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Jermall Charlo ready to move to 160lb division


By Eric Baldwin: IBF junior middleweight champion Jermall Charlo (25-0, 19 KOs) says he’s ready to move up to the 160lb division to go after the top fighters in that weight class like Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Charlo says he could stay at 154 and fight in both divisions if he can get the big fights in that weight class. However, Charlo’s idea of big fights is against guys like Saul Canelo Alvarez, and he’s made it clear that he’s now moving up to the 160lb division in 2017.

For the 6’0” Charlo, the move to middleweight is probably a little overdue, because he should have moved up in weight to 160 earlier in 2016. Having to melt down to 154 for a guy as big as him has to have been tough on him. We saw how Charlo appeared to gas earlier in 2016 when he fought Austin Trout. In the last days before the fight, Charlo looked completely drained from having to get down to 154. The night of the fight, he did not look like the same Charlo as he’d been in his previous fights. Charlo looked a lot better in his last fight against Julian Williams on December 10 in a fight that he won by a 5th round knockout at the USC Galen Center, in Los Angeles, California.

“I do feel like I can move up to 160 and compete with those guys at the top of the level,” said Charlo. “I found at 154 pounds pretty much all of my life. My bodies’ grown and now I’m ready to move up to 160 and see what I do. I let it work itself out,” said Charlo.

Having Jermall Charlo moving up to middleweight is going to be an instant upgrade for the division. The weight class needs some new blood to help liven it up. With the addition of Canelo and Charlo, it should make things interesting.

Having Canelo in the division is positive news, but it won’t be if he and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions are just going to pick and choose beatable guys like they were doing at 154, then it won’t be much of a big deal having him in the division. At least with Charlo, he seems to want to take on the best fighters. I don’t think Charlo would turn down a fight against Gennady Golovkin and say he’s not a true middleweight yet and needs to grow into the division. Likewise, I can’t see Charlo winning a world title at a catchweight and then vacating it to move down to 154 again to take on a beatable champion like we saw with Canelo vacating his WBC 160lb title to fight Liam Smith at junior middleweight.

Speaking about Golovkin, Charlo said, “He’s the champion at 160. If the management takes care of business, then we got the fight. It depends on how long that would take. I do have my eyes on the 160 pound division. If we got those guys, we could stay at 154 pounds and look good, I’ll stay here. Maybe fight in both divisions,” said Charlo.

Charlo is like a big fish in a small pound at junior middleweight. He’s too good for the division. He stands out at 154 with the less talented fighters. It would be a shame to see Charlo waste his career remaining in that weight class. His promoters should have had him move up to middleweight a long time ago rather than keeping him at 154 where he’s been stuck fighting guys like Austin Trout, Wilky Campfort, Michael Finney, Cornelius Bundrage and Julian Williams.

I think Charlo would be an improved version of Daniel Jacobs. Charlo is faster and a more devastating puncher than Jacobs. It would be interesting to see those two fight each other after Charlo moves up in weight. I don’t know if their management would agree to that fight, but it would be an interesting one to see.

The only guy left for Charlo to fight at 154 is Demetrius Andrade. I don’t think there’s any money in a fight between Charlo and Andrade. Charlo is better off moving to 160 and looking to get a fight against Golovkin, Canelo and Daniel Jacobs. Any of those fights would be great matches for Charlo.

At 26, Charlo needs to make the move now to middleweight, because it might take him time to get established to make some noise. The champions like Golovkin aren’t going to fight Charlo straightaway after he moves up in weight. He’s going to wait until Charlo has beaten some top fighters and gotten some boxing press.

The longer Charlo delays making the move to 160 the longer it’s going to take before he can get the bigger money fights. Unless Charlo wants to stay at 154 for some particular reason, he needs to move up. Other Andrade, there’s really no one left for Charlo to fight at 154. Erislandy Lara is talking about wanting to move up to 160 as well after two more fights, and I don’t think he’s going to fight Jermall. He might, but I don’t think there’s any money in fighting Lara. Charlo needs to try and corner Canelo and get Golovkin to fight him. Those are the big fights. Charlo might prove to be a nightmare for Triple G to deal with unless the Kazakhstan fighter has a steel chin and can take the big shots from him.

If Golovkin is smart, he’d try and take the fight with Charlo as soon as possible while he still has some youth left. The longer Golovkin puts off the fight the more likely he’ll age and be too old to have a chance of beating him when they do eventually fight. The boxing fans would love to see Charlo and Golovkin fight. That would be huge news if they faced each other, especilly if Golovkin cleans out the 160lb division in 2017 by beating Canelo and Jacobs. There won’t be anyone left after that unless you count Billy Joe Saunders. I don’t.

Jermall knocked Julian Williams down three times in stopping him in the 5th round on December 10. The first knockdown came in round 2. Charlo dropped Williams twice in the 5th to get the KO win. In 2015, Charlo stopped Cornelius Bundrage in the 3rd round after knocking him down four times in the fight. That was a real demolition job Charlo did on Bundrage. That wasn’t a fluke knockout. Charlo was giving Bundrage problems from the 1st round with his big power shots. Bundrage did a good job of recovering each time, but Charlo kept nailing him with big shots, and he couldn’t handle his punching power.

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