Q&A: Jermall Charlo
In early March Jermall Charlo was primed to challenge Carlos Molina for the IBF junior middleweight title. However as we all know, the fight was cancelled days before the bout was scheduled to take place because Molina was arrested for previous infractions.
“It's been back to square one for me,” Charlo told RingTV.com, “but that's part of boxing and I'm learning from it. I'm still young and this is part of my job.”
Charlo (17-0, 13 knockouts) looks to put that disappointment behind him tomorrow night when he meets journeyman Hector Munoz in a 10-round bout.
Jermall, 23, is the older identical twin brother of 154-pound contender Jermell Charlo by one minute. The two aim to rule the junior middleweight division in a manner similar to the Klitschko brothers.
Charlo-Munoz will be part of a Showtime Extreme broadcast that starts at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT and also features U.S. 2012 Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr. and Brazilian Olympic bronze medalist Yamaguchi Falcao.
The fight takes place at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., and is on the undercard of the Keith Thurman-Julio Diaz welterweight fight.
Anson Wainwright – You were due to fight for the IBF junior middleweight title but for reasons beyond your control the fight with Carlos Molina fell out the week of your title challenge.
Jermall Charlo – Ever since my world title fight fell through (against Carlos Molina, due to Molina's legal issues), it's been back to square one for me. But that's part of boxing and I'm learning from it. I'm still young and this is part of my job. As bad as I wanted it, it came and went. I know I'm gonna get my world title shot sooner or later. They can't keep dodging me forever.
AW – Can you tell us about fight week in Las Vegas prior to the Molina fight, how things were from your point of view?
JC – When I arrived he had just finished the press conference that I wasn’t able to attend because my flight came in later. So I was on fire, I wanted to see him, I wanted to meet him and I wanted to get a chance to see the belt. That’s when I heard the news. Ronnie Shields came to my room and said Carlos Molina went to jail. I laughed and said stop playing, I’m gonna meet him tomorrow, but Ronnie said no he’s really in jail and there’s a chance he might not get out but Al Haymon’s gonna try to work it out and then I heard he got out and heard they re-arrested him due to immigration. I was still startled. It seemed like a party crasher type deal. Stop playing, let’s have this party but Carlos Molina didn’t do his part. I stayed in shape and I’m back here right now so I’m ready to go.
AW – On Saturday you fight for the first time since the aborted title shot, when you face Hector Munoz, what can we expect from you?
JC – I've been training and I'm just excited to be fighting again. I'm hungrier than ever, feel I'm at the top of my game. I set a goal to be a world champion, and that is still my goal. But I am starting all over again.
AW – Molina’s future seems uncertain. In light of what happened, were you promised a fight with at him later this year or a shot at the vacant crown if that were to happen by the IBF?
JC – That’s the rule. On top of that, when you lie to the commissioner, telling them you don’t have any felonies, that’s another thing. I heard he was waiting trial. Obviously, if he can’t defend his title it should go vacant. No. 1 (contender with the IBF) is K9 (Cornelius Bundrage), so I was willing to fight K9, we’re just waiting on the call and waiting on someone getting back with us. If Carlos Molina gets out of jail or he gets out of jail and gets deported, then I would have to go fight him in Mexico because it’s a world championship. I took the bad part of the deal. It is what it is and its part of boxing. I feel like I’ve grown from it.
AW – Presumably you’re looking to take your frustration out on Hector Munoz?
JC – They changed it recently (previously Charlo was scheduled to fight James Winchester). Really, I got ready for the unknown. I’m going to take this frustration out on him. I want to show the fans I’m sharp and that I had deserved the chance to fight Carlos Molina but since I didn’t get that fight I want to show the fans I’m sharp and ready to take on whoever.
AW – Would you say that not fighting Molina for the title could be a blessing in disguise because now you have time to work on a few things and gain more experience?
JC – I want to look on it that way and take it as I can continue to keep learning and growing (from what happened). I really wanted that fight, I feel like I would be a young early champion the world needs right now in the 154 division.
AW – What are your thoughts on the junior middleweight division?
JC – I like the division because it’s entertaining with all the fighters that are there but to be honest I feel like me and my twin brother have an edge on the division. You won’t get a junior middleweight as big as us, fast as us, strong as us and able to make the weight and that’s the key part of it. We’re able to continue to make the weight.
(Erislandy) Lara’s fighting Canelo (Alvarez) so one of them is going to knock each other out of the division. (Demetrius ) Andrade is fighting another guy (Brian Rose). Everyone has a fight coming up. We’re looking to weave our way in, once we get there we’re looking to stay there.
AW – We touched on Canelo-Lara fight. You know Lara quite well and I‘m sure you’ve seen a lot of Canelo. How do you see that fight playing out?
JC – I’ve been on a few Canelo undercards, when he fought (Austin) Trout, when he fought (Floyd) Mayweather, when he recently fought (Alfredo) Angulo. He’s fast, he’s strong, he’s young but Lara’s so crafty and I feel Canelo is so flat footed he won’t be able to keep up with Lara’s movement and the counterpunching. Canelo had a problem with Mayweather’s counterpunching and Lara is just as crafty as Mayweather so I really got Lara coming out with a unanimous decision. I hope all the judges look at it the same.
AW – Who’s your boxing hero and why?
JC – I loved watching guys like Bernard Hopkins. I was actually close to Andre Ward so I got a chance to watch technical styles like that. Obviously, Thomas Hearns, his height and him being a junior middleweight molded me into (having the mentality) like I can do this and I can make the weight like he did.
AW – Lastly do you have a message for the junior middleweight division?
JC – They know me. I’m a force to be reckoned with, keep your eye on me. I train hard every day of the week and I’m ready to go so whoever has the belt and whoever everyone thinks is good I wanna see myself and my twin brother in with them no matter what. I want to get a belt there so I can go ahead and move to 160. We want to take over the division.