Jermall Charlo defended his WBC middleweight world title with an impressive unanimous decision victory over Sergiy Derevyanchenko and solidified his place as one of the best fighters in the division. But can he get the big fights against fellow titleholders Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin? And if he does, can he beat them?
His twin brother Jermell Charlo scored an eye-opening KO of Jeison Rosario to unify three junior middleweight world titles. But is he the king at 154?
Earlier in the day, unified junior welterweight world titlist Josh Taylor demolished Apinun Khongsong in a first-round KO victory, and seems to be more than ready to face fellow unified titleholder Jose Ramirez for the undisputed championship.
John Riel Casimero sent a message to fellow bantamweight titlist Naoya Inoue with a tremendous third-round TKO victory over Duke Micah. A fight with Inoue is the best fight that could be made in the division.
Mairis Briedis won the IBF cruiserweight title in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series, with a decision victory over Yuniel Dorticos. Can Briedis become as successful as other WBSS winners like Taylor, Oleksandr Usyk and Naoya Inoue?
Steve Kim, Ben Baby and Nick Parkinson share their thoughts on Saturday’s fights.
Jermell Charlo left no doubts
Jermell Charlo, left, sent Jeison Rosario three times to the canvas en route to an eighth-round KO victory. Amanda Westcott/Showtime
Even though he was a world tiutlist coming into Saturday’s fight, Jermell Charlo couldn’t really afford to lose to Jeison Rosario. Charlo responded with a career performance and picked up an eighth-round stoppage against Rosario and unified three of the four major belts in the junior middleweight division.
Charlo (34-1, 18 KOs) never even came close to suffering his second loss in four fights. And with three knockdowns against Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KOs) and three straight stoppage wins since a Dec. 2018 loss to Tony Harrison, Charlo proved he’s still a major player in the 154-pound weight class.
The Houston native will still have plenty of things to work on. One could argue he needs to throw tighter punches at a higher volume. But Charlo has the belts and the victories to show where he stands. And he’s definitely not the same fighter that he was two years ago. — Ben Baby
“Just leave me alone at 154,” Charlo said in his post-fight interview. “I’m the man.”
Is Jermall Charlo an elite middleweight?
Jermall Charlo, left, won a hard-fought battle against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, right, to retain his WBC middleweight world title. Amanda Westcott/Showtime
If there were any doubts about Jermall Charlo’s legitimacy as a champion, they were erased against Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Against the toughest opponent of his career, Charlo dominated arguably the top middleweight challenger. Charlo’s strength and accuracy carried him in a 116-112, 117-112, 118-110 unanimous decision in Saturday’s Showtime PPV.
“I passed the test,” Charlo said in the post-fight interview on the Showtime PPV.
Charlo didn’t just pass. He aced it.
Charlo did a great job controlling distance throughout the fight and imposing his size advantage against the smaller Derevyanchenko, who was unable to close the distance as much as he needed in order to give Charlo true problems.
Charlo’s straight shots and accuracy allowed him to be dominant against someone who gave Gennadiy Golovkin all he could handle and lost a close split decision to Daniel Jacobs.
After Saturday’s performance, it’s time for Charlo to get a unification title fight against Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez. If boxing’s power brokers can make that fight happen, that could be a potential megafight. Charlo showed he has the skills to hang with Golovkin and Alvarez. This would be a terrific fight in late 2021. — Ben Baby
Can Ramirez defeat this version of Taylor? Who looked better in their wins, Taylor or Ramirez?
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Taylor-Ramirez promises to be a close fight, an intense tussle between two pressure fighters. But Taylor will enter the fight off the back of a more impressive line of form, and a better last performance.
Taylor did a better job on Viktor Postol in 2018 than Ramirez managed last month, and Taylor’s last three wins have been superior to Ramirez’s last three, which included two majority decisions. Taylor dropped Postol on his way to an unanimous decision verdict, while Ramirez had to settle for just a majority decision win.
When comparing their most recent fights, Taylor looked devastating when he wiped out Apinun Khongsong with a short left to the body in the first round on Saturday. Taylor outpointed reigning and unbeaten world titleholder Ivan Baranchyk and Regis Prograis last year, and looked razor sharp against Khongsong. If Taylor shows the same finishing instinct, and the relentless aggression he showed against Regis Prograis last October, along with his array of effective combinations, he beats Ramirez.
Taylor has showed in recent fights he has more shots in his armory than Ramirez, and that could be decisive.
However, if the unification fight takes place in California, in front of fans, it could give Ramirez a slight, but crucial, edge. — Nick Parkinson
Who impressed you the most from the undercard fights?
Bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero hopes to get a unification fight against Naoya Inoue next. Amanda Westcott/Showtime
John Riel Casimero. It’s not just that he beat an undefeated fighter in Duke Micah — Casimero absolutely destroyed him. Whatever Casimero lacks in true, classic technique, he more than makes up for in intent and power. His style is very simple: swing hard, you might hit something.
And he just continually does that, again and again and again.
Not only does Casimero have legitimate power, he has a fun personality and a violent style inside the ring. After tonight, more than ever I want to see him against fellow bantamweight titleholder Naoya “Monster” Inoue. That would be a great fight for boxing. — Steve Kim
Can Mairis Briedis be as successful as previous winners of the WBSS (Josh Taylor, Naoya Inoue, Oleksandr Usyk)? Does he have a future as a heavyweight?
Mairis Briedis, left, defeated Yuniel Dorticos, right, to win the Muhammad Ali trophy in the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight final. Courtesy World Boxing Super Series
Winning the WBSS cruiserweight tournament — in addition to the IBF title –is a great achievement for Briedis. But the reality is that he’s already 35, and given his height (listed at 6-foot-1) I just don’t see Briedis as a heavyweight.
His future is more likely a run at cruiserweight against the other titleholders and perhaps an attempt to unify the division. At the moment, he has to be considered the best cruiserweight in the world, and a solid favorite over the other current belt-holders. — Steve Kim
Is Eddy Reynoso a good fit for Luis Nery?
Luis Nery, left, won the vacant WBC junior featherweight title with a decision victory over Aaron Alameda, right. Amanda Westcott/Showtime
By the seventh round of Luis Nery’s battle with Aaron Alameda for the vacant WBC junior featherweight title I had one question: was there any way to cut this fight to an eight rounder? Because it was that monotonous.
It wasn’t that Alameda was a terrible fighter, to the contrary. Alameda is a good boxer, but he never really posed a threat to Nery, who had a distinct advantage in power. And that’s what separated the two. While many rounds were relatively close, it was Nery who got the nod given that his punches were doing more damage.
But this fight begs the question: Is Eddy Reynoso — who’s done a masterful job in developing Canelo Alvarez — the right trainer for Nery, who is an aggressive, offensive-minded fighter. This question was posed on Twitter, and honestly, it’s difficult to deny that Reynoso — like many other trainers — is one that excels at working with a more technical fighter. This is not an indictment of him, sometimes there are just bad fits.
Nery is a talented fighter. Reynoso an elite trainer. They just may not be meant for one another. — Steve Kim