Jermall Charlo delivers powerful statement to 160-pound division

Former 154-pound champion knocked out Hugo Centeno Jr. Saturday night to claim interim 160-pound title, sets sights on future unification bout with GGG.

Jermall Charlo KOs Hugo Centeno Jr. (Showtime Sports).

During a February conference call, Jermall Charlo likened himself to Gennady Golovkin’s worst nightmare.

“When [Golovkin] goes to sleep at night, I know he goes to sleep thinking about me,” Charlo said. “He knows that there’s a young, hungry, 160-pound fierce dog out there. And that’s me. He knows the pressure is on him.”

The 27-year-old Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) delivered a frightening statement to Golovkin and everyone else in the middleweight division Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York—flattening Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-2, 14 KOs) with a left hook in the second round to become WBC’s interim 160-pound champion and the mandatory challenger for Golovkin’s title.

“I'm the mandatory, but Golovkin don’t want to fight me. I want Triple-G because he’s on the way out,” Charlo said. “I should be back fighting in August, probably in my hometown (Houston). I want to keep delivering explosive knockouts. [Golovkin] don’t want it, but sooner or later, I’m gonna make it happen.”

Golovkin, 36, of Kazakhstan, owns three of boxing’s four most recognized crowns. He fights Vanes Martirosyan on May 5 after his fight with Canelo Alvarez was canceled.

“My goal is to unify as one of best in the world,” Charlo said. “So I want another huge fight against a top fighter in the world. I don’t know what Triple G’s gonna do, but the fans aren’t going to keep liking him if he keeps avoiding me.”

My goal is to unify as one of best in the world. I don’t know what Triple G’s gonna do, but the fans aren’t going to keep liking him if he keeps avoiding me. WBC interim 160-pound World Champ Jermall Charlo

Charlo’s run of five knockouts in his past six fights began with his 154-pound championship victory that dethroned Cornelius Bundrage. Charlo floored the 42-year-old Bundrage four times during a third-round stoppage in September 2015 —exactly seven years to the day he made his pro debut.

In succession, Charlo dropped Wilky Campfort three times during a fourth-round TKO victory in November 2015, earned a unanimous decision over left-handed former champion Austin Trout in May 2016, and scored three knockdowns during a fifth-round knockout of previously unbeaten Julian Williams in December 2016.

Charlo’s 160-pound debut was July’s two-knockdown, fourth-round TKO of Argentina’s Jorge Sebastian Heiland, who was stopped for the first time in his career.

“Jermall is the real deal and they don’t wanna fight a young, strong guy with speed who can finish you off with a shot at any moment of a fight from beginning to end,” said trainer Ronnie Shields.

“Jermall is always ready and in-shape because he works out like a beast. With him getter better with every fight, they’re gonna try to stay away from Jermall as much and for as long as possible. At some point, though, Golokin’s gonna have to give up the belt.”

For a closer look at Charlo vs Centeno, check out our fight page.

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