NEW YORK – There was a time well into late June when Canelo Alvarez believed he would fight Jermall Charlo on September 30. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
The four-weight world champion happily accepted a switch to Jermell Charlo, but Alvarez acknowledged after a press conference Tuesday in Manhattan that he has embraced a more difficult fight against boxing’s undisputed 154-pound champion.
“Yeah, my thought was Jermall, obviously, the most closest to my weight,” Alvarez told a group of reporters at Palladium Times Square. “But, you know, they’re both the same. I think, for me, in my opinion, Jermell is a better fighter than his brother. He have a better resume. He has better opposition, everything.”
The 12-round bout between Guadalajara’s Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) and Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs), of Richmond, Texas, will headline a four-fight Showtime Pay-Per-View event next month at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Jermell Charlo became boxing’s first fully unified junior middleweight champion when he beat Brian Castano by 10th-round knockout 15 months ago at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Charlo, 33, hasn’t fought since he defeated Argentina’s Castano (17-1-2, 12 KOs) in their rematch because he suffered two fractures to his left hand during a sparring session a few days prior to last Christmas.
Charlo’s hand injury caused the postponement and eventually the cancelation of his mandated WBO title defense against Australia’s Tim Tszyu (23-0, 17 KOs), whom the WBO has announced will be elevated from interim champion to full champion once Charlo squares off against Alvarez. Sydney’s Tszyu was supposed to challenge Charlo for his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO belts on January 28 at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
The Charlo-Tszyu fight wasn’t rescheduled before Charlo accepted the most daunting assignment of his 15-year professional career against Alvarez. The Houston native will move up two weight classes to battle Alvarez for his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 168-pound crowns.
The 33-year-old Alvarez still anticipates a stiff test from a taller, durable fighter that he is consistently listed as a 4-1 favorite to beat.
“He have a lotta talent, power and he was involved in a lotta good fights, too,” Alvarez said. “So, he have a lotta things.”
Jermall Charlo, meanwhile, hasn’t fought since June 2021, when he outpointed Mexican contender Juan Macias Montiel (23-6-2, 23 KOs) unanimously in a 12-round fight for Charlo’s WBC middleweight crown. Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) still holds the WBC 160-pound championship, despite that he hasn’t defended that title in almost 26 months.
A fight against Alvarez would’ve required Jermall Charlo to move up only eight pounds, whereas his twin brother will make a 14-pound jump up to box the Mexican icon.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.