By: Sean Crose
After making the puzzling and controversial decision to elevate Canelo Alvarez to “Franchise Champion,” the WBC decided this past week that the 28-0 Jermall Charlo was to subsequently become its middleweight champion. Therefore, Charlo defended his title for the first time Saturday in front of a hometown crowd at the NRG Arena in Houston, Texas. Charlo’s opponent was the 21-2 Brandon Adams, who was the season five winner of The Contender. The bout was scheduled for 12 rounds, and was aired live on Showtime. First, however, fans witnessed the 20-1 Erickson Lubin face the 29-6-2 Zakaria Attou in a WBC junior middleweight eliminator. That fight, too, was scheduled to be a 12 round affair.
The fight completely belonged to Orlando’s Lubin, who was clearly more skilled than Paris’ Attou. In between the third and fourth round, Showtime’s translator made it clear that Attou was claiming he was injured to his corner. Attou was sent down in the fourth. The Frenchman was able to get up, but his corner threw in the towel, thus ending the bout. Lubin is now looking forward to bigger things in the junior middleweight division, although he made it clear immediately after the bout that he knew a title shot wouldn’t be next.
It was time for the main event. The first round essentially saw Charlo stalking his man. Adams proved difficult to land cleanly on in the second, but didn’t launch much of an offensive assault himself. The third round made it clear that Adams could land his jab effectively – he just wasn’t landing it enough. At the end of the chapter, things got a bit rough on the ropes, and Charlo seemed to land clean just before the bell. The fourth saw some action, as Charlo tried to land clean – but couldn’t with any frequency – while Adams pressed the fight without landing with great regularity, either.
The fifth round was entertaining, as both men gave it their all. It looked as if Charlo had perhaps hurt his man, but Adams composed himself gamely. In the sixth, both man landed effectively, and with power, and arguably hurt one another. In the seventh, a narrative became clear – that Charlo was simply the stronger man. Had Adams been stronger, his clean shots might have helped tell a different story. Charlo continued to control the tempo in the eighth. Adams moved his head a great deal in the ninth, while he moved forward with some success.
By the tenth it was obvious that – although Adams had considerable defensive skills – he didn’t have enough tools in his arsenal to get the better of Charlo. Adams had his man against the ropes in the eleventh, but the stronger Charlo was able to work his way out of the situation. The twelfth and final round saw Charlo walking away with the fight. The defending champion was awarded a unanimous decision win.
Earlier in the broadcast, Claudio Marrero bested Eduardo Ramirez by unanimous decision in a 12 round WBA featherweight title eliminator.