Fight Picks: Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo
On Saturday, undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez will put his titles on the line against undisputed junior middleweight kingpin Jermell Charlo at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The eagerly anticipated showdown will be broadcast live on Showtime Pay-Per-View beginning at 8.00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.
Canelo boasts a cache of outstanding wins over Shane Mosley (UD 12), Austin Trout (UD 12), Erislandy Lara (SD 12), Miguel Cotto (UD 12), Gennadiy Golovkin (MD 12), Daniel Jacobs (UD 12), Sergey Kovalev (KO 11), Callum Smith (UD 12), Billy Joe Saunders (RTD 8) and Caleb Plant (TKO 11).
The 33-year-old is a modern day great, having captured world titles at junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight. The Mexican superstar was upset by Dmitry Bivol (UD 12) but has bounced back by beating Golovkin (UD 12) and John Ryder (UD 12).
Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) beat a host of solid fighters including Gabriel Rosado (UD 10), Vanes Martirosyan (UD 10) and Joachim Alcine (TKO 6) before capturing the vacant WBC title with a come-from-behind knockout against John Jackson (KO 8). Charlo made three defenses – most impressively knocking out Erickson Lubin (KO 1) – but lost his title in controversial fashion to Tony Harrison (UD 12). After one comeback win, he regained the title, struggling at times before knocking Harrison out (KO 11).
Charlo added the Ring, WBA and IBF titles to his collection when he knocked out Jeison Rosario (KO 8). The 33-year-old Texan fought WBO counterpart Brian Castaño to a controversial draw. However, in the rematch be stopped the Argentine fighter in 10-rounds to become the undisputed champion.
Is Canelo (59-2-2, 39 knockouts) starting to slow down after more than 60 fights over a near 20-year professional career? Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) enters the fight on the back of 16 months on the sidelines, hardly the best preparation for the biggest fight of your life. Will he show any signs of ring rust? Canelo attributes his less than stellar recent performances to a wrist injury he suffered in the Plant win. He says it’s 100 percent now. If so, will we get the old version of Canelo? How will Charlo look jumping from 154-168-pounds against one of the best fighters in the world?
Online gambling group William Hill lists Canelo as a slight 1/4 (-400) favorite, while Charlo is priced at 3/1 (+300), the draw is 16/1 (+1600).
Here’s how the experts see it: THE RING
DOUG FISCHER: CANELO KO
“Jermell has the height, frame and athleticism to jump from 154 to 168 and perform effectively, and I expect him to compete on even terms with Canelo for the first half of their match (which will be more chess match than shootout). However, while I believe Charlo will carry 168 pounds well, that doesn’t mean he’s ready to take the punches of an elite fighter like Canelo who has been acclimated to super middleweight for years. Charlo is used to taking the punches of world-class junior middleweights. Canelo is used to taking shots from world-class super middleweights and light heavyweights. I think once the Mexican veteran figures out Charlo’s timing, rhythm, style, game plan, etc., he will put serious pressure — and heap serious punishment — on the Texan. My hunch is that Canelo will stop Charlo any time after Round 7, probably from a body shot.”
ANSON WAINWRIGHT: CANELO UD
“Intriguing fight, undisputed versus undisputed. My big question is which Charlo will turn up, the one that stopped Erickson Lubin, Jeison Rosario and Brian Castano in the rematch or the one who struggled with John Jackson, Tony Harrison or Castano the first time? The former will be a handful, the later will be in for a long night. You’d expect him to be motivated and bring his A game but how much will the 16-month lay off affect him. While Canelo has been busy and although we may well have seen the best of him he’s still better than most. You have to favor Canelo and I think that activity will be key and see him home by unanimous decision in a competitive fight that the Mexican is always a step ahead.”
DIEGO MORILLA: CANELO PTS
“The notion that ‘a good big man will always beat a good smaller man’ is not enough to explain my pick. It’s all about what Charlo has to offer and what Canelo has proved that he can withstand and overcome. A smaller man taking on a bigger fellow will have the speed and mobility advantage, but I am sure Charlo does not have enough of those to worry Canelo. It took Charlo two fights to figure out Castaño, a smaller man that he could have outboxed much more efficiently in the first fight if he had put his tools to work from the start of the fight. Instead, he was erratic at times and vulnerable to Castaño’s two-fisted outbursts in most of the rounds. Canelo has the power and the tools to make those same outbursts last longer and hurt much more. A good fight plan could put Charlo’s age and speed advantage to work and create opportunities to pile up enough points to take the win, but barring a perfect technical and tactical performance by Charlo this is Canelo’s fight to lose.”
