy Reynoso in San Diego alongside countryman Canelo Alvarez. Nery hasn’t lost a fight in the ring, but lost his title on the scale in 2018. He’s been knocked down several times in his career. Let’s see what he has learned from Reynoso and how he looks at 122 pounds.
“We’re working on boxing with my hands up and on my accuracy,” said Nery. “He’s helping me do everything possible to maximize my power and speed. I feel very strong and I’ve been sparring 12 rounds for a while now. I’m extremely ready for September 26 and focused on nothing but that.”
Figueroa (20-0-1, 15 KOs) has quickly advanced from prospect to contender to secondary titlist. His only loss was a split decision to former titleholder Julio Ceja, who came in four pounds over the junior featherweight limit. Figueroa shouldn’t be challenged by Vasquez. Luis Nery will be watching this bout with interest, as he’s expressed interest in fighting Figueroa next should he win.
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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