An unprecedented matchup between two undisputed world champions is sure to ignite fireworks as Canelo Alvarez battles Jermell Charlo in a blockbuster showdown tonight on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View.
On Saturday, September 30, for the first time ever in the four-belt era, fully unified, undisputed world champs go to war. Undisputed Super Middleweight World Champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) takes on Undisputed Junior Middleweight World Champion Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) atop a Premier Boxing Champions card from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, live on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
When unified super middleweight champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez aligned himself with Premier Boxing Champions, it was in pursuit of bigger and better challenges.
Jermell Charlo, having made a case for himself as one of the elites in the sport after fully unifying the junior middleweight division, seized the opportunity to move up and face Alvarez in this biggest opportunity of his boxing career.
The Houston native punched his ticket to next-level opportunities in his last fight when he stopped Brian Castaño, in his second go at the whirlwind Argentine after a disputed draw, to add the WBO belt to his IBF, WBA, and WBC straps.
Prior to that, Charlo notched a revenge stoppage of Tony Harrison to reclaim his WBC 154-pound title and then shut down two-belt champ Jeison Rosario with a debilitating body shot to take the IBF and WBA belts. On the way up, Charlo built his reputation as one of the top fighters in the game with high-water mark victories over names such as Austin Trout, Gabriel Rosado, Erickson Lubin, and Vanes Martirosyan.
Alvarez’s path to this fight with Charlo is of Hall of Fame weight. Before unifying the super middleweight division in a dominant four-fight, eleven month run against the best of 168, the Mexican superstar built his legacy with high-profile bouts against the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Gennadiy Golovkin, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, Sergey Kovalev, and Shane Mosley.
Directly at stake is Alvarez’s undisputed champ status at super middleweight, along with all four of the division’s recognized world titles.
For Charlo, a win also means next-level stardom and a rise to the top of the mythical pound-for-pound rankings.
For Alvarez, a big win keeps him at the very top of the sport, staving off criticism that he may be slipping as a main stage fighter.
Alvarez has worked hard over the years to transform himself from a bull-headed, come-forward plodder into a well-rounded, elite-level boxer-puncher.
The 33-year-old Guadalajara native has honed his style into a near-perfect mesh of offense and defense, employing a controlled forward march while, simultaneously, parrying punches with his gloves and using head movement to avoid incoming shots. This combination of controlled aggression and tight defense makes him a nightmare opponent who discourages opposition and gradually breaks them down, mentally and physically, with pressure and thudding shots to the head and body.
Alvarez throws everything with power and conviction but is an especially effective body puncher. He’s also a brutally adept finisher who is patient in shutting out and, ultimately, shutting down opposition.
“ This is a fight that people have talked about for a while. Now Jermell is gonna feel my skills. ” Undisputed Super Middleweight World Champion - Canelo Alvarez
Charlo fights tall and uses a sharp jab to establish space and set up picture-perfect follow up shots. His best power punches are the straight hand off the jab and a jolting left hook.
Despite earning a reputation as an effective power puncher, with four of his last fight fights ending by way of knockout, the 33-year-old is really a clinical boxer-puncher at heart who executes with efficiency and a careful eye. His outstanding balance, conditioning, and technique make him a stellar offensive fighter whose power carries late into fights and can close the show at any time.
Defensively, Charlo utilizes good upper body movement and picks off incoming shots with his gloves. The distance created with his jab also helps provide a split-second more reaction time.
“I always want to make the best fights out there. This is a fight that people have talked about for a while. Now Jermell is gonna feel my skills. These kinds of fights motivate me. I like being underestimated. That’s what makes me excited for this fight.”
“I wanna shake the doubters off and prove to the world why I’m in this position. There’s a reason I made it this far. I’m gonna show what I’m made of. Everything I’ve done since I was eight years old, I’m putting it all on the line now.”
In this undisputed vs. undisputed encounter, strengths line up perfectly with weaknesses.
Alvarez has had trouble with quick hands, quick feet, and the kind of sharp, straight punches that can catch him straight up the middle. Against Dmitry Bivol, the 5-foot-8 four-division world champ struggled in defending himself against long, up-the-middle shots and was never quite able to close the gap to fight at his own preferred distance. Charlo, who is just as tall and as long as the 6-foot Bivol, has a reach that is actually one inch longer and, arguably, greater hand speed. He also possesses all-around quicker footwork than Bivol, which means, at least in theory, a greater ability to touch and not be touched.
Charlo, meanwhile, has had problems with fighters who can crowd him and apply off-putting pressure. Against Brian Castaño, he was backed into the ropes several times, especially in their first fight, and took big, damaging shots during heated exchanges. In Alvarez, Charlo will be dealing with someone much stronger than Castaño and, also, someone with a more refined skill set. If the Mexican star can land punches as big as the Argentine did, as often as he did, it could be lights out for Charlo.
As things begin to play out this Saturday, look for Charlo’s ability to establish and keep the right distance. If Canelo can get inside Charlo’s reach consistently, it’ll be a rough night for the proud Houstonian. However, a sharp, focused Charlo does have the skill and ability to keep Alvarez at bay, landing the jab and the straight right hand, ala Bivol, with his jarring left hook as a deterrent to a brave Canelo.
All in all, Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo is a quality battle with plenty of variables in play. One wouldn’t expect anything less from a king vs. king, best vs. best matchup.
For a closer look at Canelo vs Charlo, check out our fight night page.