By: Kirk Jackson
Double the Trouble for the Charlo Twins?
Let’s try this again, take two.
The last time the Charlo brothers collectively headlined a Premier Boxing Champions event, it did not turn out too well for the talented twins.
The scene of the crime dates back to December 22, 2018, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The card, televised by FOX, featured Jermell Charlo defending his WBC Jr middleweight title against Tony Harrison and Jermall Charlo defending his WBC interim middleweight title in the main event against substitute replacement Matt Korobov.
Jermell lost a closely contested unanimous decision to Harrison, while Jermall won a highly competitive unanimous decision against Korobov.
This go-round, WBC middleweight champion Jermall “Hitman” Charlo (30-0, 22 KO’s) takes on Sergiy “The Technician” Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KO’s) while brother Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (33-1, 17 KO’s) faces Jeison “El Banana” Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KO’s) in a Jr middleweight unification match.
Without question, this event features the greatest collection of talent and competition since the life-altering pandemic shook things up earlier this year.
Focusing on the respective main events; each Charlo brother is the A-side, the attraction of the match-up and each is positioned in a dangerous fight with a solid chance of suffering defeat.
As stated earlier, the last time the Charlo brothers collectively headlined an event, Jermell lost. Some may think of it as a jinx or curse, other pundits believe this was the result of matchmaking. Harrison is a highly-skilled, underrated fighter, with athleticism to match Jermell’s.
The Detroit native utilized successful tactics that Austin Trout and John Jackson implored in previous battles against Jermell. Harrison’s height posed a problem, along with his long reach and swift, consistent jab that disrupted Jermell’s timing and kept him off balance. Harrison lateral side to side movement, various angles and ability to fight off the back foot posed problems for “Iron Man” as well.
“I bounced back from that loss to Tony Harrison in 2018 last year, but there were still things I needed to learn and develop. We’re going to end 2020 with a bang. This is the Charlo show,” said Jermell, during a virtual media workout.
“After I lost in 2018, I told everyone that it just gave me jet fuel and that when I come back, I’m coming back full throttle. That’s what I’m about. 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. Stay out of my way, because I’m the man trucking things.”
Although Harrison and Rosario are different styled fighters, what can Rosario implement to have success against a highly motivated, focused Jermell?
There are five factors that may work in the favor of Rosario this weekend.
“It’s no pressure for me, it’s more motivation,” Rosario told CBS Sports last week through a translator. “I have always come in as the underdog even though I don’t think as one. If I am supposed to lose, no one told me the script. They didn’t tell me that. Somebody forgot to tell me the script that I’m supposed to lose in this fight. I’m used to it and there is absolutely zero pressure on me. This is just another night where I will be able to showcase my talent.”
One of the attributes, or series of intangibles rather, that may aid Rosario is his lack of fear, intimidation and pressure. If this holds true, by the time these gladiators enter the ring, he will have the ability to be loose and perform at a high level. Some athletes fold under pressure and there’s a saying stating pressure busts pipes… More on that later.
Although Rosario has a shorter reach, both men see eye to eye as they measure the exact same height. He is just as big size-wise as well. Punching power may be the deciding factor in this match-up. Although the knockouts tallied on his record may not truly reflect Jermell’s developed punching power, over the course of the last few years, he’s repeatedly left his opponents in a state of unconsciousness.
Rosario is a heavy handed, proficient knockout artist as well. His last performance against Julian “J-Rock” Williams exemplified such, stopping the Philadelphia-bred fighter in five rounds. How often will Rosario’s hands connect? And is Jermell’s chin and body truly made of iron?
Ah, now back to pressure – the pressure that bursts pipes. Even though he lost the rematch, Harrison experienced great success applying pressure against Jermell last year. Harrison spent a good portion of the middle rounds walking Jermell down, stalking and stinging with his jab and even outfighting Jermell in their exchanges within the trenches. It looked as though the young lion was at times uncomfortable with the pressure.
Granted, different athletic ability and skill sets with Rosario and Harrison, but it’s a formula for Rosario to follow. Given his disadvantage of reach and necessity to impose his strength on the inside, it’s imperative for Rosario to successfully apply consistent pressure. The application of mental and physical pressure could make things uncomfortable for Jermell.
The fifth factor is placing all these ingredients together. Jeison Rosario has come a long way and he steadily improves with every fight. At 25, he hasn’t reached his peak, but he will need to continue his development and showcase those results. He will need to display high-level boxing catered to his skill set, to adjust to whatever Jermell brings to the table.
