Hugo Centeno Jr. ready for Jermall Charlo: ‘He’s never faced someone like me’
There are few fans who don’t dig the middleweight division, being that two pound-for-pounders are atop that sphere in Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez. Added to the spicy mix is Brooklyner Danny Jacobs, and now that Billy Joe Saunders has confirmed that he is serious about his craft, he too is seen as an ace at 160.
Within sniffing distance of that top of the heap is Texan Jermall Charlo, the “bigger” of the Charlo twins, who debuted at middleweight in July. Charlo downed Jorge Sebastian Heiland in efficient fashion, and there are people out there that think he could be the badass bogeyman of the division, who will inject fear, doubt and insecurity into champs and contenders alike.
Will Charlo ascend to the top of the most avoided list in the sport? Hugo Centeno Jr., for one, would vote “no,” being that he has expressed his willingness to rumble with Charlo.
GGG holds the WBC title currently, and the WBC has asked him to fight a rematch with Canelo Alvarez next. That seems to be on target for May. Charlo is ranked No. 1 by the green belt gang and Mauricio Sulaiman and company have decided that Charlo should face the California-based Centeno for the interim middleweight title.
Junior Centeno, trained by his pop, Hugo Sr. and Eric Brown, is advised by Al Haymon. I chatted with the 26-1 (14 KOs) hitter and looked to get a sense if he’s eager to follow the WBC plans, or would like to pursue other avenues. He is rated No. 4 by the WBC, after Charlo, No. 2 Canelo and No. 3 Jacobs.
Centeno’s year in boxing 2017 wasn’t characterized by busyness, but he did conjure solid buzz in his sole outing; dropping and stopping Immanuel Aleem in Round 3 in Miami.
So, is the 26-year-old wanting a Charlo clash, or does he have an alternate route to dive into 2018?
“I’ll fight them all! Just waiting for the fight to actually be made, just a rumor right now,” Junior told me. “But I want it! It’s been mentioned as an idea but nothing concrete. Have I watched much Charlo? I’ve only seen his previous fight (versus Heiland in Brooklyn). He’s a great fighter; wouldn’t be where he’s at if he wasn’t. But I think I’m a great fighter and he’s never faced someone like me.”
OK, what does “someone like me” mean?
“That I’m very versatile, I bring a lot of different fighting abilities to the table,” said Centeno. “Orthodox, southpaw, brawl, box. I can do it all.”
I asked what he thinks was his best/most important win.
“I would say my last fight,” Centeno continued. “I fought a very tough undefeated fighter (Aleem was 17-0-1 entering) and what I showed was that I deserve to be fighting amongst the elite.”
My three cents: If made, this Centeno vs. Charlo clash would be welcomed. It’s the sort of tango between two athletes at their physical prime which would be meaningful. The stakes are this: the winner, winning in conclusive fashion, elevates themselves, mightily, to another level.
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