An old-fashioned grudge match with major implications is going down Saturday night when WBC World Super Welterweight Champion Tony Harrison rematches the man he took the belt from, Jermell Charlo, live on FOX.
A war of words and personalities has been brewing for a year, ever since Tony “Superbad” Harrison (28-2, 21 KOs) upset Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (32-1, 16 KOs) last December for the WBC World Super Welterweight title. Now, with much at stake and much to settle, the two fired-up warriors are set to clash in a winner-take-all grudge match.
This Saturday, December 21, Harrison and Charlo meet again at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, live on FOX and FOX Deportes (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) for Harrison’s WBC 154-pound world championship.
Last December, at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Tony Harrison scored an upset by edging then-undefeated defending WBC world super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo via unanimous decision.
Houston’s Charlo, who was the more aggressive fighter that night, feels that not only was his belt stolen from him, but that his career momentum was unfairly halted by a bad decision. Vengeance is what he wants in this return bout.
Third-generation pro Harrison, however, asserts that he won the fight fair and square, utilizing his boxing ability to nullify Charlo’s best assets. The Detroit native claims clear superiority and is itching to prove he’s the better man once again.
Bad blood has boiled over in the disagreement over who deserved the nod last year, making for one of the most heated grudge matches of 2019.
Harrison’s WBC world super welterweight title is up for grabs in Saturday’s bout, but the animosity between the two fighters is immense, creating a rivalry that makes their personal beef an even more compelling draw than the world title bout aspect. A win—especially of the KO variety-- will be a huge point of pride in this bitter rivalry.
Nothing has changed with the Harrison-Charlo styles matchup, but everything just may be different.
Both are still tall fighters who do their best work fighting tall, with strong right hands coming after excellent jabs. Both are still tacticians at heart who can bang. Both still have elite-level athleticism and reflexes.
The difference in this return bout will be the emotion of the rivalry and the pride on the line when it comes to walking away victorious. Both have scores to settle and a general disdain for the other.
Charlo wants to inflict damage on Harrison, stop him cold, and prove that the sole loss on his record was merely a result of bad judging. Former Emanuel Steward protégé, Harrison, on the other hand, wants to quiet Charlo and his claims of robbery and affirm his own status as a legitimate world champion.
In their first bout, Harrison boxed cautiously and was derided by some for not letting his hands go enough. Charlo showed bursts of aggression but was careful not to walk into Harrison’s sharpest shots. This time around, caution should be thrown to the wind for both sides.
“ How's the rematch going to be different? I'm going to knock his ass out. ” Former World Super Welterweight Champion - Jermell Charlo
Harrison and Charlo showed the ability to hit and hurt one another the last time out and that will make the rematch even more compelling. In a battle where both sides desperately want to tear into each other, this knowledge that they are, indeed, able to touch each other up (and be touched) will make for a compelling contest.
The Words (via FOX’s PBC Face to Face)
"I will beat this man at anything we do. I'm just that better athlete and I know in my heart I'll never lose to a sucker. He's a sucker...I'm going to dominate that man...He’s going to talk and live his own fantasy...As long as he's walking this Earth, there's nothing he could do to beat me. I won't lose to suckers...I just want to beat him for twelve rounds like he stole something."
“This energy he’s portraying ain’t really him. I know something about you, boy...You made out of Styrofoam...The man you fought...is not the same Jermell Charlo...The good thing is, I get a chance to show you on December 21st... It’s mental and physical...You're going to lay it down, homeboy, You're going to give it up, homeboy...I don't like 'Phony' Harrison...You can't back up one word you say...How's the rematch going to be different? I'm going to knock his ass out.”
Harrison and Charlo are excellent technical fighters with a preference for tactical battles, but this bad blood grudge bout could turn a high-octane chess match into a flat-out war.
The key to this contest will be timing and each fighter’s ability to land first. Harrison, at 6-foot-1, has a two-inch height advantage and a 3-and-a-half-inch reach advantage, but Charlo’s aggression and athleticism in the first bout nullified that edge.
In this rematch, Charlo will have to go in harder to turn things more physical and grind down a Harrison who has, in the past, shown signs of fading late in battle. He will have to go against his natural instinct to jockey for position in pursuit of the perfect shot and let his hands go more.
Similarly, Harrison needs to let go of his preference for controlled, precision-minded boxing and let fists fly. His right hand is an especially potent weapon, but he needs to use it more in this bout than he did in the first.
With the angry words spoken and the bad blood flowing, Harrison-Charlo 2 is a guaranteed war. Neither fighter can afford to back down and neither wants to be bent under the will of the other. On Saturday night, fight fans will be treated to some real high-end grudge match drama.
For a closer look at Harrison vs Charlo 2, check out our fight night page.