In many cases, the term unification in the sport of Boxing usually means when the best fighters in a given weight class, who each hold a claim to a world championship are pitted against each other to determine who is the best. Such was the case on September 26th in Uncasville, CT when WBC Jr. Middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo met unified WBA/IBF world champion Jeison Rosario. A fight that headlined the second portion of a unique doubleheader concept that also featured Jermell's twin brother Jermall in the headline bout of the card’s first portion.
The bout between Jermell Charlo and Jeison Rosariodid not just bring two world champions together to unify three of five recognized world championships in the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division, but as always seems to be the case in Boxing a unification bout like this could well lead to more lucrative opportunities for the winner down the road. In large part, this fight turned out to be the tactical encounter that this observer thought it would be going into it.
A misconception that some might have whenever the word tactical is used in describing a fight is that it could be translated as not the most entertaining to watch. While this fight was not necessarily fought at a high pace, what was entertaining was watching how calm Jermell Charlo was over the more aggressive Rosario. This allowed Charlo to pick his spots and make the most out of the punches he threw rather than trying to outwork Rosario over the course of the fight. It was this approach that allowed Charlo to score knockdowns of Rosario with short hooks to the head in rounds one and six.
Although he was consistently aggressive and pressed forward through much of the fight, Rosario was following Charlo rather than dictating the tempo of the combat. Despite this, Rosario was able to land some effective punches to the body of Charlo throughout. He just couldn’t land with consistency in my view to turn the ebb and flow in his favor. Perhaps ironically, it would be a jab to the body of Rosario that would end the fight in the eighth round giving Jermell Charlo the victory and status as a unified world champion.
While it is rare to see a knockout come as a result of a jab, the most elementary of punches in a fighter’s arsenal, it is important to keep in mind that any type of punch can end a fight if it lands in the right spot at the right time. This is especially true when it comes to body punches that if they land in a sensitive spot it can not only cause damage, but it can also effect a fighter’s breathing where it makes it almost impossible to get up from a knockdown to continue battle as was the case when Bernard Hopkins knocked out Oscar De La Hoya with a perfectly placed left hook to the body in their Middleweight world championship unification bout in September 2004. Essentially, this is what happened to Rosario in this fight as once the punch landed it had an impact on his breathing and he was unable to beat the count.
In what was a statement making performance for Jermell Charlo, the question now becomes whether he will pursue a bout against WBO Jr. Middleweight world champion Patrick Teixeira, current IBO world champion Erislandy Lara to attempt to fully unify the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division or will he turn his attention to the 160lb. Middleweight division where his brother Jermall currently competes. This observer sees viable options in both divisions for Jermell Charlo, but in terms of the immediate future, I believe it is most likely that he will face top contender Erickson Lubin, who won an elimination bout on September 19th to become the WBC’s mandatory challenger in the Jr. Middleweight division in his next fight before deciding on which lucrative opportunity he wants to pursue. For now, Jermell Charlo did what he had to do in unifying three of five world championships in the Jr. Middleweight division and by doing so in impressive fashion, his stock can only go up as 2021 approaches.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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