By Dan Ambrose: Jermall Charlo wants to get Jorge Sebastian Heiland out of the way so that he can put himself in position where Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin are forced to fight him. Charlo (25-0, 19 KOs), the former IBF 154 lb. champion, is facing Heiland (29-4-2, 16 KOs) in a World Boxing Council middleweight title eliminator on July 29 on the undercard of the Adrien “The Problem” Broner vs. Mikey Garcia card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Charlo vs. GGG or Canelo would be great fights if they can be made. Charlo has the punching power and talent to give either of these two popular fighters big problems.
Showtime Boxing will be televising the card in the States. It’s a great opportunity for the 27-year-old Charlo to show off his skills and make a statement to the fans that will be viewing the card. Charlo is rated number 2 in the WBC’s rakings at 160. Heiland, 30, is ranked number 1.
The WBC gave a high ranking with their organization at middleweight based on his talent at 154. Charlo vacated his IBF junior middleweight title on February 16 after deciding to move up to 160 to expand his career. In Charlo’s last fight, he defended his IBF 154lb title successfully in beating Julian “J-Rock” Williams by a 5th round knockout on December 10 last year.
Gennady Golovkin is planning on going after the WBO middleweight title if he can get past Canelo Alvarez in their fight on September 16 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Golovkin wants to beat Canelo 1 to 3 times, pick up the WBO 160 lb. title, and then move up in weight to the super middleweight division. A fight against Charlo is probably not in the cards for GGG. His goals are to beat Canelo and then win the WBO belt and move up.
Charlo can certainly get a fight against Canelo if he beats Golovkin to win his WBC middleweight title or if he elects to go after his WBC title after he vacates the belt in moving up to 168. To be frank, Canelo probably won’t fight Charlo anytime soon if ever. Golden Boy didn’t match Canelo against Charlo when the two of them were at junior middleweight despite having ample opportunities to do so. Charlo held the IBF World 154 lb. title from 2015 to 2017.
There was plenty of time for Canelo to fight Charlo during the last 2 years if he had wanted to. Instead of fighting Charlo, Canelo fought Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, and Liam Smith in the last 2 years. All three of those fights came during the time that Charlo was the IBF junior middleweight champion. Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya justified matching him against WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith on September 17 last year by saying that Smith was the best fighter in the 154lb division. De La Hoya’s comment made some boxing fans believe that Canelo was being steered around the Charlo brothers and Demetrius Andrade. If De La Hoya had said that they were taking the Liam Smith fight because it was the easiest path to win a world title for Canelo, then there wouldn’t have been disbelief from some of the boxing fans. Smith clearly was the easiest option for Canelo to win a world title last year at junior middleweight. Considering the history of Golden Boy Promotions not matching Canelo against Jermall Charlo, it’s quite possible that they’ll choose not to make that fight at 160 either. For that reason, I think Canelo will vacate the WBC middleweight title if he beats Golovkin on September 16. If Canelo loses to Triple G, he won’t bother going after the WBC title once the Kazakhstan fighter vacates the belt to move up to 168. Canelo can go after one of Golovkin’s other middleweight titles or not even go after titles at all. Canelo could choose to look for fights rather than titles. Winning and holding world titles is hard work.
Charlo, 6’0”, isn’t worried about whether his punching power will be effective at 160 like it had been at 154. He expects to be able to so score knockouts at middleweight just he was doing in his previous weight class. What really helps Charlo is his size. Charlo was draining down to make the 154lb limit. He was someone that would rehydrate into the 170s just like Gennady Golovkin does at middleweight. The difference is, Charlo was draining down to 154, and that was really hard for him to do.
In looking at old video and pictures of the way Charlo looked at his weigh-ins for his fights at 154, he looked painfully thin and completely dehydrated. Charlo probably should have made the move to 160 in 2015, as he was starting to have problems by 2016 when he looked weight drained in his fight against Austin Trout on May 21, 2016. Charlo beat Trout by a 12 round unanimous decision, but he gassed out in the second half of the fight. You can argue strongly that Charlo was showing the negative effects of having taken off so much weight to get down to the 154lb limit for the fight.
“It was a matter of time before I moved up and I felt like there were greater opportunities for me at middleweight,” said Charlo to the boxing media on Thursday during the Broner-Garcia conference call to discuss the July 29 fight date on Showtime.
We’ll see how well Charlo’s power carries over to middleweight on July 29 when he gets inside the ring with Heiland. Charlo is going to need to be able to handle #1 WBC Heiland’s punching power, as he’s got some respectable punching power for a middleweight. Heiland isn’t in the same league as Golovkin in terms of his power, but he can definitely crack. Heiland’s power is comparable to Canelo Alvarez’s power. There’s not much difference. Heiland is a natural middleweight with knockout wins over Matthew Macklin, Mateo Damian Veron, Angel Hernandez, Claudio Ariel Abalos and Cesar Hernan Reynoso. It’s hard to know how good Heiland is though, as he’s fought his entire 10-year pro career in Argentina. Fighters from that country are known for their punching power, and their tendency to go to war with their opponents. Charlo will need to be ready for a tough fight on July 29. If he overlooks Heiland, he could wind up getting knocked out like Macklin did. Charlo needs to stay in the center of the ring and not put himself in the corner like we saw with Macklin in his 10th round knockout loss on November 15, 2014. Heiland flattened Macklin after getting him up against the ropes and delivering some powerful shots to the head. Macklin may have underestimated the heavy hands that Heiland possesses.
“I’m feeling a lot better and my focus now is sharpening up myself and then fulfilling my dream of becoming a two-time, two-division world champion,” said Charlo. “I’m not really focused on [Canelo or GGG] right now. I’m focused on getting to where they can’t avoid me,” Charlo said.
Charlo is finally at the right weight for his body size. The guy is clearly a middleweight at this point. I don’t know how he was ever able to melt down to 154. The real question is how long can Charlo make 160? He looks like he might be able to move up to super middleweight in a short period of time.
Charlo and Danny Jacobs are both very big fighters at 6’0”. As emaciated as Charlo looked in his making weight for his last fight against Julian “J-Rock” Williams, the 160 lb. division might not be right weight class for him for long term. Charlo looked as badly drained as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. used to when he would drain down to make 160. Chavez Jr. finally had to move up to 168, but he’s struggled to make that weight too ever since he moved up. It’s pretty clear that Chavez Jr. needs to move up to 175 if he wants to be able to avoid being weight drained for his fights. Charlo could soon be forced to move to 168 if he has problems making the 160lb. weight class too.
“Heiland is a seasoned, good fighter. He’s strong and comes to fight. I’m not taking him lightly at all,” said Charlo.