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The Grinch Returns! Starring Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo

By: Hans Themistode

Around the same time last year, Detroit’s Tony “Super Bad” Harrison (28-2, 21 KO’s) played spoiler to the Charlo household. 

Starring as the Grinch, Harrison pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year, placing a blemish on Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo’s (32-1, 16 KO’s) undefeated record while capturing the WBC junior middleweight title.

“It was a surreal moment for me, just recapping everything that happened to me and wishing that all the good people that were in my corner were there to see it and be there with me,” Harrison said. 

“I thought of everything that happened to me that was fucked up and I told God I understood why he put me through those things and I understood that he knew that I would get through it and would never lose faith. I was thanking him for all those times, all those moments that made me, me. It was never the good moments, it was always the bad, me being resilient through those moments and me taking that message out of every moment that everything bad happened to make me that man that night to win the fight.”

While Harrison believes he won based on his strategy and skill set; fighting effectively off his back foot, moving around the ring effectively controlling the range, distance, successfully feinting and displaying complete mastery of the jab, Harrison was able to pick his spots and pick apart Charlo. 

Charlo believes his aggression and power punching dictated the pace and controlled the fight.

“I definitely feel like I won that fight,” Charlo said in reference to the first bout. “I pulled out way more rounds than he did. But like I said, it’ll be a rematch and I promise you, like I’m gonnatrain harder, I’m gonna try to train different. I did a great job in training camp. I can’t take nothing away from what me, trainer Derrick James and everybody else game plan was,” said Jermell in a post-fight interview.

“I hit hard. You know what I mean?” Charlo said. “I use my power. A lot of people use their skills and use their – I have skills, I have power, I have speed.”

Watching the fight play out and having each fighter describe the punch-by-punch action in their own words, is significantbecause it provides great insight for the mentality of each fighter. Their reactions and analysis may foreshadow the game plan and mindset for each fighter entering the rematch.

Charlo is livid and seems like he carries around a luggage case containing anger. Harrison loves playing the spoiler and enjoys living “Rent-free” in Charlo’s head as the self-proclaimed troll.

The emotional elements of this match-up do more than draw up intrigue, but may influence the outcome of the fight. Are these temperamental components a plus or negative for Charlo heading into the rematch? Can he harness his intensity, ferocity and formulate the proper plan to exact revenge?

“I’m a passionate person,” Charlo said, in a recent PBC preview special. “I’m a winner. 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.”

“I don’t like ‘phony’ Harrison. 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.”

If Charlo intends to achieve victory, he may have to change things this go-around. A complete overhaul may not be necessary, but an honest assessment and reflection may be key for Charlo progressing forward. While we’re officially awaiting part two to this saga, it seems like Harrison is yelling checkmate in regards to the mental warfare.

“When you’re from Detroit, it does something to you,” said Harrison. “It’s just that extra motivation when you’ve got somebody talking that shit to you and you’re talking it back.”

“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life and its fun to me. Living in Detroit, you gotta have the gift of gab, and that’s another art in itself. So I can talk my shit, and I’m destroying him by doing it. It’s fun and it spices things up. This is a good dinner with jalapenos on top.”

This weekend, Charlo aims to reverse roles and perform his best impression of the Grinch, in an effort to ruin the holiday season for Harrison.

The question remains if the Iron Man can adjust and implement a game-plan allowing greater success in the rematch. Can’t rely on athleticism and anger – which is what Harrison hinted at throughout the long build-up to this rematch.

Harrison aims to thwart off Charlo’s advances and remain the WBC junior middleweight champion once the smoke settles.

I think this relationship between me and him is one of the best relationships in boxing,” said Harrison. “You can’t fake it. It’s good for the sport that we really don’t like each other. And this is such a good fight. It doesn’t get much better than me and himand I want to keep topping that.”

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