By Bill Tibbs
Jermell and Jermall Charlo, Texas’ fighting championship twins will be co-headlining a PBC on FOX card from the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York.
Jermall, who captured the (interim) WBC middleweight title last April when he stopped Hugo Centeno Jr., will defend his belt against former world title challenger Matt Korobov.
Originally, Charlo was set to face former ( two-time) world title challenger Willie Monroe Jr. However, Monroe failed a recent drug test and was removed from the card.
Korobov will be stepping up to the plate for a 2nd time in a championship bout having lost in a title attempt facing Andy Lee in 2014.
After making three defenses of his IBF junior middleweight title, a belt he won when he stopped Cornelius Bundrage in 2015, Charlo captured the 160-pound strap when he stopped Hugo Centeno Jr. in only his 2nd fight as a middleweight in April of this year.
Undefeated and entertaining, Charlo is looking to take that next step into the elite level of PPV fighting and line up bouts against middleweight stars like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. But, to secure those mega-bouts he knows he just has to keep winning and winning impressively.
This bout might look like a stay-buy title defence for Charlo. But, Korobov is going in as the decided underdog, and has little to lose, which can make him a dangerous opponent.
Maxboxing caught up with Charlo trainer, and former world title challenger, Ronnie Shields, to get his thoughts on his undefeated charge’s title defence and where he sees his fighter as he heads into 2019.
“Well, we aren’t looking past Korobov, that is for sure, we train for every fight like it is the toughest fight of our career and that is why Jermall always comes into the fight ready and in great shape”, he said, “we don’t believe in ‘stay busy’ fights”, said the Houston-based trainer.
Charlo’s transition into the middleweight division was probably long overdue and Shields is very happy with how Charlo has transitioned into the 160-pound class.
“Look Bill, I have no idea how he made the 160-pound limit the last couple of fights to be honest”, he said. “The guy was just killing himself to make weight. He would have been up to 160 earlier but he was so heated by the comments that Julian Williams was making, he said to me, ‘let me make this one title defence, one more, I’ll make the weight to get to Williams’; he really wanted to shut him up. After that he was more than ready to move up to 160. If it wasn’t for Williams he would have moved up sooner”, he said. “It was time, his body had been telling him for a while that it was time to move up”.
With 4 title defences at junior middleweight, and now in his 2nd championship bout at 160-pounds, Charlo certainly has the resume to be awarded a fight against one of the division’s stars like “GGG” Golovkin or Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (who also added the 168-pound title to his collection at Madison Square Garden in New York last Saturday night).
“Of course there a lot of great fights to be made at middleweight”, he said. “But sometimes fights are hard to make depending on which promoter you are with. The business side of boxing, you know how it is”, he continued. “We are on a great platform with the PBC, and that is who we are going to fight for”, he said. “I believe that if GGG had won that last fight he would have faced Jermall in his next fight, I do believe that”, he said. “But, hey, we are going to get a title shot against one of the other champions, one of the bigger names, I believe he will absolutely get one in 2019 and when he does get his shot he will be ready and he will win”, said Shields.
Shields was asked if he wanted to make any predictions for this coming Saturday.
“I’m not really one to make predictions”, he said. “But, I can tell you that Jermall is ready to go 12-rounds if he has to and he is prepared and ready to put the punches together to take him out if the opportunity arises”, he said. “Jermall is always ready for anything, that is what we train for. I do know he’s ready as he always is, he trains for a hard fight no matter who he is fighting and he trains to win and that is what he’ll do Saturday”, said Shields.