MARTY MULCAHEY: CANELO TKO
“This is a very even fight on paper, but I doubt it will transfer on the canvas. While I admire Jermell Charlo’s ambition, I can’t see any advantage he holds aside from maybe hand speed. While it seems, Saul Alvarez has been around forever, he and Charlo are actually the same age while registering nearly twice as many career bouts. Any age-related slippage that Canelo may be experiencing is offset by Charlo not having fought in over a year-and-a-half and moving up two weight classes. I believe this fight will go as most Canelo bouts have, the opponent has early success (in first two rounds) before Alvarez gets rolling and begins to time and wear down his foe with raw power multiplied by constant pressure. Jermell’s feet will help avoid some of that longer, but by seventh or ninth he is hanging on. I am tipping Canelo to get a stoppage victory in the championship rounds.”
RON BORGES: CHARLO PTS
“This is a fascinating matchup. A few years ago, I would clearly lean toward Alvarez but at 33 he has begun to slip, as all great fighters do. The question is how far? Canelo has not been the same since losing to Bivol, a trend I believe is irreversible. Charlo is an aggressive, skilled and hungry opponent with a lethal left hand and the mindset to land it. Eventually he will too often for Álvarez to come up with effective countermeasures. I like Charlo by clear decision.”
NORM FRAUENHEIM: CANELO SD
“On the stage, Jermell Charlo looks bigger. Maybe, he is. But documented intangibles are stacked heavily In Canelo’s favor. He has all the experience at super middleweight, he’ll have a noisy crowd’s support and everything else that comes with his long A-side reign. Maybe he’s in decline. But Charlo will have to prove it, repeatedly and decisively, in his first fight ever at 168 pounds. Expect an aggressive Canelo early. Expect a tired Canelo later. But the Mexican’s durable defensive skill will keep him there, still upright and still smart enough to claim a narrow, probably controversial decision.”
DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER THREE-DIVISION TITLEHOLDER/TV ANALYST): CANELO MD
“I have been waiting for a genuine challenge for Canelo for some time, so here it is, in the shape of Charlo. While Canelo has been able to dominate previous opponents, he will surely not get his own way in this fight. A young hungry lion like Charlo will jump at the chance that has been presented to him surprisingly. In Canelo’s defeat [against Bivol] he was outworked and looked totally disinterested. Has he lost his edge, or will Charlo bring out the best in him? The smart money has to be Canelo on points. Charlo is moving up two-weight divisions and will be very strong as this would be his normal walking around weight. Question is will the weight be a blessing or a curse? I think Canelo wins on points majority decision but not without a scare first.”
TOM GRAY (FORMER MANAGING EDITOR FOR THE RING): CANELO MD
“I was initially bewildered when this fight was made. It was the wrong Charlo, right? Well, I’m beginning to hedge my bets. It’s well known that Jermell was a massive 154-pounder and he should probably have been at middleweight long before now. That being the case, this isn’t as big a jump as it looks on paper, and it’s not like Canelo is a natural super middleweight himself. For me, Canelo is on the slide. He can say he feels young and all the rest of it, but the true evidence is in the ring. The Mexican star was outclassed by Bivol and he was flat in wins over Golovkin (fight three) and Ryder. I’m therefore beginning to believe that this version of Charlo can cause him some real problems. But it’s not all good news for Jermell. It’s Vegas, so Canelo starts with his usual three round lead before the opening bell. While I think Charlo can win more rounds here, I don’t think he can win by enough to convince the officials that he deserves the nod over boxing’s cash cow. I think Canelo wins a controversial decision.”
SERGIO MORA (FORMER JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLEHOLDER/ TV ANALYST): CANELO TKO
“I believe the experience that Charlo got from his back-to-back fights with Castaño prepared him for a short, compact, pressure fighter like Canelo. I see Charlo’s jab, movement and punch selection keeping Canelo at range and in control. But I see this fight going similar to how Kovalev and Plant fight went. I like Canelo by late stoppage in rounds 9 or 10.”
JOLENE MIZZONE (MANAGER): CANELO TKO 10
“My heart wants to go with Charlo, but I can’t follow my heart in this one. I think Canelo is just too big for Charlo and he will break him down the whole fight. Charlo fighting only three times in four years is a very big factor too, boxers can say that doesn’t affect them, but we have seen time and time again it does. Charlo will have no time to get off ring rust with Canelo, he won’t allow him to.”
WAYNE MCCULLOUGH (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/ TRAINER): CANELO TKO
“This should be an interesting matchup. Charlo is moving up two division, from junior middleweight, where he has all four belts. This is a big step to add 14-pounds to his original fighting weight. I see Charlo starting faster and have success early with his left jabs and lefts and rights to Canelo’s head. Canelo will start breaking Charlo down after four or five rounds to begin racking up points. These guys can hurt each other but Canelo should be a little stronger. I think Canelo can get a late knockdown forcing a stoppage around the 10th.”
