Jermall Charlo vs. Dennis Hogan: Chips on Shoulders

Fireworks are expected when Jermall Charlo puts his 160-pound belt on the line versus rugged contender Dennis Hogan Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

Undefeated WBC World Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo (29-0, 21 KOs), making the second defense of his belt, is looking to assert his dominance in the 160-pound division.

Former title challenger Dennis Hogan (28-2-1, 7 KOs) aims to prove that a controversial loss in his last world title bid will not be the defining moment of his career.

On Saturday, December 7, live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Charlo and Hogan meet atop a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING card starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. The high-action event will also feature second-generation British star Chris Eubank Jr. making his U.S. debut against Matt Korobov for the interim WBA middleweight title and Marlon Tapales taking on Ryosuke Iwasa for the interim IBF super bantamweight championship.

The Story

Charlo, feeling that he’s been avoided by the other elite-level fighters in the division, is looking to pile up wins and impressive defenses of his WBC title. The undefeated Houston native and twin brother of former WBC 154-pound champ, Jermell, is still fighting with a chip on his shoulder, facing the best available opposition and cement his pro legacy.

Hogan is coming off a heartbreaking majority decision loss to WBO junior middleweight champ Jaime Munguia in April that might’ve sent other fighters into a tailspin of self-pity. The confidence of the Irish-born Australian resident, however, has not wavered and he’s viewing this title bout with Charlo as the perfect vehicle for redemption.

The Stakes

Beyond the belt, the stakes are high for both fighters.

Charlo, on the verge of superstardom, must not only win to maintain his status, but also impress with an exciting, dominant performance.

For Hogan, this may be his last shot at a world title and he needs to make the best of it or be sent back home to re-start the slow climb to the top.

The Matchup

The 29-year-old Charlo is a straight up and down fighter who does his best work with a basic one-two built off an outstanding jab and quick, strong right hand. Despite cultivating a reputation as a KO artist of sorts, he’s actually more of a calm, cool technician by nature with a calculated approach. If an opponent can stand up to his power, Charlo has no problem settling into a boxing match to win rounds rather than take scalps.

Although he does his best work at a distance, when allowed to extend his arms, he’s also shown himself more than capable of causing damage on the inside.

The theory on beating Charlo revolves around staying up close and throwing him off-kilter with activity. So far, none of his opponents have been able to test if that’s true.

Hogan, 34, likes to box from the outside, circling his opposition out of arm’s reach to find an opening and then rushing in behind a single or double jab, flinging an overhand right as his best offensive weapon.

If I hit Hogan with something flush, he’s going to sleep. Undefeated World Middleweight Champion - Jermall Charlo

Lacking in one-punch power, footwork, conditioning, and tenacity are Hogan’s greatest assets as a fighter. His rush-forward style often makes for a muddled mess when engaging foes on the inside and he’s adept at exploiting the momentary chaos to his benefit. Against Munguia, for example, his off-putting rhythm bothered the young champion and created opportunities for him to score with a number of flush shots.

Despite having competed for a 154-pound title in his last bout, Hogan actually campaigned in the amateurs as a light heavyweight and fought his first four pro bouts at that weight. The move up to 160 for this title challenge shouldn’t be a factor.

The Words

Jermall Charlo

"You hear fighters say that they’re not going for the knockout, but I am. If I hit Hogan with something flush, he’s going to sleep. I’m in shape. I’m strong. I’m going for the knockout if it’s there. If he thinks he can bully me, then I’ll show him he made a big mistake. I’m back where I want to be. It took me a little while to fill out into a true middleweight, but I’m here now. I know everything about Hogan. I know he’s been in Florida thinking that he’s getting ready for me. He has no idea."

Dennis Hogan via Fight Hub TV

"Even if I am the favorite the opponent will be underestimating me. Everyone reckons they can knock me out. I don’t know where they are getting that from, but every single fighter from my last five or six opponents all said they were going to knock me out. I’m certainly going to bring something he is not used to. I do feel I can break him down. I can certainly break his will and frustrate him and that’s what we will look to do – and I feel that will happen before or during the middle rounds. We are looking to get a knockout if we can, but we are looking to win every round also. So if it does go to the scorecards we can get the win."

The Breakdown

It’ll be interesting to see how Charlo’s preference for keeping opponents at arm’s length plays against Hogan’s preference for staying on the perimeter, just outside of arm’s reach. It’ll also be interesting to see how Charlo handles the challenger’s rushes forward to score.

To take the title, Hogan will have to upset Charlo’s rhythm, frustrate his sensibilities, and score clearly enough to win rounds. Many observers felt that he did just that against Munguia and deserved the decision, but dealing with the more experienced and generally cooler-headed Charlo will be a different task entirely for him.

Charlo, on the other hand, has to nullify the challenger’s preferred space and pace by establishing the jab and timing, as best he can, of Hogan’s offensive surges. If he can hurt Hogan early and dissuade those surges entirely, Charlo should have a fairly uncomplicated path to victory.

The key for both sides will be execution. On Saturday night, the world will see whether Charlo’s plans for world domination trump Hogan’s pursuit of world class redemption.

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

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