By: Sean Crose
WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo gets to showcase his impressive skill set in front of a hometown audience on Saturday when he defends his belt against Juan Macias Montiel at the Toyota Center in Houston. The bout, which will be aired live on Showtime, is seen as essentially being a tuneup for the 31-0 Charlo. The 22-4-2 Montiel, after all, has never faced anyone of the Texan’s caliber. Even Montiel’s notable win against James Kirkland late in 2020 must be seen in light of the fact that he once feared Kirkland was well past his prime at the time. Needless to say, a Montiel win, though certainly not out of the realm of possibility, would be an enormous upset.
Charlo, after all, is at the point where he may well be the best middleweight in the business. Demetrius Andrade and Gennady Golovkin are certainly no easy outs, but it’s hard to say with complete confidence that either man could best Charlo in the ring at this moment. What’s more, Charlo’s last fight, against the highly regarded Sergiy Derevyanchenko last autumn, was a one sided masterclass on the part of the 31 year old. As Charlo himself says, he’ll take the fights he can to keep active and to earn money. Yet few see Saturday’s bout as presenting much of a challenge for the rising star.
Popular vet Francisco Vargas, who unsuccessfully challenged Miguel Berchelt for the WBC super featherweight crown twice, will be on the Showtime card, as well. The 27-2-2 lightweight will battle the 21-1-1 Isaac Cruz Gonzalez. Although Vargas may be the more well-known of the two, Gonzalez hasn’t lost since his sixth fight, which went down five years and fourteen bouts ago. Vargas’ last fight was a November stoppage of Otto Gamez. Gonzalez’ was last seen in the ring back in March, when he won via unanimous decision against Jose Matias Romero.
Lastly, the 20-1 super bantamweight Angelo Leo will be facing the 25-1 Aaron Alameda in a scheduled 10 rounder. Each man has lost his last fight, which means these fighters have a lot on the line when they answer the opening bell on Saturday night. As both men are 27 years of age, it’s clear that they’re young enough to do well for themselves in the sport – another reason why this fight is quite important for both.
The Jermall Charlo- Juan Macias Montiel card airs on Showtime Saturday night starting at 9 PM Eastern Time.
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