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Jermell Charlo: “I’m off to BIGGER and better things” after beating Tony Harrison

Image: Jermell Charlo: "I'm off to BIGGER and better things" after beating Tony Harrison

By Dean Berman: Jermell Charlo won back his WBC light middleweight title from Tony Harrison with an explosive surge in the 11th round to get a knockout last Saturday night on Fox PBC Fight Might and Fox Deportes at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.  After Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) dropped Harrison (28-3, 21 KOs) two times in the 11th, and hammering him with shots, the fight was stopped.

Harrison admitted later that he relaxed for just a second, and Charlo took advantage of that by hurting him with a hook in the 11th. Once Charlo had Harrison hurt, he quickly knocked him down twice. The fight was stopped shortly after that when Charlo flurried on him.

Two of the judges had Charlo ahead at time of the stoppage

At the end of the fight, the judges had Charlo ahead 96-93, 96-93, and Harrison 95-94.  On social media, boxing fans had Harrison up by 3 to 6 rounds. The judges were seeing a different fight than the rest of the world, which isn’t surprising.

Charlo was the A-side in the fight, and he’s got a large following. The judges giving Charlo rounds that arguably shouldn’t have won is par for the course for an A-side fighter.  Boxing News 24 had Harrison ahead by six rounds at the time of the knockout. Like in the first fight, Charlo was getting out-boxed, and outclass by Harrison.

The important thing is Charlo, 29, avenged his loss from last December against Harrison, and now he can move on. Charlo lost a 12 round unanimous decision to Harrison in New York a year ago.

Charlo: I’m off to bigger and better things

“I don’t like the dude. He can get it again, but I’m off to bigger and better things,” said Charlo after his win. “I’m down for making history. He held the title too long and I had to come back and get it.”

Charlo wasn’t interested in giving any hints about who he has on his target list for his next fight, but hopefully it’s not a rematch with Erickson Lubin (22-1, 16 KOs). He knocked him out in the 1st round in 2017. Lubin hasn’t done much to redeem himself since that defeat aside from beating a handful of fringe level guys and one old timer in 41-year-old Ishe Smith.

It would be interesting to see Charlo take on someone like Jarrett Hurd, Julian Williams or Erislandy Lara, but those fights likely won’t happen. Before losing his WBC title to Harrison last December, Charlo had been milking his title in beating Charles Hatley, Lubin and Austin Trout.

Charlo wasn’t facing the dangerous guys in the 154 lb weight class, and his popularity wasn’t increasing the way it should have. If Charlo continues to face lesser guys, his career is never going to take off the way that Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin’s careers have exploded. To become popular, fighters need to take risks, and Charlo has failed to do that.

YouTube video

Charlo says third fight with Harrison would be PPV

“Despite all the s– talk, he a funny dude,” said Jermell at the post-fight news conference after his win over Harrison. “I started enjoying listening to the dude. It was crazy. I’m a good dude. I got a family, and he got a team. He’s a fighter, and he’s a great fighter actually. He did his thing. I edged it tonight, and that’s all she wrote.

The question is, would we do a trilogy? ” said Charlo. “Take that s– to pay-per-view. Fox did an amazing job of promoting. That’s what I was trying to tell you. I guess that was part of his game plan,” said Charlo in talking about Harrison questioning his mental toughness. “I’m different, and I’m a warrior. I think I’m in a different ball field.

“I’m just entertaining you guys, and hopefully you keep enjoying me and my brother as long as we sit on the throne in the boxing world,” said Charlo. “The mental thing, with any boxer that steps foot inside the ring for 12 rounds, they better be prepared for anything,” said Charlo.

Right now, it’s too early for Charlo and Harrison to be asking boxing fans to pay to see them in a trilogy fight. Harrison needs to build himself back up, and Charlo needs to start fighting popular guys like Jarrett Hurd. The boxing public isn’t going to want to pay to see Charlo and Harrison fight in a trilogy match right now.

Charlo’s problems with his temper is what hurt him in his first fight with Harrsion, and it hurt him last night as well. Jermell reacted with anger each time Harrison would hit him, and he wasn’t fighting with intelligence.

Harrison blames loss on 1-year layoff

“Being out of the ring for a year, and coming back to face someone that tough and strong,” said Tony Harrison at the post-fight news conference. “The first time, we had a game plan, and we boxed him. He came out so f— wild this time. It’s not like nobody is that much stronger than the next.

“For me, my game plan is sweet,” said Harrison. “I’m good at adapting. I told myself in my mind, ‘You’ve got to dog the dog.’ That’s how I had to put it to him. If you’re going to go out, go out. You’ve got to dog the dog. He was the dog. I felt like I pushed him back every round, and I felt like I was comfortable.

“This boxing, when you go in with a guy like that, you can’t be lax for one second or one round,” said Harrison in explaining why he lost. “That’s what happened. I got relaxed for one second in one round, and he hooked and I hooked, and his was a little shorter. And I didn’t see it, and it kind of stunned me a little bit. I pushed [referee] Jack Reiss that I didn’t want him to stop it. I’d rather go out harder than that. Jack is a championship referee,” said Harrison.

