Jermell Charlo V Saul Canelo Alvarez – ‘My Way’
By Gary Todd: ‘And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain.’
I was caught in traffic, which got me thinking about writing my article on the upcoming Canelo v Charlo fight. The fight is being billed as ‘ Undisputed v Undisputed,’ and really, how can you blame them for calling it anything else? Charlo was the undisputed champion at junior middleweight or super welterweight, and Canelo Álvarez is the current undisputed champion at super middleweight.
I was sitting there thinking about both fighter’s careers, and just then, as I was looking to the skies, ‘Old Blue Eyes’ came on the radio with his 1969 inspiring classic.
As I listened, the words resonated with me immediately as it wasn’t just any old song; it was an anthem about moving forward, about what you’ve done in your life, but also about keeping it real and living your life on your terms.
Saul Canelo Álvarez began his life in boxing at age 13, fighting in Mexican amateur competitions, compiling a 44-2 record to then turn professional as a young boy of 15, fighting handfuls of unrecorded fights in beer, and tequila spilt joint’s against much older hombre’s, fighting for a few pesos, that were thrown into the ring at the end. This was how it was and how it was meant to be.
Jermell Charlo debuted in December 2007 into the paid ranks after racking up a respectable amateur campaign with 64 bouts and 8 losses. Jermell and his identical twin, Jermall, had gone to the gym at an early age with their father, who trained there as a boxer.
These two champions did what they had to do, they planned each chartered course, and along the way, they sometimes bit off more than they could chew, but they each saw it through.
In his career to date, the 33 year old Canelo (. 59 wins 39 Kos, 2 losses, 2 draws ) has faced every challenge, going up and down in weight, fighting a list of superb, tough, awkward, dangerous opponents in Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Amir Khan, Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, Callum Smith, and Dmitry Bivol, and he has battered good fighters in James Kirkland, Liam Smith, Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr, Billy Joe Saunders, and Caleb Plant, with 2 defeats ( although Golovkin beat him convincingly in their first fight with Canelo being gifted a draw) against Floyd Mayweather in 2013, and Dmitry Bivol in 2022 and another draw very early on against Jorge Juarez.
There’s no doubt, he’s faced them all, standing tall to become the biggest name in boxing. A superstar and the undisputed super middleweight champion of the world.
Jermell Charlo ( 35 wins 19 Kos, 1 loss, and 1 draw ) has achieved greatness at junior middleweight, dominating and bullying his opponents for years but also having to take a few blows along the way.
With wins against experienced fighters in Demetrius Hopkins, Vanes Martirosyan, Joachim Alcine, Charles Hayley, and Austin Trout, it seemed the man known as ‘ Iron Man’ would be very hard to beat.In December 2018, he lost to Tony Harrison by a unanimous decision in a fight where he looked totally off in terms of timing, strength, and speed.
Charlo avenged the loss a year later, pummeling, and breaking down Harrison with multiple left hooks, knocking him out in the 11th round. Next up was the talented and durable fighter from the Dominican Republic, Jeison Rosario. Charlo looked strong, and he fought well, throwing combinations to the head and body all night, finally stopping Rosario in the 8th round with a devastating body shot.
It was now 2021, and the biggest test for Charlo was finding credible opponents to fight who wanted to face him. Brian Castano had a tremendous 191 bouts in the amateur’s, beating Errol Spence Jr. The Argentinian boxer puncher ( 17-0-1 ) had been in with Erislandy Lara and Patrick Teixeira, and he was very durable.
In their unification fight, Castano fought brilliantly, taking Charlo’s best punches, and coming back, rapid fire with his own, taking Charlo into deep water in San Antonio, going to the judge’s scorecards, and ending in a controversial draw. In the rematch, just as he had done with Harrison, Charlo silenced the critics by battering Castano around the ring, knocking him down twice, hurting him, and forcing the referee to end proceedings in the 10th round.
After the fight, there was talk of moving up; then, it was announced that Charlo had injured his left hand, fracturing it in training. At 33, fighting for years in an unforgiving sport, many thought this could be the end as time waited for no man, not even the undisputed champion of the world.
If you look at Jermell Charlo and Canelo Alvarez as boxers, there is a vast difference in terms of what each has achieved in their respective careers, their caliber of opponents through the years, and their championship status around the world and also as a pay per view star. You cannot dispute that it’s Alvarez all the way.
If you focus on their attributes in the ring, big fight experience, speed, footwork, poise, balance, body punching, counterpunching, variety of punches, accuracy, defensive movement, overall punching power, and granite-like chin, you cannot dispute that it has to be Alvarez all the way.
For me, the biggest difference in this fight is the 5’8 Canelo has been in with big men ( Kovalev, Golovkin, and Bivol ), and he has taken their best shots, and I cannot see the 6’0 Charlo jumping up in weight being any advantage for him. If anything, it could make him easier to be countered as he could be a tad slower. The other factor in this fight is Charlo’s powerful left hand. It will be interesting to see how this hand, which has served him so well, holds up after being broken.
Last but not least, ring rust and inactivity ( Charlo has been in the gym, but he hasn’t fought for 16 months ) is definitely not an ideal scenario going into a fight with Alvarez, even if his best days are behind him ( or so it seems) he is still one of the best fighters in the world.
Could the end be near? Is it time to face the final curtain?
As one man stands victorious, knowing he has faced it all, standing tall, let the record show he took the blows, standing with a raised fist, thinking to himself, ‘ I did it My Way.’
Canelo Alvarez with 7th round TKO. ( body shot uppercut )
Gary Todd has been involved in all aspects of the sport of boxing for over 30 years. He is an acclaimed international best-selling author with his books on boxing. Check out his latest book, ‘ Annie’s Boy’ online or in stores at garytodd.org