JOE ROTONDA (MATCHMAKER, MAIN EVENTS): CANELO TKO
“I love this fight for so many reasons, Canelo continues to fight the best guys out their time and time again. He has moved up weight classes so many times in his career to fight the bigger champions and contenders. Now on the flip side, Jermell Charlo will attempt to do what Canelo has done so many times, in what will without a doubt be the biggest fight of his career thus far. For as entertaining as this fight most likely will be, I think it goes either one of two ways. Either Canelo is going to walk him down and cut off the ring, unloading power shots and eventually closing the show in the process. Or Jermell is going to replicate the blueprint used by Dmitry Bivol and stick his jab all night, and box smart and technically for 12 rounds. I think Charlo will have some success early on, but Canelo will eventually break him down and finish this fight inside the distance.”
RICH MOROTTA (COMMENTATOR/ FOUNDER OF THE NEVADA BOXING HALL OF FAME): CANELO TKO
“I’ll start with the premise that Canelo Alvarez is in a slow decline. The key word here is “slow”. He hasn’t fallen off the cliff. With that in mind, I still pick Canelo to win because he is an all-time great facing a good, but far from great, champion. I suspect Charlo will have success early in this fight, 3-4 rounds, before Canelo’s relentless pressure along with natural larger frame and strength, will begin to take hold. The middle rounds will see Saul take command and beat down Jermell. I look for Canelo to stop Charlo somewhere between rounds 7-10.”
ALEX STEEDMAN (COMMENTATOR): CANELO PTS
“The Charlo brothers are both, stylistically, a bad fit for Canelo but the Mexican still operates at a level above Jermell. On another day, Jermall might be a different story. Charlo’s footwork and jab is both better and more consistent than say Plant previously, so he is likely to give Canelo problems for much of the night. But like in the Plant fight, Canelo will work it out and be simply too good. It could go the same way. Sooner or later Canelo will lose to someone like Charlo but perhaps just not yet.”
RAY MANCINI (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/ COMMENTATOR): CANELO
“I think that it’ll be a terrific fight. Movement gives Canelo problems and Charlo moves just enough to cause problems. I’m not sure Charlo hits hard enough to keep Canelo off him, though he cracks pretty good. Overall, I think it’ll be a fast-paced fight after a slow start and Canelo comes out victorious because I think he’s too big and strong.”
RUDY HERNANDEZ (TRAINER): CANELO
“I think this fight can get a little complicated. Charlo is a good fighter as is Canelo. I don’t see it as an exciting fight, I see it more as a technical fight, a chess match. Both will have their moments in a close fight. I see Canelo edging Charlo in this fight. Power punches will be the difference in this boxing match.”
BOB SANTOS (MANAGER/ TRAINER): CANELO TKO
“I give all the credit to Charlo in the world jumping two weight classes. I think in a lot of ways he’s the naturally bigger guy but that said he has never fought in that weight class. Charlo is going to be very live and he has some good punching power and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was able to stun Canelo at some point early on but Canelo I think would weather the storm and continue to break him down little-by-little for a late stoppage.”
CHRIS ALGIERI (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/ COMMENTATOR): CANELO
“I’ve got Canelo. We have weight classes for a reason. It’s a good big man vs. a good smaller man. Also, both men are not the busiest punchers and Canelo has very explosive eye-catching punches. It’s usually slick and active boxers that give Canelo the most issues. Charlo is excellent and I’m excited for this fight actually, but jumping two weight classes to fight a guy like Canelo is a stretch too far.”
ROBERT DIAZ (MATCHMAKER): CANELO KO 10
“When this fight was announced I must say I, like I believe many were, was surprised and thought it was a typo and not Jermell but Jermall. Now weeks away from the fight can say I am excited and believe we have a great fight ahead of us. I believe too much is being made on the weight jump for Jermell. It’s funny Canelo can jump up two or three categories, but his opponents cannot. Lots of respect for Jermell, he is daring to be great and like many before him he is up for the challenge. There are a lot of questions that will be answered in this fight, more from Canelo’s side that Charlo’s. Has he lost a step? Is he close to the end of the line? Has he lost the hunger. In my opinion, no, no, and no. This fight will be exciting and explosive, Charlo will try to box, and Canelo will look to cut the ring and bang it out. In the end it will not be size that determines the winner it will be skill and experience which favor Canelo.”
RAUL MARQUEZ (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/ COMMENTATOR): CANELO TKO 10
“Charlo is daring to be great. He has the height and reach advantage. His speed and jab are the key. Don’t go toe-to-toe with Canelo, keep boxing for 12-rounds. Canelo is very motivated for this fight. Solid, stronger boxer at 168 pounds. Charlo’s movement will give him problems early in fight, but I believe Canelo’s pressure and power will break Charlo in the second half of the fight.”
Final Tally: Canelo 19-1
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