By: Hans Themistode
There’s a certain shine that comes with a 30-0 record. Yet for WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo, his undefeated mark has always been viewed in a less pristine manner.
With 22 knockouts throughout his career, the 30 year old Houston native has run through his competition. But while the highlight reel stoppages have earned him routine trips on the ESPN Top 10 platform, it has seldom gotten him respect from the boxing fans.
With noncompetitive wins during his run to a world title at 154 pounds, Charlo could hear the disappointment with every opponent that was chosen. Even with victories over former champions Austin Trout and Julian Williams, nothing seemed to be enough to earn him the respect he has always wanted.
His run to gold at 160 pounds has been criticized even more as it’s been littered with more unknown fighters. Wins over Jorge Sebastian Heiland, Hugo Centeno and Mat Korobov did little to prove himself to his viewers. To make matters worse, Charlo was given the WBC middleweight title after President Mauricio Sulaiman elevated then titlist Canelo Alvarez to the still confusing Franchise Champion.
With five uninspiring middleweight contests under his belt, Charlo will face the toughest fight of his career when he takes on former two time title challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko on September 26th, on pay-per-view.
The announcement of his opponent, who is rated number one in the WBC, not only motivates Charlo while training, but it also placates his fans who have constantly criticized his level of opposition.
“This is one of those fights where fans can’t say nothing about the opponent,” said Charlo to Brian Custer on The Last Stand Podcast.
To Charlo’s credit, little can be said about Derevyanchenko as an adversary. In the eyes of many, the Ukrainian born fighter should be a world champion in his own right.
In October of 2018, Derevyanchenko fought for the vacant IBF world title against Daniel Jacobs. An early knockdown in that one saw the 34 year old down on the scorecards early before rallying back in the second half, only to lose via close split decision. In a bit of Déjà vu, Derevyanchenko found himself battling it out yet again for the vacant IBF crown one year later in October of 2019, this time against Gennadiy Golovkin.
Much like his first world title contest, an early knockdown followed by a second half rally was the theme once again, and much like his bout against Jacobs, Derevyanchenko found himself on the losing end of another close decision.
Being labeled a perpetual second place finisher is something the Ukrainian contender wants permanently erased from his name. But while the motivation is high on the side of Derevyanchenko to win his first world title, Charlo is driven for another reason entirely.
A win is just a formality for the two weight world champion, but so is an early night at the office.
“It’s how I’m going to stop him,” explained Charlo. “Me taking on the fight already sent a message, so tune in on September 26th.”