It didn’t take long for the WBO to order newly crowned junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo to defend against his mandatory challenger Tim Tszyu.
The World Boxing Organization ordered Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) and Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs) to begin the negotiation period, giving them 20 days before a purse bid.
Tszyu, 27, hasn’t fought anyone near as good as Jermell, and it’s a considerable step up for him to be taking.
However, there’s a lot to gain for Tszyu in taking on Charlo now because if he beats him, he becomes the undisputed champion at 154 in just one fight. Tszyu wouldn’t have to collect the four belts as Jermell did slowly.
Many fans believe Tszyu needs a few more fights before he’s ready to fight someone of Charlo’s talent level, but unfortunately, he doesn’t have time.
With Jermell expected to move up soon, Tszyu can’t afford to get a few learning fights under his belt before challenging him. It’s now or never for Tszyu as far as fighting Charlo.
If Charlo moves up in weight, Tszyu will wind up fighting Liam Smith for the vacant WBO 154-lb title, and that’s a fight that won’t attract a great deal of interest.
The 33-year-old Smith is a decent contender, but he’s not popular. Tszyu won’t get credit for beating him because he’s already lost to Jaime Munguia, Magomed Kurbanov, and Canelo Alvarez.
Charlo is the undisputed champion at junior middleweight, having captured the WBO belt from Brian Castano on May 14th to pick up the last of the four straps.
Although it’s been talked about Charlo possibly moving up to 160 to beginning in that weight class, staying around a little longer to fight Tszyu has got to be tempting.
It’s a better fight than many of the ones that Charlo has had during his career, and the money would be good. Best of all, it’s one that he can win.
If Charlo moves up to 160 now, he won’t have any notable names to fight him because Gennadiy Golovkin is the only famous fighter in that weight class; he’s arguably become risk-averse since his loss against Canelo in 2018.
Staying at 154 makes a lot of sense for Jermell because he would be in a position to defend against Terence Crawford when he makes a move up. That would be a big money fight for Jermell, and there’s nothing at 160 that could compare.
The only positive for Jermell in moving up to middleweight would be the potential of eventually getting a fight against Canelo. Still, there are no guarantees the Mexican star would give him the opportunity.