IBF orders Jermell Charlo to defend against Bakhram Murtazaliev next

By Boxing News - 10/10/2023 - Comments

By Sean Jones: Jermell Charlo has been ordered by the IBF to begin negotiations to defend his title with their organization against his mandatory Bakhram Murtazaliev.

(Photo credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions)

Murtazaliev, 30, is a big puncher and would be dangerous for Jermell to fight, especially if he goes into survival mode right off the bat like he did in his dreadful performance against Canelo Alvarez.

The chances are high that Murtazaliev knocks out Jermell if that fight happens next because this guy hits too hard, and he’s hungry. He would be all over Jermell and wouldn’t just load up with single shots the way Canelo did.

Although Murtazaliev has never fought any big names, he’s been knocking everyone out, and he’s a much tougher fight for Jermell Charlo than some of his past ones at 154, like Tony Harrison and Brian Castano. Jermell had major problems with both of those guys.

Jermell likely to vacate

It’s quite possible that Jermell will vacate his IBF title rather than take this risky fight against Murtazaliev because he said after his loss to Canelo last month on September 30th that he only wants the bigger fights for the remainder of his career.

If Jermell vacates his IBF title, that would leave him with just two belts, the WBA & WBC, which he’ll use to try and lure Terence Crawford to fight him. It’s clear that Jermell just wants one or two paydays before he hangs up the gloves, and Crawford is priority one for him.

Charlo can forget about a rematch with Canelo because his performance was so awful he’ll never get another shot against him. Jermell could have stayed at 168 for paydays against David Benavidez, Caleb Plant, and Demetrius Andrade, but he won’t make the same money that he would against Crawford.

Jermell said he wanted to return to 154 to fight Crawford, which may not happen. Also, Jermell stated that he wasn’t interested in fighting the winner of the Tim Tszyu vs. Brian Mendoza fight to try and recapture his WBO 154-lb belt that was stripped from him.

According to Dan Rafael, the recently beaten Jermell (35-2-1, 19 KOs) has until November 9th to negotiate a deal with #1 IBF Murtazaliev (21-0, 15 KOs) before a purse bid is ordered.

Murtazaliev has already accepted “multiple step-aside deals in the past for his overdue title shot against Jermell, but this time, he may not accept one if it is offered to him.

“One thing that was surprising is I didn’t know he knew how to survive,” said Shawn Porter on his channel, talking about Jermell Charlo fighting purely to survive in his loss to Canelo Alvarez on September 30th.

“I didn’t think he knew how to move like that, and he moved better than I thought he could move. But you survived. You didn’t try to fight; you didn’t try to punch. I said [before the Canelo-Charlo contest], ‘Has he ever stepped up and went in a fight and took it?.'”

If Porter watched some of Jermell’s earlier fights against Vanes Martirosyan, Gabriel Rosado, and Demetrius Hopkins, he would have seen that he’s quite good at going into survival mode because he did it against those guys. Jermell was almost as bad in those fights as he was against Canelo, and he was lucky to win decisions.

Charlo won’t get a rematch

“I said, he’s [Jermell] never gone that. He got a draw against Castano,” said Porter. “You’re supposed to step up as a world champion that you’ve been so long. Step up, separate yourself, and win that fight. You don’t get a rematch.”

The first fight between Jermell and Brian Castano in July 2021, which was scored a 12 round draw, was viewed by fans as a bad decision. Castano appeared to win, but the judges scored a controversial draw. The fight took place in Jermell’s backyard in San Antonio, Texas.

“The first fight against Tony Harrison. Whether you thought he won or lost, guess what? He didn’t separate himself,” said Porter. “He didn’t step up and go get it and prove that he was the guy. He lost the first one [against Harrison] and comes back. If that punch does not land, he does not step up.

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“He was losing the rematch, and if he wasn’t losing the rematch, it was close. It was a better performance, but it was close. He didn’t step up until he landed a punch. If he doesn’t land a punch, does he step up? How do you answer that question? With that fight right there,” Porter said about Jermell losing and struggling in his December 2019 rematch with Harrison until stopping him in the eleventh round.

Tony Harrison was getting the better of Jermell in their rematch, almost as bad as their first fight in 2018. If Harrison hadn’t been caught by Jermell in the eleventh round, he likely would have won that fight.

It’s sad to say that Jermell’s reputation as being a ‘Lion’ by some fans was against fighters that weren’t super talented, and he could have lost to them.

“He landed the punch against Castano and finished it, but he didn’t land a punch against Canelo,” said Porter about Jermell. “So, he never stepped up. He didn’t want it. In a lot of ways, you can say he was defeated when he signed the contract,” said Shawn about Jermell never having a chance against Canelo. It looked like it [Jermell getting $10 million for the Canelo fight].

“He didn’t get stopped, but you showed us who you are. You’re not going to step up. That ‘Lions Only’ that you’re talking about. You’re not going to do that unless something lands and you see it,” said Porter.

Jermell fought like his goal was not to get knocked out so he could get the paycheck and then return to 154 for a second payday against Terence Crawford. It never dawned on Jermell that Crawford would be turned off by what he saw from him and would take him off his “hit list.”

Jermell = Mr. Irrelevant

“You have no ability to just, ‘Let me dog it out and find something,” said Porter. “Let me dog it out and do something. Go out on my shield.’ Now, guess what? ‘Now, I’m Mr. Irrelevant because I lost to somebody and the way I showed myself losing. I’m Mr. Irrelevant.”

Jermell is definitely “Mr. Irrelevant,” as far as Crawford is concerned. Now, it’ll be interesting to see if Crawford changes his mind about not wanting to fight him when he sees that there are a lot of great choices for big-money fights at 154.

If Crawford moves up to 168, thinking he’s going to get a fight with Canelo, he could wind up with nothing. Fighting someone good at 168 to prove himself in that weight class would make sense for Crawford, but he’s not showing a willingness to take that risk.

“‘So, to become relevant, what do I do? I say Terence Crawford’s name because nobody is going to care about me.’ Nobody is going to write about it [Jermell vs. Crawford] based on how you looked [in your loss to Canelo],” said Porter.

“It’s up to Terence, and he already said it. It’s up to Terence to say, ‘Yeah, I’ll take that fight [with Jermell],’ and then we’re going to start talking about it. If Terence just says what he just said, it’s done. It wasn’t tested,” said Shawn about Canelo’s stamina not being tested by Jermell because he was fighting so defensively. His stamina was not challenged.”

It’s going to say a lot about Crawford if he changes his mind and decides to fight Jermell. When you say you’re not going to do something, you should stand on your work because you look as weak as water if you change your mind.

What Jermell should do is fight his IBF mandatory Murtazaliev next and then fight the Tszyu vs. Mendoza winner. Will Jermell do that? Probably not. It’s too risky.