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Jermall Charlo vs. Hugo Centeno Jr. on Wilder-Ortiz card, March.3

Deontay Wilder

By Jim Dower: Jermall Charlo says he’s facing Hugo Centeno Jr. on March 3 on the undercard of WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder’s title defense against Luis Ortiz on Showtime Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Charlo, 27, announced over the weekend that he would be fighting on March 3rd, but he didn’t say the name of his opponent. On Monday, #1 WBC Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) revealed that he’ll be fighting #4 WBC Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) for the interim WBC middleweight title.

”Jermall Charlo – #CharloCenteno. The WAIT is OVER,” said Charlo earlier today in announcing his March 3 fight against the 26-year-old Centeno Jr. on Showtime Championship Boxing.

It’s interesting that Charlo is the one announcing his March 3 fight against Centeno Jr. rather than his management at Premier Boxing Champions. Usually it’s the management that makes the announcement of fights. Charlo has chosen to jump the gun to let the hardcore boxing fans know about the fight before his management has pulled the trigger.

Charlo is already the WBC mandatory challenger to WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin. Charlo is just waiting for Golovkin to get his rematch with against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on May 5. With the World Boxing Council ordering Charlo to fight Centeno Jr. for the WBC interim middleweight title, they’re putting the winner of that fight in the position to where they’ll elevate them to the WBC champion spot in the event Golovkin loses to Canelo on May 5.

The reason for that is because Canelo won’t likely accept the WBC middleweight title if he wins it. The last time Canelo fought Golovkin, he let it be known that he wasn’t fighting for the WBC belt. He was fighting for the IBO and WBA belts. So, if Canelo beats Golovkin in the rematch, the WBC belt will fall vacant briefly until the interim WBC champion, likely Charlo, will be elevated by the WBC to full middleweight championship status.

Centeno Jr. beat Immanueel Aleem by a 3rd round knockout in his last fight in August of last year. In June 2016, Centeno Jr. lost to Maciek Sulecki by a 10th round knockout. That was a fight that Centeno Jr. was never competitive in. Sulecki had too much talent for Centeno Jr. However, Centeno Jr. has won his last 2 fights against Ronald Montes and Aleem by stoppage, and he looks improved.

Charlo, 6’0”, will be giving away 1 ½ inches in height to the 6’1 ½” Centeno Jr. and 2 inches in reach. Charlo is faster, and he’s beaten better opposition with past wins over Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams, Austin Trout, Cornelius Bundrage and Jorge Sebastian Heiland. Centeno Jr. is still a real threat to beating Charlo if he can hit him with one of his looping hooks that he likes to throw. Centeno Jr. kind of tricky with the way he throws really wide hooks that his opponents have a hard time tracking.

Centeno’s hooks tend to hit his opponents without them seeing them due to the wide arc that that they’re thrown from. If Charlo gets hit with one of Centeno Jr’s hooks without him seeing it, he might wind up as another knockout statistic on his resume.

The WBC has interim champions at light welterweight and light heavyweight. Charlo vs. Centeno Jr. will be the WBC’s third interim title within their organization. There’s the possibility that Luke Campbell and Yvan Mendy will fight for the interim WBC lightweight title soon.

Charlo stopped Heiland in the 4th round to become Golovkin’s WBC middleweight mandatory challenger on July 29 last year. Charlo has been waiting around for a fight ever since.

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