It definitely didn’t help Harrison that he’d been out of the ring for 12 months going into the fight with Jermell, but that couldn’t have been helped. Harrison suffered an ankle injury in training that wiped out their June rematch, and that led to him sitting in active until last night.

Charlo knew the fight was close

“There was some late rounds that he was edging, you know what I mean?” said Charlo. “I didn’t want it to be that wicked feeling again. I looked over at my brother [Jermall], and was communicating with me. It’s that twin s–. It was time to step it up. I want to say that I appreciate Tony.

“You can see age in a fighter, and brought some different things, more than just the style walk down type of fighter,” said Charlo. “Tony wanted to come forward, okay, come forward so I can set some traps. I came forward, backed up, and threw some body shots, and do as much as I can to win that fight. And I knew it was getting close. I didn’t want it to get close,” said Charlo.

Jermell says he thought he was up by several rounds on the scorecards, but he clearly needed a knockout because the fans didn’t see him up. A lot of the rounds were close, but it didn’t look like Jermell was winning. Tony looked like he should have been up on all 3 of the judges scorecards rather than Charlo. So it’s a good thing that Charlo made sure that his win wasn’t tainted by knocking Harrison out.

It was funny to watch Jermell studying Harrison carefully during the post-fight news conference, looking like he was ready to go off in a temper tantrum if he said the wrong thing. You could tell that Charlo was doing his best to come off as cool and calm, but each time Harrsion spoke, he looked like he was close to losing it.

Charlo earned the victory – Harrison

“The b— earned it. I made sure the mother f— earned it,” Harrison said of Charlo. “And I can’t give it back this easy. I tried to push but damn, I’m hurting. And I wanted this bad as f—. I wanted this my whole life. He killed it, but he earned it, man. There ain’t nothing I can say. The man’s a man,” said Harrison.

“Nothing before this fight really mattered. How i felt was how I felt,” said Harrison. “Nothing for me was more important than winning this fight. Charlo fought his heart out, and that’s the name of the game. Before Saturday night, I kept saying, ‘The fans will win.’ I made sure of that. The fans got what they wanted for their money.

“When you’re going in with someone that’s top 10, this ain’t no scrub,” Harrison said of Charlo. “He’s not like a bum. No way in a boxing match you can be lax in any part of any round, and it did well. I thought I was doing really well, and I really wanted to do well. And I thought in a certain part of the rounds, I would start breaking his will, because he started coming forward.

“I thought, ‘Look, you tough, you strong. Let’s see him fight on his back foot,’ and I made him do that the whole night,” Harrison said. I was catching a lot of his shots, and I pushed forward. There’s nothing else I can say but he earned it, man. He was a champion for a reason, and he earned it,” said Harrison.

Charlo got the win by sticking with his game plan of scoring a knockout, but it easily could have gone the full 12 rounds.

Charlo: My goal was to score a knockout

“I knew I had to step it up at that part of the fight,” said Jermell. “When you get in the later rounds, will power has to come in. It was tough. I had a lot to prove, and so did he. It’s a different type of war. I felt like he got a few rounds. I know he did have some good rounds, you know what I mean? That’s boxing.

“That was the overall goal, I wanted to score the knockout,” said Charlo in revealing what his goal was for the fight. “And all the s— that he was talking, it just let to building up. Hey, that’s the initial goal. That’s what I wanted. I got a lot more business to take care of in the division,” said Charlo.

“This fight was to show the world that I’m a boxer,” said Charlo. “I started to stick and move around the ring, and those types of things. To be a champion, you’ve got to be able to do the things you’ve done your whole career. I can tell that Tony has been working with some vets like [Tommy ‘Hit Man’ Hearns], and his father, he boxed before. I don’t know if you remember his father. He was a welterweight contender, a major guy up there,” said Charlo.

Jermell makes it sound like he was smart to be gunning for a knockout, but the fact of the matter is, Harrison took advantage of him looking for a KO. Harrison nailed Charlo at every opportunity with shots when he was wildly swinging for the fences, and it was embarrassing to watch at times.

Charlo vs. Harrison 2 similar to Julian Jackson vs. Terry Norris

The fight was similar to the 1989 match between Julian Jackson and Terry Norris. Jackson was trying to take Norris’ head off with every shot, and was getting out-boxed by him. Jackson’s single minded pursuit of a knockout at all costs paid off when he finally stopped Norris in the 2nd round, but he didn’t look good before that. It was the same thing with Charlo.

Harrison took advantage of his tendency to swing for the fences by tagging him with jabs, and exposing his limited fighting style. It worked well for Charlo in this fight, but he can’t keep fighting like this if he wants to stay at the top of the 154-lb division. Other fighters are going to look at the blueprint that Harrison created, and follow it to beat Charlo.

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