Jermell Charlo has let it be known that he intends to turn his hometown of Houston into a kind of boxing mecca. If he’s looking to advance his efforts with some marketing material, all he needs to do is blast out highlights of his performance Saturday night in the Space City.
Facing an opponent 14 years his senior, Charlo (27-0, 12 KOs) once again proved that youth is king in the ring as the 25-year-old kept his perfect record intact with a sixth-round technical knockout of Joachim Alcine (35-8, 21 KOs) in a 154-pound contest at NRG Arena in Houston.
Fighting in front of friends, family—including unbeaten twin brother, Jermall—and youth fighters from his nearby boxing gym, Jermell Charlo was all business from the opening bell, firing a big overhand right that caught the former champ flush just 30 seconds into the bout.
From there, Charlo methodically used his jab to set up—and land—big power shots, the accumulation of which took their toll on the 39-year-old Alcine, much to the delight of the pro-Charlo crowd.
“Fighting in front of my hometown crowd fueled me. It gave me energy,” Charlo said. “I established my jab early, and once I was comfortable with it, the right hand started landing.”
Two of those right hands staggered Alcine, once in the third round and once in the fourth, with the native of Haiti visibly wobbling from both shots. Although Charlo was unable land the finishing blows in either instance, he was in complete control of the contest, and it seemed only a matter of time before he would hit the jackpot.
That time came in the sixth.
Less than a minute into the round, Charlo dropped Alcine with a vicious right uppercut followed by a short right hand. Alcine made it to his feet, and after the fight resumed he actually connected with a solid right hand of his own. Unfortunately for him, Charlo walked right through it and kept firing away.
“I wanted to load up and show that I have power,” says Charlo, who scored his first knockout in more than two years, ending a string of four straight wins by unanimous decision. “I knew I was getting to him and wearing him down.
“I knew after the knockdown in the sixth round that it was over, but he was a strong fighter.”
Indeed, while Alcine showed courage in surviving the initial onslaught, his legs eventually wouldn’t match the strength of his heart: After Charlo just missed with a sweeping left hook midway through the sixth, he hit pay dirt with a follow-up overhand-right/left-hook combination that sent Alcine staggering into the ropes.
As one final short right landed on Alcine’s jaw, referee John Schorle stepped in and halted the fight at the 1:21 mark.
One look at the stats shows Schorle made the appropriate decision: Charlo landed 110 of 223 total punches, including a whopping 63 of 94 power shots, while Alcine found the mark just 22 times out of 157 punches, including landing just three jabs.
“I didn't fight for a year and a half, and then I jumped right into the ring with a hungry, young lion,” Alcine said. “I wanted the fight, but sometimes pride takes its toll.”
Alcine admitted after the fight that he was unsure of his boxing future. Conversely, Charlo—who was fighting under new trainer Derrick James for the first time—is entering the prime of his career, and a much-desired title shot appears to be on the horizon.
And when he gets that shot, Charlo intends to make the most of it, just as brother Jermall did in September when he claimed a 154-pound championship with a third-round TKO of Cornelius Bundrage.
“I’m a completely different fighter now with my new trainer. My brother noticed it, too, and told me the same thing,” Jermell Charlo said. “I’m getting older, better, wiser and improving with every fight. Everything people saw tonight is a product of hard work in training.”
For complete coverage of Charlo vs Alcine, check out our fight page.
Tony Harrison rebounds from defeat with convincing victory over Cecil McCalla
The last time Tony Harrison was in the ring, he suffered the first loss of his pro career when he essentially let his guard down in a fight he was dominating. Harrison insisted he wouldn’t make the same mistake Saturday in his 156-pound contest against Cecil McCalla in Houston, and he was true to his word—albeit barely.
After putting on a boxing clinic through the first eight rounds of the scheduled 10-rounder, Harrison got a bit lackadaisical in the ninth—the same round in which he was knocked out by Willie Nelson in July—and absorbed a couple of hard shots from McCalla.
This time, though, Harrison (22-1, 18 KOs) withstood the punishment, regained his composure and then survived another brief scare in the 10th before ultimately taking home a lopsided unanimous-decision victory.
The lifelong Detroit native prevailed by scores of 100-90 and 98-92 twice, sending the 30-year-old McCalla (20-3, 7 KOs) to his third consecutive loss.
“I got kind of careless in the ninth round, and the same thing happened tonight that happened against Willie Nelson, but thankfully I had the experience this time to pull it out,” Harrison said. “I wanted to show the fans that I can take a punch, and I definitely showed that tonight.”
Using a wicked jab that he threw with tremendous effectiveness from the opening bell, Harrison thoroughly outboxed McCalla, who seemed more interested in covering up than actually fighting. When he wasn’t sticking his opponent with the jab—which he launched a mind-boggling 411 times—the 25-year-old Harrison was connecting with three-punch combinations and hard overhand rights that landed outside of McCalla’s guard.
With McCalla mounting next to nothing in the way of an offensive attack—he landed just 67 punches all night—Harrison continued to remain patient and pick his spots, which he said wasn’t as easy as it may have looked.
“[McCalla] was throwing so few punches that it was actually hard to get the timing down against him,” said Harrison, who landed nearly as many punches (186) as his opponent threw (250).
After his corner repeatedly told him to let his hands go, McCalla finally obliged in the ninth, connecting with two right hands that clearly rocked Harrison near the ropes. Harrison shook off the cobwebs and reverted to his bread-and-butter—the jab—to get out of harm’s way.
But as the ninth was coming to a close, McCalla again scored with a couple of hard shots as Harrison lay limp against the ropes, his fists closer to his knees than his face. Turns out Harrison was playing possum, as he returned fire with several heavy punches of his own before the bell sounded.
Harrison again let McCalla get unnecessarily close to him in the 10th, but again he weathered the assault and made it to the finish line.
“The whole point is to hit and not get hit, and I thought I did a great job of that through eight rounds,” said Harrison, whose win by decision ended a streak of 10 consecutive stoppage victories. “I just need to stay focused for the whole fight.”
As for what’s next, Harrison said he has his sights set on one opponent, and one opponent only: “I want Willie Nelson again. If he can do it twice, he’ll make me a believer.”
For complete coverage of Harrison vs McCalla, check out our fight page.