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WBC ordering Jermall Charlo vs. Hugo Centeno Jr. for interim WBC 160lb title

Gennady Golovkin

By Dan Ambrose: Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) and #4 WBC Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) will be fighting for the interim WBC middleweight title, according to World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman.

The Charlo-Centeno Jr. fight is being talked about taking place in January of next year.
If Gennady Golovkin and Saul Canelo Alvarez are unable to put together a rematch for May 5, then Golovkin will be given a chance to take a voluntary defense before having to fight the winner of the Charlo vs. Centeno Jr. fight.

This fight seems like an unnecessary step for Charlo, as he already earned the WBC mandatory position earlier this year in stopping an injured Jorge Sebastian Heiland in the 4th round in their WBC middleweight title eliminator fight on July 29. Charlo now needing to fight Centeno Jr. would seem like a move that would be redundant. Charlo is already getting a title shot against Golovkin sooner or later. Why would Charlo now need to have to fight Centeno Jr. for the interim WBC belt, which is yet another way to cement his position as the next in line for Golovkin when he makes a defense of that belt? It works out well for Centeno Jr., because he gets a fight for the interim WBC belt, but it’s not such a great deal for Charlo. He would be better off fighting someone else while he waits for Golovkin to get done with Canelo.

Sulaiman wants Charlo and the 26-year-old Centeno Jr. to fight for the interim WBC title while WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin faces Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in May of next year in a rematch. Sulaiman doesn’t want to get in the way of the Canelo-GGG rematch by ordering Golovkin to fight No.1 WBC Charlo.

This is a very winnable fight for the 27-year-old Charlo, considering how powerful, fast and talented. Centeno Jr. has some good power in his punches, but he’s not shown the type of talent during his 8-year pro career that suggests that he would be able to beat a quality operator like Charlo.

“The WBC ordered an interim title, precisely so that there are no impediments (for Canelo-GGG 2) and that the fight can be given without any problem of affecting the rights of some other boxer, (Jermall) Charlo accepted it, he understands the magnitude and everything is ready for them to negotiate and make the tiebreak of this fight,” said Sulaiman to ESPN Deportes.

Centeno Jr. is going to be little more than a small speed bump for the Charlo express when the fight takes place sometime next January. Centeno Jr. did look good in his last fight in beating middleweight contender Immanuwel Aleem in a 3rd round knockout on August 25. There’s a world of difference between Aleem and Jermall Charlo in terms of talent. The wide left hooks that Centeno Jr. kept catching Aleem with in their fight, they won’t work against Charlo. If Centeno Jr. tries those type of punches, he’s going to get knocked out by one of Charlo’s straight right hands.

Centeno Jr. was stopped in the 10th round last year by Maciej Sulecki on June 18. It was not a competitive fight. Sulecki dominated every minute of the contest before dropping Centeno Jr. in the 10th and getting the knockout win. The WBC gave Centeno Jr. a really high ranking after his win over Aleem. I’m not sure if Centeno Jr. rates a high ranking like that after beating Aleem. You would think that Centeno Jr. would need to be a more sold fighter with credentials like Danny Jacobs for him to be moved up the rankings as high as No.4.

“It will be Hugo Centeno, the next one who was available to play the interim title and it was already for January,” said Sulaiman.

If Golovkin loses to Canelo in the rematch, then the WBC middleweight title will likely be given to the winner of the Charlo vs. Centeno Jr. fight. Canelo didn’t fight for the WBC title last time against Golovkin, and he probably won’t fight for it in the rematch either. That means the WBC title will fall vacant if Golovkin loses. It won’t be vacant though. The WBC will almost surely elevate the Charlo-Centeno Jr. winner into the top spot.

Charlo completely destroyed the injured Heiland in his last fight. It’s too bad Heiland was injured, because it would have been an interesting affair if he had two good legs working for him. Charlo likely would have still won the fight, but he would have had to take some big shots from Heiland for him to eventually get the win.

Charlo wants to fight Danny Jacobs. That’s a possibility in the future, but right now, Jacobs’ new promoter Eddie Hearn wants him to fight only the big names. Charlo isn’t a big enough name for Jacobs yet. If Jacobs can’t get the big names, he’s going to need to consider someone like Charlo, especially with him calling him out all the time.

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