By Jim Dower: WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs) will be defending his title against his mandatory challenger Charles Hatley (26-1-1, 18 KOs) on April 22 on the undercard of the welterweight clash between Andre Berto and Shawn Porter on Showtime Boxing from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Charlo is the lighter punching brother of former IBF junior middleweight champion Jermall Charlo, who recently moved up to middleweight. A lot of boxing fans get Jermell mixed up with Jermall. There’s a huge difference between the two fighters. If this were Jermall who was facing Hatley, we’d be looking at a high possibility of a fast knockout. Jermell is a more finesse type fighter with a lot of skills but who rarely knockouts his opponents.
This is the 26-year-old Charlo’s first defense of his World Boxing Council title that he recently won last May in stopping John Jackson by an 8th round knockout. This is a very winnable fight for Charlo. Hatley is a decent fighter, but he’s not the kind of threat to Charlo that Erickson Lubin, Jarrett Hurd, Austin Trout and Julian Williams. Those are all fighters that are ranked in the top 15 by the WBC, and they’re coming after Charlo. If Charlo can’t get a little more punching power, he’s very likely going to lose his WBC title in the very near future if he doesn’t lose on April 22 to Hatley.
Jermell finds himself trying to compete with his brother Jermall’s accomplishments, and that’s going to be hard for him to do because he doesn’t have the same kind of talent. Jermall is a beast of a puncher, and he’s fearless. Jermall fights in a much different way than Jermell does.
There’s a big difference between them. Jermell can’t afford to try and fight like his brother against Hatley because he’ll wind up getting knocked out. Gabriel Rosado and Vanes Maritosyan both gave Charlo all he could handle in their fights with him in 2014 and 2015. Rosado lost a 10 round decision to Charlo, but the fight was a lot closer than the scores handed down by the three judges.
Martirosyan was arguably robbed in his fight with Charlo. He appeared to do enough to rate a victory over Charlo, but instead the judges gave him a loss. Charlo hasn’t done anything since then to show that he’s a better than the one that was given a controversial win over Martirosyan.
In Charlo’s last two fights he’s stopped Joachim Alcine and John Jackson. It’s surprising that Charlo only had to fight Jackson for the vacant WBC World junior middleweight title instead of one of the more dangerous contenders in the WBC’s rankings. If Charlo had to go through Lubin or Julian Williams, he might have come up short.
“I’m once again ready to get in the ring and continue to build my legacy,” said Charlo. “I’ve been training hard, I’m focused and I’m even hungrier now that I have my belt. Charles Hatley has never been in the ring with someone like me and I’m going to do what’s necessary to get that win. My brother had an outstanding performance against Julian Williams and I want to compete with that. It’s motivated me and I’m ready to get out there and show off my power and skills.”
Hatley is a pretty good fighter. The only problem with Hatley is the fact that he hasn’t fought in a year and a half since his 11th round knockout win over Anthony Mundine in November 2015. It’s unusual for fighters to be rated highly when they’ve been out of the ring for close to 2 years. The WBC probably should have moved Hatley down to the bottom of their ratings because of his inactivity. Someone like Lubin would be a better option for Charlo to be fighting.