While the rest of the big names play “keep away” from Jermall Charlo, the Houston native prepares to take his one-man show of dominance back home to face yet another hungry contender Saturday night on Showtime.
On Saturday, June 29, at NRG Arena in Houston and live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), undefeated WBC World Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo (28-0, 21 KOs) meets Brandon Adams (21-2, 13 KOs) in a twelve-round Premier Boxing Champions 160-pound clash.
The 29-year-old Charlo will be headlining for the first time in his hometown, also his first bout in Houston since 2012. The importance of delivering for a partisan home crowd is not lost on the former junior middleweight world champ, but the pressure, he believes, is more of a motivation than a burden.
"I get a lot of juice from the hometown crowd,” Charlo said. “Just having my family there alone is what I really need to get the nerves and excitement to where I need them...It’s an amazing feeling to be fighting in my hometown. It’s almost a dream come true to me. To have my own card at this level and on this stage, it shows the support Houston has for me."
Working under the guidance of trainer and fellow Houstonian Ronnie Shields, Charlo is a technically-sound elite-level fighter in the middle of his physical prime. Although he’s earned a reputation as a fearsome puncher in recent years, the truth is that his boxing skills are every bit as formidable as his KO power.
A straight up-and-down fighter with good balance and impeccable technique, Charlo does his best work fighting tall and at a distance behind a sharp jab and a quick follow-up right hand.
In his most recent performance, he worked through some rough patches against late replacement southpaw Matt Korobov before seizing control and taking a decisive unanimous decision victory.
Charlo’s technical prowess, combined with his high-grade knockout power, makes him an unappealing high-risk proposition for some of the other stars in the middleweight division. So, while waiting on more lucrative opportunities, he continues to meet the challenge of eager, hungry contenders like his foe this Saturday.
Los Angeles-native Brandon Adams may have earned this main stage opportunity by winning the fifth season of The Contender reality series, but “The Cannon” has been a known commodity in the boxing world for a while.
After starting his formal training at the late age of 19 and making his pro debut at 20, Adams developed fast under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer Dub Huntley. With less than three years in the pros, he was already a 12-0 fighter with a spot in ESPN’s Boxcino middleweight tournament.
Adams would drop a decision in the tournament finals to Willie Monroe Jr. and then get stopped in the second round by John Thompson in the finals of the junior middleweight version of the tournament one year later.
Despite the losses, his efforts and raw talent led to him becoming a sought-after sparring partner, working with the likes of Shawn Porter, Antonio Margarito, and Gennady Golovkin.
Following a three-year absence from the ring where he refocused, reenergized, and reaffirmed his love for the sport, he made his return via The Contender, winning three bouts along the way before dominating Shane Mosley Jr. in the finals.
Impressing with both his abilities and personality, Adams’ performance on the reality show opened the door for some big offers, including this opportunity to topple one of the sport’s very best.
The 29-year-old is physically strong and aggressive by nature. He’s at his best fighting on the inside, where his strength and tenacity make him a formidable presence as he digs to the body and whips shots upstairs. Although not a true one-punch powerhouse, Adams’ hands are fairly heavy and his work rate more than makes up for any lack of dynamite.
The addition of Freddie Roach to his corner, working alongside Huntley, now gives Adams two Hall of Fame trainers on his team and an added confidence that he can walk into hostile enemy territory and pull off the upset.
"I didn’t expect my road to be easy because it’s never been easy for me,” Adams said. “I’m on the road and I understand that. I’m prepared to pack my bags and go wherever I need to, so that I can become what I’m supposed to become.
"It was pressure every time I fought on The Contender. Each round were quality opponents leading up to the final and all of that will prepare me for Charlo. He deserves everything he’s gotten and I respect him as a man, but I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity."
Charlo’s weaknesses as a fighter are few and mostly theoretical at this point. However, someone who can get within his reach and rough him up on the inside would likely be his most dangerous and troublesome kind of opponent. Adams is precisely that type of fighter.
It remains to be seen whether The Contender champ has the skill and overall ability to get where he needs to be against Charlo—especially since he’s shown a susceptibility in the past to getting tagged on the way inside against quick-fisted fighters – but executing his best game plan does play into Charlo’s greatest theoretical weakness.
The undefeated champion, however, is eager to prove that paper analysis is just paper analysis and reality show boxing victories only prove so much. He’s looking to impress in this big homecoming event and take one full step closer to laying hands on the other elites at 160.
“My goal is to make quick work of Brandon and show him that there are levels to this,” Charlo declared. “You might be a contender, but it’s another thing to be a champion.”
For a closer look at Charlo vs Adams, check out our fight night page.