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Leonard Ellerbe says Canelo has “tough task with Jermell Charlo”

Image: Leonard Ellerbe says Canelo has "tough task with Jermell Charlo"

By Dan Ambrose: Leonard Ellerbe believes Canelo Alvarez will have his hands full against the motivated Jermell Charlo, who is coming to knock him off the top of the super middleweight mountain in their headliner fight on Showtime pay-per-view at the end of the month.

Coming in as the underdog, Charlo  (35-1-1, 19 KOs) has no pressure on him because he’s moving up two weight classes from 154 to challenge Canelo (59-2-2, 39 KOs)f  for his undisputed 168-lb championship on September 30.

Even if Jermell loses, he can still come out as the winner if he gives Canelo a hard fight and loses by decision. Obviously, Charlo doesn’t want to lose, but he’s still in a position where his career & popularity won’t take the same hit that Canelo will if he gets beaten.

Canelo is the one who put himself in this position by choosing to defend his belts against Jermell rather than facing the top fighters from the super middleweight division, David Benavidez, David Morrell Jr., and Demetrius Andrade.

That’s what fear does to a person. They take the easy route, and when they win, they gain very little because boxing fans don’t respect their achievement.

Moreover, the fighters that they avoided, in this case, Benavidez, Morrell &  Andrade, are still waiting at his doorstep.

Jermell must establish respect early

“Canelo is coming into that fight with a chip on his shoulder. He’s coming off an injury, and that, to me, would explain why his last couple of performances hadn’t been what the public would expect,” said Leonard Ellerbe to Fighthype about Canelo Alvarez.

I think he has to establish respect early,” Ellerbe said when asked what Jermell Charlo must do to win.”Establish that he’s the boss. Canelo, he’s a resilient fighter and an excellent defensive fighter.”

It’s risky for Jermell to try and establish respect early against Canelo because that’s when he’s at his best, punching very hard with a high accuracy. If Jermell does choose to try and get Canelo’s respect early, he’s going to need to be prepared to take some big shots.

“One of the things I’ve been impressed with is Canelo has a lot of tricks in his bag,” said Ellerbe. “He reminds me of a black fighter with his slickness. He doesn’t have the typical Mexican style that you see most Mexican fighters fight.

“He’s definitely one of them. He’s definitely in the top two or three,” said Ellerbe when asked if Canelo is the best defensive fighter in boxing. “You got to get in there with the top fighters to see where you’re at.”

Ellerbe may not have noticed, but Canelo has been getting hit a lot more than he used to in his last three fights, and his defensive skills have eroded to the point where he’s taking a lot of punishment, even against marginal fighters like John Ryder.

“Canelo is definitely up there. He’s definitely a slick fighter,” Ellerbe said. “Charlo steps it up when he has to step it up. He rises to the occasion. In this particular case, he has to come out, and he can’t wait. He has to establish the respect early. Canelo brings a lot of experience,”  said Ellerbe.

Canelo has tough task

“The level of opponents that he’s faced recently [John Ryder & 41-year-old Gennadiy Golovkin], they haven’t been the elite fighters with the exception of Bivol,” Ellberbe said about Canelo. “He’s a solid guy, but no disrespect, he’s not an elite fighter.”

Canelo has been purposefully taken easier fights lately, and in his match with WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol last year, that was a cherry pick gone wrong because he’d looked poor in his close win over Craig Richards. Bivol had looked beatable, and Canelo obviously selected him for that reason.

“I know there had been a lot of talk about why he [Canelo] hadn’t looked the same as in the past,” said Ellerbe. “People were kind of saying, ‘Oh, he’s lost a step.’ I think with this fight here, he’s going to lay it on the line.

“He’s coming off an injury. He says he’s 100%, and I think we’re going to see the best version of where he’s at right now in him,” Ellerbe said about Canelo. “He’s got a tough task with Jermell Charlo. Jermell is hungry.”

Ellerbe has got it wrong. Canelo isn’t coming off an injury.  He already had a tune-up in his last fight against John Ryder when he was coming off hand surgery. So, he’s 100% for this and he was for his fight with Ryder.

“There are many people who aren’t giving him [Jermell]a chance, which I think that is the toughest crap ever,” said Leonard. “Jermell does a lot of things well, and one of his best attributes is his confidence.

“One thing you talk about with Jermell Charlo is he’s a winner. That’s the first thing you got to say. We’ve seen him come from behind in fights. In these situations, you got to expect that he’s going to bring it.

“His confidence level is going to be at an all-time high because he knows what he’s up against on the 30th of September. It’s going to be a tremendous fight,” said Ellerbe.

Jermell is going to be motivated but maybe not confident because he doesn’t know if he’s going to win. He can’t know that because he struggled against Brian Castano & Tony Harrison, two fighters Canelo would destroy.

Skills will determine winner

“Both guys have something to prove. There are weight classes for a reason, but in this particular, who is the bigger guy that night?” said Ellerbe. “I think it’s going to come down to the skills in this fight, and that’s not always the case in fights.

“Moving up two weight classes, me personally, I don’t think it will affect him at all.  He’s going to be very comfortable in at a weight that he’s comfortable with. He’s not going to have to make 154.”

Taking shots from Canelo might affect Jermell, but size-wise, he should be okay. Now if Jermell was facing the bigger super middleweights, David Benavidez & David Morrell, he likely wouldn’t be comfortable with the size.

“He has a lot of support behind him. All of Houston is coming out for the fight. It’s always a great opportunity to see a black fighter fight a Mexican fighter,” said Leonard.  “You know firsthand what kind of fight it’s going to be.

“With him [Jermell] being African American, every brother & sister are going to be pulling for him, wanting him to win. When it comes to Canelo, his people they’re diehard. They’re with him through it all.

“Canelo, this is the natural platform for him because he’s a big-time star and has been for many, many years.  With him, fighting on the platform that he was fighting before, his exposure was diminished, and I think that’s fair. But his bankroll got bigger, and it’s always about getting that paper,” said Ellerbe.

Canelo won’t get rattled

“He made a couple of hundred million dollars. Shoutout to Eddy Reynoso. Eddy has done a phenomenal job of managing his career and extracting as much money in each & every fight,” continued Ellerbe. “He’s done a phenomenal job. He don’t get as much credit as he deserves. He should be manager of the year for what he’s done with Canelo’s career.

“How do you know that’s not a ploy? That he’s baiting everybody and turn it up when he needs to turn it up?” said Ellerbe about Jermell not talking boldly like he’s done in the past.

“Stay tuned for the 30th of September. You’re going to get everything that you expect. It started out one way, but it’s all about how you finish. Canelo’s not going to get rattled by anything you say because he’s going to fight his a** off.”

Canelo has been in the trenches too many times for him to be mentally intimidated by going up against Jermell, but he’s taking him seriously enough to have trained in high altitude. There is some worry there for Canelo.

“There are some situations in the build-up where you got to talk that talk but wait for the 30th of September. We’re going to see who comes out on top,” said Leonard.

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