Jermall Charlo demanded a fight with Sergiy Derevyanchenko on Sept. 26
Jermall Charlo, the reigning WBC middleweight titlist and The Ring’s No. 3-rated middleweight, wanted to make a point. He didn’t have to fight Sergiy Derevyanchenko, The Ring’s No. 4-rated middleweight, as part of the PBC on Showtime PPV doubleheader on Sept. 26 (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT/$74.95) at the Mohegan Sun resort in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Making his main event pay-per-view debut, Charlo (30-0, 22 knockouts) has made that known.
“I told my wife that I’m going to come home with little dings and don’t worry, I’m expecting a fight,” Charlo said. “I think I’m the best in the world. I’m sure Sergiy feels he’s the best in the world, too. I haven’t left the gym since February. I’ve been locked in.
“I wanted this fight. I told Al Haymon, I told (trainer) Ronnie Shields, that I wanted them to challenge me. I wanted them to give me the opportunity to be me. I’m ready. I want to get in that bitch and fight. I’m prepared for the distance. If he can’t take the power, I’ll finish him off.”
Derevyanchenko trainer Andre Rozier wanted to make his point, too. Rozier applauded Charlo on his ability to talk. But Rozier stressed the fight will be determined with fists, not talk.
“Jermall has shown that he’s definitely maturing and I have no animosity towards any fighter walking this planet,” Rozier said. “Jermall seems like he’s ready to rock. I’ll see my big bro, Ronnie Shields, and he doesn’t play any games.
“I don’t play any games. These young men are going to put themselves on the line. We want them to bring a show.”
Last October, the 32-year-old Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs) lost a close decision to Gennadiy Golovkin. In October 2018, Derevyanchenko lost by split-decision to Danny Jacobs for the vacant IBF middleweight title. In both fights, Derevyanchenko was knocked down in the first round.
“The easy way of not getting knocked down is not get hit,” Rozier said. “I’ve been working on (Derevyanchenko) not being a slow starter. Both of these young men can punch. They have to be on point and they have to be wary.
“I’m expecting 12 hard rounds. I’m preparing him to not get caught. You don’t want your guy to get hit when he’s punching.”
Shields, Charlo’s trainer, showed respect to Derevyanchenko. Shields knows Derevyanchenko’s track record as both an amateur and as a pro.
“We’re looking to fight the best guys out there,” Shields said. “Sergiy is one of the best. We didn’t have to fight Sergiy. He’s ranked number one, but he wasn’t the (WBC) mandatory. Jermall wanted this fight. He said, give me Sergiy. He wanted to fight the best guy in the division.”
Charlo, 30, emphasized his focus has been on what he has to do.
“I’m stronger, I’m smarter, I’m better than I used to be,” Charlo said. “He’ll come straight at me and fight. Everyone is doubting me. They are doubting me. I’ve been doubted for years. There’s no anger here.
“I don’t care what they say about me. I don’t care what they think about me. I’m a fighter. I challenge myself. Hey, I’m the best in the world.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.