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Jermell Charlo says he's primed for his biggest moment


Jermell Charlo already has a lengthy list of accomplishments.

The 31-year-old Houstonian has beaten a string of quality opponents, including Gabriel Rosado, Vanes Martirosyan, Erickson Lubin, Austin Trout, Tony Harrison and Jeison Rosario. The victory over Harrison, an 11th-round knockout, avenged his only defeat. And he has collected three 154-pound titles.

That acknowledged, he’ll a rare opportunity on Saturday in San Antonio: He and Brian Castano will fight to become the first undisputed junior middleweight champion in the four-belt era.

Talk about a defining fight. A victory over Castano, combined with his current resume, could lead some to use Charlo’s name and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the same sentence.

“This is a dream come true,” he said at a news conference Thursday. “I’ve wanted to be undisputed since I was a child because this is the highest you can reach in boxing. Being in this moment really makes me thankful to my whole team who helped me get to this point.

“Now is the time that me and my brother (Jermall Charlo) finally get the opportunity to show the world what we’re worth. This is the moment for us. Opportunities like this don’t come around too often, so I have to go out there and take advantage.

“I’m not old enough to think about the Hall of Fame yet. I’m just focusing on the right now. I have a goal to accomplish that will take 36 minutes or less on Saturday. I’ll look into everything else that this means after Saturday night.”

Castano (17-0-1, 12 KOs) said at the news conference that the pressure is on Charlo, not him. After all, Charlo will be fighting in front of his fellow Texans and he’s favored to win. One might think he has more to lose.

Charlo (34-1, 18 KOs) doesn’t see it that way. Yes, he has what could be a once-in-a-career opportunity. But he’s been in many big fights in his 13-plus-year career. This is nothing new.

“I don’t have any pressure on me,” he said. “I’ve been in this position so many times in my life. If I felt the pressure, I wouldn’t be in this moment. He has to come and do his thing. He has to put the pressure on me and avoid these bombs I’m throwing.

“I can’t predict the future, but just know that I’m stronger and faster than I was before. I just feel like I’m ready. I have power in every punch I throw and I’m thankful for this opportunity to face another champion.”

One unusual trend in Charlo’s career is his recent run of stoppages. A fighter’s knockout rate typically drops as his quality of opposition improves. That’s not the case with Charlo, who has stopped seven of his last nine opponents.

Could Castano be No. 8? Charlo suggested that his foe’s aggressive style could lead to his demise.

“I have the don’t-blink attitude for this fight,” he said. “You never know what could happen at any moment of any round. I’ve knocked people out in just about every round. …

“It’s dangerous for him to come forward and walk into shots. Most opponents that I’ve faced who’ve done that, I’ve put them out. We’ll see if he’s able to stand up to the power.”

If not, Charlo will have taken another significant step in his impressive career.



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