Jermell Charlo, John Jackson both ready to leave comfort zone to become a world champion

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Jermell Charlo hints at a knockout although he’s considered more of a boxer-puncher, while John Jackson vows to display his versatility although he’s known primarily for his power.

Jermell Charlo and John Jackson

Jermell Charlo and John Jackson square off Saturday for a vacant 154-pound world championship. It's the first title fight for both boxers. (Amanda Westcott/Showtime)

Both fighters vow to do whatever it takes to emerge victorious Saturday night when they vie for a vacant world title as part of a 154-pound championship tripleheader at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

In addition to the Charlo-Jackson bout, Erislandy Lara defends his crown against Vanes Martirosyan, and Jermell’s twin, Jermall Charlo, puts his title on the line against former champion Austin Trout.

Jermell Charlo (27-0, 12 KOs) gained a sixth-round TKO of former world champion Joachim Alcine in his last bout on Halloween night. It was his first stoppage since scoring a 10th-round TKO of Jose Angel Rodriguez in October 2013.

“It would be a great feeling [to get another knockout],” Charlo said. “I box more; [Jackson] comes forward more. I’ll be willing to stand and trade sometimes, but it’s not about trading for me; it’s about getting the cleaner shots off and hitting, and not getting hit.”

The Charlo twins, who turned 26 on Thursday, will be fighting on the same card for the first time since March 2015, when Jermall won a unanimous decision over Michael Finley and Jermell did the same against Martirosyan in Las Vegas.

“That was a great feeling, and it’s not a distraction at all,” said Jermell Charlo, whose fight will precede his brother’s title defense Saturday. “Knowing that I have to go first has never been a problem, so if I have to be the one who goes first, then let it be.”

John Jackson (20-2, 15 KOs), a 27-year-old native of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has won two straight 10-round unanimous decisions since being knocked out in the fifth round by eventual 160-pound champion Andy Lee in June 2014.

Jackson’s only other defeat came in September 2012, when he lost a 10-round unanimous decision to title contender Willie Nelson after winning the first 13 bouts of his career, including 12 by knockout.

“Against Willie Nelson and Andy Lee, you saw me mostly coming forward and punching, but I don’t fight like that all the time,” Jackson said. “I can be versatile.

“Everyone thinks that [Charlo] has just speed alone, but I know that he has a little pop as well. I don’t know why people don’t give him credit for having that, but we’ll be ready for everything. I’m just going to go in there and do my job, and that’s to fight and box.”

Despite Jackson’s claims that he will utilize his boxing skills against Charlo, his father and trainer—former two-division world champion Julian “The Hawk” Jackson—contends that his son’s power will ultimately be the difference-maker Saturday night.

“Charlo had better be ready, because we’re not holding back. We’re coming out with both hands, and we’re coming for war,” Julian Jackson said. “We’re going to break him down and we’re going to knock him out; that’s what’s on our minds. Charlo is going to be in the fight of his life, and he’s going to get hurt.”

Charlo’s trainer, Derrick James, hopes John Jackson does indeed follow his father's game plan, as he believes Jackson’s aggression could hasten his own demise.

“[Jackson is] a tough guy who was in control and in the driver’s seat against Andy Lee, but you saw in that fight that he got caught sleeping,” James said. “A fighter needs to know his own pace and his own gauge, and it seems Jackson doesn’t know that yet. That’s something we’ll find out about.”

For a complete overview of Charlo vs Jackson, visit our fight page.

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