Simply put, the 154 pound belt holder won’t have an easy time unifying titles on the night. With that being said, his twin brother’s task may be even more arduous.
With two failed opportunities to wrap championship gold around his waist against Daniel Jacobs and Gennadiy Golovkin respectively, Sergiy Derevyanchenko is hoping that the third time is the charm.
Both defeats were highly competitive bouts, with knockdowns suffered against each opponent possibly serving as the difference.
Jermall is aware of Derevyanchenko’s talent and the threat he poses as a challenger. But he is fully prepared and this is the fight he wanted.
“This is just the beginning for me. There’s been 30 fighters who’ve tried to beat me, and all 30 failed,” Jermall said in a recent virtual media interview. “We’ll get a chance to get in there and do what we do best on Saturday. Talk is cheap. We’ll see where that green belt goes on Saturday.”
“I’m focused and locked in. I’m ready to fight. Sergiy can say what he wants to say about me, it’s going to be a fight on Saturday.”
For Derevyanchenko, there are factors that may come into play for his benefit. Work rate, style, experience, jinx and desperation.
The Ukrainian has a great style of utilizing angles with superb footwork and unleashing a myriad of punches at differing angles with his work rate. While Jermall has displayed the ability to box from the outside and fight off his jab, any opponent of either Charlo, is probably best suited with attacking and forcing either Charlo to be reactive, as opposed to being the initiators.
Forcing Jermall to be reactive is important because sometimes, he tends to load up on his shots. The “Hitman,” may get lulled into looking for that one power shot to change the fight. If this is a constant theme for Jermall this weekend, Derevyanchenko has the opportunity to outwork and tally up points.
“I’m going to put pressure on him from the beginning. I’m going to use my legs, my jab and combinations to get the win,” Derevyanchenko said. “This is a big fight. When I win, even more opportunities will open up. I’ll be able to unify and take my career to the next level.”
The biggest factor will be experience. Jermall has more fights as a professional and a steady level of opposition faced. His most recent ring outing against Matt Korobov for example, was a great learning experience. However, having faced Jacobs and Golovkin, many pundits believe Derevyanchenko’s experiences against his list of high-level opposition will serve him well in the fight this weekend.
Derevyanchenko will have to start fast, something he didn’t do against Jacobs or Golovkin, as he cannot afford to fall too far behind on the cards. Jermall represents a different type of fighter with his combination of skills, power and accuracy. He also displays a greater measure of discipline, compared to his earlier fights. Derevyanchenko will have to lean on his experiences and make the adjustments round after round, minute after minute, punch after punch.
Following the cue from Korobov, Derevyanchenko will have to use range effectively to frustrate and neutralize Jermall’s offense. Feint, smother, get outside far from Jermall’s comfort zone and repeat. Illustrate why he is regarded as the technician.
The last factor to consider, is the twin effect. Because they’re so close and are both passionate people, it can be quite the task managing emotions, while preparing for a fight only hours apart.
Both brothers admittedly remarked on the difficulties of preparation while worrying about the other. Granted, it can also be inspirational, but there can be negatives aspects as well.
At stake for Jermall Charlo is the chance to grab a firm hold of the middleweight division. With Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s absence, uncertainty with Demetrius Andrade and Gennady Golovkin’s perceived unwillingness to participate in unification’s with anyone not named the aforementioned Alvarez, the two-division world champion wants to exercise his dominance at 160 lbs., before moving up in efforts to conquer the super middleweight division.
“I’m stronger, I’m smarter, I’m better than I used to be,” Jermall said. “He’ll [Sergiy Derevyanchenko] come straight at me and fight. Everyone is doubting me. They are doubting me. I’ve been doubted for years. There’s no anger here.”
“I don’t care what they say about me. I don’t care what they think about me. I’m a fighter. I challenge myself. Hey, I’m the best in the world.”
Jermell Charlo seeks redemption (from the last PBC Charlo Twin headliner) and wants to show the world who the best Jr middleweight is.
“When you think of a lion, you think of family and vicious animals. You have to fight for it,” Jermell said. “We took the road when we was younger and made it out. From where I’m from, not many kids make it out.”
“Rosario, he is just one man and I am just one man. If you are better than me, beat me. You may think it’s just that easy, it ain’t that easy. I want all the belts and right now, I feel like I’m the king of the division.”
Both brothers face stiff tests this weekend. The action in the ring will more than likely match the intrigue of the surrounding plots for each participant. We’ll see if Lions do in fact rule the jungle this weekend.
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