The middleweight division, 160 pounds, will soon be welcoming a new contender. In an effort to prove this is a sport for ‘Lions Only’, simply the “Future of Boxing” Jermall “Future” Charlo, 25-0, 19 KO’s, will be making the leap from the junior middleweight division where he held the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title. Charlo is coming off probably the most satisfying win of his career as he dispatched of Julian Williams in 5 rounds back in December of 2016. Charlo showed that he was a force to be reckoned with a junior middleweight but his struggles to make the 154 pound limit let him to deciding to make the jump up a division. This, though, adds a ton of new interest to the middleweight division as I view Charlo as an immediate threat and at worst the 4th or 5th best middleweight off of merit alone.
Leading up to the fight with Williams, many pundits considered Williams the favorite to win though Charlo had the better resume. Charlo decidedly proved all doubters wrong and his emotions were at a high after the fight. High enough to nearly get him booed out of the arena, though I love when fighters show emotion and Charlo handled it very well. A few things that Charlo showed in this fight is that he has much resolve, he has a solid set of whiskers, he has an elite level jab, and will likely be even stronger at middleweight when he no longer has to struggle to cut down as much. The reigning kingpin at 160 pounds needs no introduction. He’s none other than Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, also known as Triple G. Triple G for sure has a fight coming up with Daniel Jacobs on March 18. After that we either will or will not get Triple G Vs Canelo Alvarez as there have been mixed signals as to whether the fight is officially signed.
For the purpose of this article we’re going to rule both Golovkin and Alvarez out as potential opponents. That being said, there are some great choices for Charlo for a first fight at middleweight. One worthy opponent is Hassan N’Dam. N’Dam holds a win over the formidable Curtis Stevens and has been in the ring in losing efforts with David Lemieux and Peter Quillin. N’Dam, a legit top 10 contender, has always shown grit and would be a perfect gauge for where Charlo stands in terms of the pack at 160. N’Dam, riding a four-fight win streak, last fought this past December and would seemingly fit perfectly into the time-frame for which Charlo is looking to make his 160 debut.
Another fight that would be as entertaining in the ring as outside of the ring during the buildup is a match against Chris Eubank, JR. Despite fight at super middleweight, 168 pounds, in his last fight, Eubank, JR., has stated that he can still make 160. A fight against Charlo would be entertaining for as long as it lasts. The two explosive fighters would make for a great match-up here in the U.S., or over in the U.K. I’d argue that it might be even bigger in U.K., as Eubank, JR., has built of a following. I’m not sure of either fighter’s willingness to travel over the pond but for the right price I’m sure they’d be open and would without a doubt focused to the highest degree.
There’s also Billy Joe Saunders. Saunders is the current World Boxing Organization (WBO) middleweight champion. I’m sure some pundits would have an issue with Charlo getting an immediate title shot having not fought at 160, but I think he’s worthy. Saunders last fought in December and is without a fight at the current moment. This is another fight that would be big in the U.K. Saunders has only fought once since picking up the WBO title in December of 2015 and is in need of an opponent who will provide a necessary spark. Charlo would fit the billing and I for one would consider Charlo the favorite.
Should Charlo be looking for a more under the radar opponent who would provide a good challenge then there is Willie Monroe, JR. Monroe has fought consensus #1 middleweight Triple G and put up a decent effort before being stopped in the 6th round. Additionally, Monroe is very experienced and would be challenging with his movement and footwork. This fight may be the easiest to get made out of all of them as Monroe hasn’t fought since September 2016, and would seemingly be reveling at the opportunity to spoil Charlo’s middleweight debut.
I think that this move to 160 will build Charlo’s fanbase even further and if he were to fight one of the two fighters mentioned above in the U.K., that would be an even greater boost to his fanbase worldwide. There are also other fighters who have matches coming up that would be good foes later down the road such as “Irish” Andy Lee and David Lemieux or Curtis Stevens once he’s well. 160 has without a doubt been upgraded with Charlo’s addition. Hopefully boxing fans will get some of these interesting match-ups that can be made. After all, no fight was ever won on paper.Contact the Feature Writers