The fight year of 2021 has been frustrating at times because of the much-talked-about fights that boxers go back and forth on social media about but rarely seemed to get made, which further frustrates boxing fans.
(Photo credit: Leo Wilson Jr./Premier Boxing Champions)
All and all, though, this year has been pretty good, and really since March when DAZN gave us plenty to cheer about, the recent schedule led by Showtime has shaped up quite nicely.
Plenty of Top-5 or Top-10 matchups, unifications, lineal titles, and multiple upsets, and of course, our 2nd undisputed fight of the year is upon us when Jermell Charlo meets Brian Castano at junior middleweight.
This moment at the 154-pound weight class has been building since May 2016 when Showtime had a Tripleheader with both of the Charlo brothers on the card and Erislandy Lara in the main event.
The stumbles along the way have played out organically, giving the sense that every top-tier pairing in the division is a coin flip.
In a way, this in-house PBC 154-pound division has delivered an unofficial tournament of sorts.
Charlo vs. Castano will be broadcasted Saturday night live on Showtime & Showtime App.
Once Jarrett Hurd defeated Erislandy Lara back in 2018, the boxing world greatly anticipated Hurd challenging Jermell Charlo.
That summer, not long after Hurd’s great victory in a spirited brawl over Lara, Charlo defeated Austin Trout in what turned out to be a hard-earned yet clear win.
Hurd ended up getting surgery for his injured shoulder and then took a tune-up to test it out on the undercard of the first fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
Later that December, Jermell Charlo lost a controversial decision to Tony Harrison. The rematch was scheduled for June 2019, the month before that, Jarrett Hurd would lose to Jullian Williams.
Tony Harrison’s ankle injury further delayed the rematch, which Jermell dramatically won via late knockout to close out 2019. And wouldn’t you know it, a month later in 2020, Jeison Rosario upset Jullian Williams.
Last fall Charlo stopped Rosario to collect 3 out of the 4 major belts along with the lineal title to boot.
Brian Castano was caught up in some good ole sanction belts politics but eventually did get to fight for the WBO belt in February against Patrick Teixeria.
Castano easily dominated him to go along with a solid win over Michel Soro back in 2017.
In March of 2019, Castano probably deserved a close point’s win over Erislandy Lara but had to settle for a split-draw instead.
Long story short, this was not a case of over-marinating one fight. It was basically, as previously mentioned, an unofficial 154-pound tourney filled with exciting bouts and surprise upsets.
And now here we are, ready to crown the undisputed champion at the weight class. Hopefully, we get at least one more 4-belt fight coming in 2021.
The boxing world knows very well the trajectory of Jermell Charlo’s career as he built a very nice resume along the way.
Once a fighter who looked to primarily box smart and play it safe, many folks disapproved of his style as a prospect and were much higher on his more powerful and aggressive brother Jermall Charlo.
Since teaming with Errol Spence’s trainer Derrick James, Jermell has turned into a bigger puncher with no hesitation to turn up the pressure on an opponent and go for the knockout.
John Jackson was a come from behind KO, Erickson Lubin and Charles Hatley were devastating one-punch stoppages.
Not to mention his knockouts of Tony Harrison and, most recently, a body shot that had Jeison Rosario gasping for air on the canvas.
From a style standpoint, we should be in for a great action scrap but will Charlo stand and trade for long segments of the rounds?
This boxing podcaster believes we will get short spurts within the rounds that feature the two men exchange.
Also, don’t be shocked if we get a minor flashback from Jermell using his overall skills instead of aiming for a brawl and knockout.
According to compubox, Castano throws the most punches per round in the division, checking in at 84.
Charlo is the least active, sitting at 36 per round, but as we know, Mell makes each one count. As far as how this fight plays out in the ring, I see it as a highly competitive contest.
Stamina, defense, and chins will all be tested, with Charlo needing to find a way to deal with the constant come-forward-minded Castano, and Brian will no doubt have his chin tested.
As we know, Charlo doesn’t lose his power in the deep rounds, those same deep rounds that Castano thrived in down the stretch in his fight against Erislandy Lara.
Look for a slight uptick in Charlo’s punch output, likely coming from the use of his jab more. In that same breath, don’t expect to see Castano hit his average mark of thrown punches per round.
Not to say Castano or Charlo will play it super safe, but the early goings may be a bit tamed, relatively speaking.
Charlo has been out of the ring longer than Castano, so that could play a minor role on a cautious start as well.
One can assume Castano will be the one setting the pace early and quite possible often as he loves to throw his combinations to the head and body.
Jeison Rosario and Tony Harrison are not known for punches in bunches per see, yet both were able to cut the ring off on Charlo and have success, especially Harrison.
A more defensive boxer in Charlo will use his jab and feet to keep Castano guessing and also chasing Charlo rather than being able to sit down and throw combos while Jermell is on the rope.
How many times each round will we see Castano trap Charlo in a corner or put him directly on the ropes? This is a key question, and while we’re at it, how will Charlo respond to that scenario if it happens often?
If Charlo can turn Castano physically and/or pivot to escape his trap, the result will be a wider advantage on the scorecards for Jermell. If Charlo shells up in earmuff mode, it will be a long and brutal fight.
Castano will get him in the way of offense. It’s just a matter of how many rounds can play out in his favor.
Defensively speaking, Castano has too many flaws, normally resorting to the use of a general high guard that offers too large of a target, and for this boxing hardcore, that will be the story of the fight in the end.
Charlo will eventually walk Castano into something flush and hard; now, whether that ends the fight or not, it will change it in favor of Charlo.
Let’s chalk this fight up to 8-4 or 7-5 shoot, maybe even 6-6, with the more powerful punches landing for Charlo.
If Charlo doesn’t score a late stoppage, Jermell will at least have Castano hurt more than once and likely add a knockdown or two.
My Official Prediction is Jermell Charlo by Majority-Decision or Late TKO.
Side Note: Keep an eye on the undercard with Rolando Romero faces Anthony Yigit and an interesting matchup in Amilcar Vidal vs. Immanuwel Aleem.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio