By Jeff Aranow: WBC has mandated that #1 WBC Jermall Charlo fight #4 Hugo Centeno Jr. for the interim WBC middleweight title, with the winner facing the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin 2 winner for the WBC 160 lb. title.
Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) is already he mandatory challenger to WBC champ Golovkin. However, the WBC is letting Golovkin fight Canelo next rather than ordering the GGG-Charlo fight, which might be a better fight in terms of action. Charlo is a fearless fighter, and he’s not the type that would fight on the ropes and use movement the way that Canelo did in his match with Golovkin on September 16 last year. The WBC ordering Charlo, 27, to face #4 WBC Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) for the interim WBC middleweight title is giving Jermall another hoop to jump through before he gets his title shot.
What’s unclear is whether the WBC will order Golovkin to fight the Charlo-Centeno Jr. winner immediately after the Canelo fight or allow him to face WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders in a unification fight in his next match. Typically, unification fights are given precedence over mandatory defenses. If the WBC continues with that tradition, then they’ll give Golovkin the green light to face WBO champion Saunders in a unification fight after he gets through with Canelo on May 5. If Golovkin loses to Canelo, then the WBC belt probably goes vacant.
”Champion Gennady Golovkin (Kazakhstan) has been mandated to fight a rematch with Canelo Alvarez, and negotiations are taking place,” said WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman. ”In order to allow this rematch, the WBC ordered mandatory challenger Jermall Charlo to fight Hugo Centeno for the WBC middleweight interim championship.”
If Canelo (49-1-2, 34 KOs) beats IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) on May 5, it would then mostly likely result in him not keeping the WBC title. Canelo refused to fight for the WBC middleweight belt the last time he fought GGG last September. Unless Canelo has changed his mind about not wanting to fight for the WBC’s 160lb belt, it’ll go vacant if he beats Triple G in the rematch. Canelo is believed to be unhappy about the WBC ordering him to defend against Golovkin in 2016, when Golden Boy star was the WBC middleweight champion. Canelo didn’t want to take the fight with Golovkin at that time. As such, Canelo vacated the WBC middleweight title after defending it against welterweight Amir Khan. Golovkin subsequently was given the WBC strap, and he’s been the champion ever since.
26-year-old Centeno Jr. pulled off a big win in his last fight in stopping contender Immanuwel Aleem in the 3rd round on August 25. Centeno Jr. showed good power in knocking out a guy with excellent power and good talent. That was by far the biggest win of Centeno’s career. That wasn’t Centeno’s tough fight. He had far harder fights against Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams and Maciej Sulecki. Centeno Jr. was stopped in the 10th round by Sulecki last year in June. Centeno’s fight with J-Rock ended with a 4th round no contest after it was halted on a cut from a head-butt.