Jermall Charlo approaches knockdowns the way Tammany Hall politicians approach voting: The best policy is early and often.
Charlo goes by “FutureOfBoxing” on Twitter, and Saturday at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, you couldn’t have asked for a more clear-cut passing of the torch than the 25-year-old Charlo swarming and overwhelming the 42-year-old Cornelius Bundrage en route to a late third-round stoppage that doesn’t even begin to hint at how dominant Charlo’s performance was.
From the opening bell, it was clear Charlo wanted to use his six-inch height advantage to maximum effectiveness, firing his jab from the edge of his range. Bundrage tried to get inside and work in some big shots, but Charlo let him know what such a strategy would get him: a chopping right hand square on the ear that put a surprised Bundrage on his backside with a little more than a minute to go in the first round.
“I just stayed focused,” Charlo said. “I was ready for the big shots and the wildness. I thought he was going to be rougher. I kept making the fight my fight. I didn’t think about the knockdown and continued to work as long as he continued to get up.”
Getting back up would prove to be something of a theme on the afternoon.
In the second, Charlo stuck with the jab and even that paid dividends. As Bundrage was coming in, Charlo again showed that his height and reach advantage was going to be one of his most effective weapons, slamming a left jab to the face that caught Bundrage clean and put him on the mat midway through the round.
“I know my jab is pretty strong,” Charlo said. “That’s the hard work. When you work hard, even the jab is strong.”
But it wasn’t the jab, Charlo said, that was his most effective weapon: “My composure, actually. That’s what let me finish the fight.”
That finish came, with all the inevitability of the sun rising in the east, in the third round.
Jermall Charlo crushed Bundrage with a left hook that wobbled the veteran brawler. With blood in the water, Charlo channeled his inner hammerhead by hammering his opponent repeatedly in the head. As he pounced, Charlo forced Bundrage into the corner and unleashed a torrent of shots that crumpled the 154-pound champ. Through sheer stubbornness, force of will, whatever you want to call it, Bundrage got up a third time.
It would be the last. After peeling himself off the canvas, Bundrage paused, hunched over with his gloves on his knees in a textbook show of exhaustion. Mercifully—if you can call it mercy—the end came when Charlo shot that left jab straight through Bundrage’s high guard. Bundrage slipped to his left to avoid it, directly into the path of an oncoming right hook that finished the job.
Bundrage was down for a fourth time, and referee Johnny Callas had seen enough, waving off the contest.
With the win, Charlo becomes a titleholder in a stacked division that features some of the top fighters in the sport.
“I feel good now. Now I feel like I accomplished something. If they’re not woke by now,” Charlo said of the other 154-pounders, “then I’m just going to let them sleep.”
For the full recap of Bundrage vs Charlo, including photos, highlights and video, make sure to visit our fight page.