A look at the finest performances in the career of the undefeated, two-division world champ ahead of his WBC World Middleweight title defense against Juan Macias Montiel Saturday night on PBC on SHOWTIME.
It doesn’t seem that long, though it is. Jermall Charlo has been a pro for a remarkable 14 years—and he still looks like he’s in his 20’s. Blink, and in a moment, Charlo is building a resume. Blink again, and he’s rated. Blink a third time, and he’s a 154-pound champion. Blink once more, and he’s the undefeated WBC World Middleweight Champion; one of the best fighters in the world, pound for pound.
In the blink of an eye, the career of the 31-year-old from Houston, Texas, has gone by that quickly—and it’s still powerfully churning along.
On a Juneteenth Day celebration, Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) is bound to make challenger Juan Macias Montiel (22-4-2, 22 KOs) blink more than a few times when the two engage in the main event on PBC on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing this Saturday (9p.m. ET/6p.m. PT) from the Toyota Center in Houston.
Charlo is 6-0 in world championship fights, with four victories coming by knockout. He’s 3-0 (2 KOs) against current and former world champions (Cornelius Bundrage, Austin Trout and Julian Williams). Right now, no one appears to be in his way towards 160-pound domination.
We’d like to peel back the years and take a look at five victories that have defined Charlo so far.
5 CORNELIUS BUNDRAGE
Date: September 12, 2015
Location: Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, CT
At stake: Bundrage’s IBF world super welterweight title
Records at the time: Charlo 21-0 (17 KOs), Bundrage 34-5 (19 KOs)
Result: Charlo TKO 3 (2:33)
Significance: This carries significance, because it was Charlo’s first world title fight. Though he was the challenger, it was Charlo’s coming out party. In fitting symmetry, Charlo claimed his first title exactly seven years ago to the day that he made his pro debut. Then 25, Charlo had waited two years to have a chance at any of the 154-pound beltholders. Bundrage was 42 and had 30 fights before Charlo turned pro. Coming off his IBF title-winning performance in which he dropped Carlos Molina twice, Bundrage was no match for the younger, larger and faster Charlo. Unloading years of pent-up frustration with 1:19 left in the opening round, Charlo unleashed a lethal overhand right that sent Bundrage down for the first of four knockdowns. It was another overhand right that led to Bundrage’s demise. What was so impressive was Charlo’s jab and how calmly he dispatched the experienced Bundrage. Charlo found out his time had arrived.
4 HUGO CENTENO JR.
Date: April 21, 2018
Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
At stake: No title
Records at the time: Charlo 26-0 (21 KOs), Centeno Jr. 26-1 (14 KOs)
Result: Charlo KO 2 (0:55)
Significance: This marked Charlo’s second foray into the middleweight class. Centeno had just one loss at the time, and that had been due to a late-round stoppage. He had arrived as a top-five contender, though Charlo treated him more like a sparring partner. Though the fight was not technically for a title (WBC middleweight interim belt), it was an audition for one. Charlo was 4-0 in world title fights, with three coming within the distance. Centeno tried to steer away from Charlo’s power, and did a decent job of it in the first round. Once Charlo figured out the distance, it was over. Between rounds, Charlo’s esteemed trainer, Ronnie Shields, urged him to use the jab more. With 2:21 left in the second, Charlo set up a right to the jaw with the jab, then followed seconds later with a left hook that ended it. It proved Charlo sustained his power from 154 to 160.
3 AUSTIN TROUT
Date: May 21, 2016
Location: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Chelsea Ballroom, Las Vegas
At stake: Charlo’s IBF world super welterweight title
Records at the time: Charlo 23-0, (18 KOs), Trout 30-2, (17 KOs)
Result: Trout UD (115-113, 116-112, 116-112)
Significance: In his second IBF super welterweight title defense, Charlo went 12 rounds for the first time in his career in facing a southpaw for the first time as a pro—and a savvy, experienced one at that. It marked just the sixth time Charlo had gone the distance in his 24 pro fights. The fight tested Charlo’s patience. He was never in trouble, though he was never in complete control either, as he had been in every previous fight. Charlo learned that if his original game plan did not work, he could resort to a Plan B on the go.
2 SERGIY DEREVYANCHENKO
Date: September 26, 2020
Location: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT
At stake: Charlo’s WBC world middleweight title
Records at the time: Charlo 30-0 (22 KOs), Derevyanchenko 13-2, (10 KOs)
Result: Charlo UD (116-112, 117-111 and 118-110)
Significance: Charlo had wanted Gennadiy Golovkin. If he couldn’t prove himself against GGG, Charlo settled for the next best thing, Derevyanchenko, who gave Golovkin all kinds of trouble just over a year ago with his relentless pressure. Derevyanchenko also posed a threat to Danny Jacobs, who got by the Ukrainian by a split-decision two years earlier. Using his superior height, powerful jab and distance to dominate early, Charlo wobbled Derevyanchenko in the third. By the mid rounds, Derevyanchenko closed the distance, using a two-fisted attack, landing lefts to the body and rights up top. This was a great test for Charlo, who was forced to face adversity. It proved he could respond well when pressed, unlike Golovkin, who wilted under Derevyanchenko’s heat. By comparison, according to CompuBox, Derevyanchenko landed more punches on Golovkin than anyone prior, connecting on 230 of 738 blows (31%) to Golovkin’s connect rate of 243 of 720 blows (34%). Against Charlo, Derevyanchenko could only connect on 180/681 (26%) to Charlo’s rate of 219/627 (35%). In the end, that bore out, with Charlo winning handily 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110 on the judges’ scorecards, despite Derevyanchenko’s late charge. This was arguably Charlo’s greatest performance.
1 Julian Williams
Date: December 10, 2016
Location: USC Galen Center, Los Angeles
At stake: Charlo’s IBF super welterweight title
Records at the time: Charlo 24-0, (18 KOs), Williams 22-0-1, (14 KOs)
Result: Charlo KO 5 (2:06)
Significance: This takes precedence as No. 1 because it launched Charlo into stardom. Both Charlo and Williams were undefeated 154-pounders in their prime. It was supposed to be a pick ‘em fight, but Charlo converted it into a star-turning performance by putting a future world champion down four times. It was Charlo’s third IBF super welterweight title defense—and it aged well since Williams went on to win the IBF 154-pound title himself by beating Jarrett Hurd three years later. Charlo surprisingly knocked down Williams with a jab in the second round, setting the tone for the quick outcome. Charlo floored Williams a second time in the second with a right, then followed that up with a pulverizing right uppercut in the fifth that led to the third knockdown. A Charlo left hook resulted in knockdown No. 4 and ended it at 2:06 of the fifth, when referee Wayne Hedgepeth wisely waved it over. Charlo exerted great patience in a concerted, disciplined effort.
For a closer look at Jermall Charlo, check out his fighter page.
- Jermall Charlo