Another Saturday, another big boxing match.
The tremendous run of big boxing matches continues on Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA. Topping a Showtime Championship Boxing tripleheader is an undisputed junior middleweight title rematch between WBA, WBC, and IBF champion Jermell Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) and WBO champion Brian Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs).
Last year these two fought to a fairly controversial draw in what was undoubtedly one of 2021’s best fights. There is no definitively telling which way the rematch will go, but we’re glad it’s happening and at a venue known for hosting many classics over the years. Let’s take a deeper look at this second showdown.
Charlo may only be 31 years old, but he’s been a professional since 2007. He didn’t break through as a world champion until 2016, when he took the vacant WBC junior middleweight title by bizarre TKO over the reprehensible John Jackson. At this point in time, it was his twin brother Jermall Charlo who had the reputation for being the harder puncher, but Jermell’s fairly low KO rate shouldn’t deceive anyone. Emphatic finishes of Charles Hatley and Erickson Lubin really elevated his profile, but he lost his title in shock fashion to Tony Harrison in December 2018.
Following a demolition job on Jorge Cota, Charlo got his belt back with a dramatic 11th round TKO of Harrison in their 2019 rematch. He became a unified champion with multiple knockdowns and an eventual KO of Jeison Rosario in his PPV main event debut, and obviously his efforts to become undisputed will need a second go-round with Castano.
Argentina’s Castano was an amateur standout and even defeated Sergiy Derevyanchenko in World Series of Boxing, which is like a bridge of sorts from amateur to professional. Really those fights should be considered pro bouts when you think about it. Anyway, Castano’s pro career is not all that deep in terms of career fights, but in his highest profile bouts he’s stepped up to the occasion. He’s one of only two men to defeat talented Frenchman Michel Soro, and after stopping Cedric Vitu he went to a highly entertaining draw with Erislandy Lara. His big moment in the sun came when he dominated Patrick Teixeira to win the WBO title.
Castano was the underdog against Charlo last year and he was in enemy territory in Jermell’s home state of Texas. I personally scored the fight for Castano but Charlo finished strongly and the end result was a split draw that had a glaringly bad 117-111 Charlo score. If you haven’t seen the highlights of Charlo vs. Castano I, please do!
What we can conclude from their first matchup is that Charlo is more likely to hurt Castano and knock him out than the reverse. Castano stunned Charlo early but Charlo repeatedly hurt Castano in the closing rounds of their contest. Charlo is a lower volume puncher who throws with more venom. Castano likes to pressure, has an impressive workrate, and he goes to the body at a great frequency. If it’s in close then Castano has the edge, whereas Charlo really does good work out at distance.
I just have a feeling that Castano is going to pull this off. You would think Charlo has the edge given how well he adjusted in the Harrison rematch, and if he can cut off Castano’s pressure and aggression that heavily tilts the fight in his direction. That said, it’s hard to ignore how willing Charlo was to concede that pressure and he lost a lot of the resulting exchanges. And for all of Castano’s instances of getting rocked, he never went down and perhaps may feel like he can take Jermell’s best shots. The DraftKings Sportsbook odds have Castano as a +170 underdog... screw it, gimme the underdog. Brian Castano by decision.
What’s on the undercard?
- Watch for undefeated welterweight contender Jaron “Boots” Ennis (28-0-1 NC, 26 KOs) against Canadian Olympian Custio Clayton (18-0-1, 12 KOs). Ennis is a switch hitter from Philadelphia who could be the next great boxing talent. At just 24 years old he has established himself as a terrific fighter and has both fantastic boxing skills and I’d wager his power is elite. Clayton is a tough out in this IBF title eliminator; wins over Johan Perez and Cameron Krael are among his best pro moments but he also went to a draw with Sergey Lipinets (whom Ennis knocked out in his career best performance). I love this matchup and while Ennis is heavily favored, Clayton may spring a surprise or two.
- Mexican junior featherweight Kevin Gonzalez (24-0-1, 13 KOs) makes his US debut against Puerto Rico’s Emanuel Rivera (19-2, 12 KOs). This fight is just there and presumably there’s the allure of the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry, because neither of these guys are close to serious contention.
Charlo vs. Castano II airs live on Showtime at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT. We’ll have live coverage of the main event!