Jermell Charlo vows to ‘make a mark’ in rematch against Brian Castano

They’re not necessarily tired of the discourse, knowing full well that debate and questioning is part of boxing’s territory.

Still, they’re anxious to end the conversation.

Ten months after battling for a split-decision tie in one of the most defining bouts of 2021, junior middleweight stars Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano meet in a rematch on Saturday night in a renewed bid for division dominance establish (9 p.m., Showtime). .

With a 36-1-1 record and currently three of the four major belts in the division (WBA, WBC, and IBF), Charlo already believes that at 154 pounds he’s not only the best, he should already be climbing the pound. For-pound lists and recognized as one of the greatest in the division. At 31, Charlo has defended his unified world title multiple times and avenged his only loss to Tony Harrison by securing a rematch KO win to regain the WBC title, feats he believes carried him to the knock on the door of the boxing hall of fame.

However, in order for Charlo to enter the exclusive company he desires, there is still important work to be done.

“I’ll show him,” Charlo told the Post. “I’ve got something to prove, man. When I get tired [the criticism] I couldn’t prove anything to you. If I’m tired of listening to what critics say, then I have no reason to keep fighting. I have to have a fight in me, always wanting to do this, keep going, stay hungry, I have to keep wanting this.”

Jermell Charlo
Jermell Charlo
Getty Images

Many of these critics arose after his first fight with Castano. Most observers believed Castano should have gone with the win. Two judges narrowly decided the epic 12-round slugfest, with Steve Weisfeld Castano scoring a 114-113 winner and Tim Cheatham a 114-114 tie. However, Nelson Vazquez’s card immediately took the spotlight as he handed Charlo a 117-111 winner. Even Charlo admitted he was surprised by the much-mocked scorecard, as the overall lead in the fight seemed razor-thin.

Controversy over Vazquez’s score and the feeling that Castano, who is currently the WBO champion, was the worthy winner only increased in the weeks following the fight. The lack of clarity about the division’s top dog and the nature of the decision in the July 17 classic didn’t sit well with either Charlo or Castano, and both immediately rushed to get a rematch on the books.

“I just wanted a rematch because I knew I wanted to prove I was one of the greats in the division,” Charlo said. “And I’m one of the best that can do that. They’re already tossing my name up there with some of the best and if they don’t put me on the pound for pound lists then there’s a reason. So I’m gonna make her hate me anyway. That’s it, plain and simple. I want to be one of the greatest, I want to go straight to the top. I want to fight one of the best. And if that’s the case, that’s all I have to do, I have to do this.

Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano
Both Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano felt they deserved to win the first fight.
Getty Images

Charlo is coached by the acclaimed Derrick James, who most recently helped Errol Spence become a three-belt welterweight champion of the world. The lingering perception from the first fight – that Castano has already defeated Charlo – plays straight into their laps.

“The advantage we might have has to do with Brian Castano,” James told the Post. “How he thinks he’s going to knock out Jermell, that’s an advantage for us.

“Castano will be wilder. This time he will be more aggressive. If you expect the best version of him, that makes you better. That allows you as a fighter to rise to the occasion. That in itself will make Jermell better.”

Jermell Charlo trains with trainer Derrick James ahead of his fight with Brian Castano.
Jermell Charlo trains with trainer Derrick James ahead of his fight with Brian Castano.
Courtesy of Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

The planned rematch in March was postponed after Castano sustained a bicep injury in training. That just left more time to talk about the first fight, who deserves to win, and festering down the division’s hierarchy.

On Saturday, the division’s sovereignty should become evident, with the winner stepping out of the ring as the first undisputed junior middleweight champion of the four-belt era. Before the classification change, Charlo would have been considered undisputed or best in class, but has yet to secure all four belts. He already had the opportunity to do so, but has to wait again for the promised victory.

Charlo and James were okay with the process, but now they’ve waited enough. With a win, they achieve so much of what Charlo wants most.

“I need this win to prove I’m the undisputed champion,” said Charlo. “I have to put my stamp on that. I can’t just walk in and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m the champion.’ No, I really have to be the champion. I’m the champion, I’m the man, but only that one belt holding me up, otherwise I would have been undisputed before. I would have been uncontested but this isn’t the old days, we have to live in our generation so I just go with the flow. But I agree with that. I’m cool with the attitude that I have to move on.

“I feel like fighting me twice is more dangerous for your career. It’s getting more dangerous.” Jermell Charlo vows to ‘make a mark’ in rematch against Brian Castano


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