There’s a storm watch gathering over central Texas enveloping into a tornado and satellite tracking has it headed northeast to Brooklyn New York. Barclay’s Center of Brooklyn will host Jermell Charlo defending his WBC junior middleweight title for first time over #2 ranked Charles Hatley on April 22nd. This fight is co-feature to main event hosting headliner welterweights Shawn Porter Vs Andre Berto in a final eliminator for a mandatory WBC shot at Keith Thurman. While Porter’s name carries the most clout on Barclay’s marquee, the Charlo fight should have been the main event.
There isn’t bad blood brewing in this fight as well as the expected rivalry when young warriors prepare for battle of real estate and leather belts. Jermell is in dire need to keep focused and turn back the challenge of a man who is every bit as equally gifted inside the ring. Charles has earned his way up the ranks and now not just seeking the keys to the kingdom but also Texas bragging rights. The champion hails from Houston Texas while his challenger lives in Dallas.
When it comes to handicapping this bout it is difficult as it gets to predict a winner in a 50/50 pick-‘em match up. It’s not just size, record, and experience that plays into quotient but their styles will blend seamlessly inside the ring with neither have a superior edge in skill.
On paper this one shapes up to be the action fanfare type bout that has elevated Barclays to be a notable force of boxing entertainment of East Coast stealing many big fights that used to be headed to Atlantic City. Jermell has a slightly more famous twin brother Jermall who has arrived to the big time ahead of schedule and already has made three successful defenses of his IBF junior middleweight title. Jermall would be the easy 4/1 favorite in this bout as he conducts business on a more “Hearnsesque” scale by utilizing his jab more and setting up his power punches with conviction but the glory this night will fall on Jermell’s shoulders alone to prove he too can rise to the next level towards greatness.
Charlo is billed as “Ironman”. The 26 year old and stands 5’11” from orthodox stance. He has a good wingspan of 73” and boasts an unblemished record of 28-0, 13 KO’s. In his previous bout, he won vacant title from John Jackson last May by 8th round stoppage.
Hatley uses “The Future” as his moniker and surrenders four years in age at 31 but with equal experience. Charles stands 5”10” with a 72” reach. Another orthodox fighter whose slightest disparity of size and reach should not factor into equation. His respectable record stands at 28-1-1, 26 KO’s. Charlo’s previous bout was an 11th stoppage victory over well-traveled Anthony Mundine. The one glaring fault on his ledger and possibly the tie breaker is a stoppage loss to unheralded Lanardo Tyner who KO’d him in less than two minutes of a scheduled 10 rounder back in 2012.
Charlo has good balance and fights with a high tight guard protecting his chin and temple. He backs up well and utilizes the entire ring. His most proverbial fault that may yet come to haunt him is his lack of the use of his jab. He doesn’t jab his way into pocket or use one to gage distance. The timing and rhythm of his bouts is predicated to his footwork gaining access to coveted real estate and then after a customary single jab he opens up his arsenal. The peculiar ponderance of this is that while he has respectable power, he isn’t known as a power puncher nor does he possess one shot KO power.
Hatley has been talking victory with conviction but he will present Charlo with plenty of opportunities for right hand counters as he carries his guard low, especially his left hand. His ability to box and ring generalship will complement the champions skills almost guaranteeing a boxing match where both contestants will be forced to pick their shots with caution more than bravado. He too is a well-balanced fighter but carries more snap and power in his punches testifying to his 26 knockouts.
Foremost will the 17 month layoff affect the challenger and will the rust show in conditioning if expected the fight goes deep in rounds? Can the champion zero in on Hatley’s exposed guard and land enough punches for a stoppage or make a through statement on score cards? Will both those questions be mute considering the challenger will be looking for the knockout and putting an exclamation mark on a win? Gilded with faults having been stopped once himself it would be fascinating if Charles beliefs in his own power will bring him ascension to the throne by stoppage.
What to look for on fight night:
With two orthodox boxers vying for punching position it should be a clean bout sans many clinches or accidental butts. Hatley needs to vary the power behind his punches in order to pick his spots and set traps. Timing and volume will be key for both fighters. The challenger must his jab overtime to gage distance and remember not to leave it dangling in space. Charlo will have the eyes of the boxing world focused on him to see if he is matching up to his brother who already looks to be on another level and headed for greatness. Will the pressure affect him in a hotly contested bout made to measure his mettle not showcase his talents?
Hovering at -1110 for the champion and +650 for the challenger.
Charlo by decision. While the old adage holds true that anything can happen in a prize fight once the first bell rings I think I’ll tip toe over the scenarios and envision the champion winning favor on the judge’s scorecards. It’s possible, but unlikely he’ll jump on Hatley first round to see if he can duplicate what Tyner did a few years back based upon his long absence from ring. There is a dislike between the gents but not venom brewing. I liken it to a rivalry that has come to town for a showdown. The odds indicate Vegas is backing Charlo maybe a tad more than they should based on his name and expecting a “Jermall” type knockout.
In January, Barclays hosted what so far is “the” fight of the year candidate with Badou Jack and James DeGale fighting to a draw with both champions keeping their respective titles. Safe bet here is go with the champion to notch his first successful defense in the books.
Just added to this undercard on 3/30 giving fans more bang for their buck is WBA #1 heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz. The 38 year old southpaw is in a must win situation having been matched with lightly regarded Derric Rossy in a ten rounder. Rossy is a 36 year old Orthodox fighter with a 30-12, 14 KO’s record and having gone 5-9 in his last 14 bouts being stopped in three. This bout is made to showcase Ortiz at his best and keep the rust off. A lethargic decision win will do nothing to enhance Ortiz claim to a title shot even though a couple years back he was highly touted. A shocking loss (100-1) improbability would send him free falling from all ratings.
Tickets to card still available and starting at $54.
Just thinking out loud. I remember when both Vitali and Wlad Klitschko held heavyweight titles and fans clamored for the two brothers to share the same ring for heavyweight supremacy. I wonder how long it will be before the same restless souls seek a 154 pound unification between the Charlo twins?
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