WBC junior middleweight titleholder Jermell Charlo will face WBA and IBF counterpart Jeison Rosario in a unification matchup on Saturday. The winner will also be crowned The Ring Magazine champion at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The eagerly anticipated showdown, along with twin brother Jermall Charlo’s 160-pound world title bout against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, will be broadcast on Showtime pay-per-view, starting at 7:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00 p.m. PT.
Charlo, who is rated No. 1 by The Ring at 154 pounds, defeated a host of solid fighters, including Gabriel Rosado (UD 10), Vanes Martirosyan (UD 10) and Joachim Alcine (TKO 6) before capturing the vacant WBC title with a come-from-behind knockout against John Jackson (KO 8). He made three defenses – most impressively knocking out Erickson Lubin (KO 1) – but lost his title in controversial fashion to Tony Harrison (UD 12). After one comeback win, he regained the title, struggling at times before knocking Harrison out (KO 11).
Rosario, who is rated No. 2 by The Ring, won his first 12 fights in the Dominican Republic before losing his American debut to Nathaniel Gallimore (TKO 6). To his credit he rebounded to beat Justin LeLoach (UD 10), Jamontay Clark (UD 10) and Jorge Cota (SD 10). However, his form didn’t suggest that he’d be a significant test for IBF and WBA titleholder Julian Williams. But not only did he match up well, he was able to rip the titles from the Philadelphia fighter’s grasp with a stunning fifth-round stoppage.
Charlo (33-1, 17 knockouts) is a hot and cold fighter, which version will turn up? Was Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) a one-fight wonder or was that just the start? Both men have fight ending power, but who will take the other’s power better? Charlo figures to try to box and pick his moments in the fight, while Rosario will look for a shootout. Can the power-punching Dominican get inside and do damage?
Online gambling group William Hill lists Charlo as a 1-4 (-400) favorite, while Rosario is priced at 11-4 (+275); the draw is 18-1 (+1800).
Here’s how the experts see it:
THE RING MAGAZINE/RINGTV.COM
TOM GRAY: CHARLO TKO 11
“I was really impressed by Rosario in his win over Julian Williams but – and I hate doing this – I’m not sure that was the very best of Williams. He seemed off that night, and I think he underestimated Rosario’s ability and power. For me, Charlo has the skill and sharpness to nullify Rosario’s best weapons and stay a step ahead on the cards. The wise money says that Charlo wins on points, but I foresee him getting to Rosario late and forcing a stoppage.”
ANSON WAINWRIGHT: CHARLO TKO 9
“Charlo labored and couldn’t seem to press home his power advantages against the skilled but flawed Tony Harrison through two fights. He has showed his vaunted power, and his hot side, notably against Erickson Lubin. He was hugely motivated for that one and I think he will be for this one. We don’t know if Rosario’s beating of Julian Williams was his Buster Douglas moment or a coming out party. Huge credit to him for taking this fight and not looking for a gimme or two. That said, I like Charlo to use his more refined skills, tire out the power-punching Dominican and stop him in around nine rounds.”
LEE GROVES: ROSARIO UD
“Both are coming into the fight in a good place as Rosario will be making the first defense of the two titles he won in upset fashion from Julian Williams, while Charlo is fresh off avenging his lone loss against Tony Harrison, which he did by scoring the late TKO. However, Charlo’s low work rate and eroding accuracy is a concern, and Rosario has a fast-running engine that may result in Charlo working harder and faster than he wants. Also, at 25, Rosario is near his physical peak while the 30-year-old Charlo is on the back side of his. Yes, an out-of-the-blue Charlo KO is a distinct possibility, but I think Rosario’s youth, energy and consistency will get him the win.”
RON BORGES: ROSARIO SD
“Rosario’s stoppage of Williams is being seen by many as a fluke, or more a measure of what Williams isn’t than what Rosario is but underestimate him at your own peril. Jermell Charlo is the better-known fighter but that doesn’t mean he’s actually better. Rosario can box and punch and he didn’t just beat J-Rock, he dominated him. He won’t do that to Charlo but he’ll do enough to edge out a close split decision victory and grab a drawer full of junior middleweight title belts.”
MARTY MULCAHEY: CHARLO TKO
“One big win does not an elite boxer make in my opinion, so while Rosario was enthralling in his victory over Julian Williams, he was also aided by Williams playing into Rosario’s physical style. I believe Charlo is the better boxer, who will use his quickness to beat Rosario to the spot and punch consistently thus landing first. Despite Rosario being five years younger, I don’t see an advantage in speed or reflexes for him. Unable to cut off the ring, or corner Charlo, Rosario will follow Jermell, eating punches most of the night. This time out Rosario meets his equal in muscle and superior speed and that combination dooms Rosario to a late round TKO loss.”
MICHAEL MONTERO: CHARLO PTS
“So many questions with this one. Did Jeison Rosario catch lightning in a bottle against Julian Williams in January, or did he grow up in front of our eyes and show us who he truly is? Did Jermell Charlo learn from his close bouts with Tony Harrison and Austin Trout? My sense is that Charlo has trouble with guys who move and box, (Harrison, Trout), which is something Rosario doesn’t really do. I believe Jermell will have to survive an early onslaught, possibly even have to get off the canvas from a flash knockdown but will make adjustments and close strong. Charlo wins on points, possible late TKO.”
MICHAEL WOODS: CHARLO UD
“Jermell Charlo is a 75-25 favorite to beat Rosario, to me. Rosario was supposed to be a ‘gimme’ for Williams and that didn’t play out as so many expected, did it? Well, do you attribute the win over J-Rock to be more a testament of how good Rosario is or more so see it as an indictment of Julian? Charlo’s hand speed and superior athleticism will gain him a unanimous decision, and have people deciding that Jeison wasn’t THAT good anyway.”
NORM FRAUENHEIM: CHARLO TKO 8
“The only good pick is a mid-to- late round stoppage. Charlo figures to get it, mostly because of a versatile skillset. To wit: he can do more than Jeison Rosario. But Charlo needs to exercise caution. Rosario is dangerous, He’s coming off a knockout upset of Williams. He possesses power in both hands. But Charlo is smart enough to know that. He also has enough tactical skill to deal with it. Expect him to elude the power early and wear down Rosario for a stoppage sometime time after the sixth.”
DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER THREE-DIVISION TITLEHOLDER/TV ANALYST): CHARLO TKO
“Charlo and Rosario is a battle between two champions, but there’s more than the titles on the line; bragging rights are also at stake. I can’t see Charlo losing this one inside the distance. Charlo inside nine rounds.”
MARC RAMSAY (TRAINER): CHARLO UD
“Even though in his last fight he had a surprising performance against Williams, Rosario has shown throughout his career that his performances could be up and down. For example, his split decision against journeyman Jorge Cota and his draw against Mark Hernandez. I think Jermell Charlo is way more of a complete fighter than any other boxer Rosario fought before.”
JOLENE MIZZONE (MATCHMAKER, MAIN EVENTS): CHARLO UD
“I think that Charlo is a better fighter than Rosario. I think he will use his boxing skills to frustrate him, which should work. Now, Rosario does have that one punch power, and we don’t know how good Charlo’s chin is, so you never know what could happen.”
ALEX STEEDMAN (COMMENTATOR): ROSARIO
“This fight depends entirely upon on how Charlo decides to go about it. If he fights like he did in the rematch with Harrison, I think Charlo gets knocked out. But he has the skills and footwork to win this by decision. Rosario has been the dangerous sleeper of the division and most of him came to light in his KO win over Williams. He’s heavy handed, takes a shot and is happy to punch with you, but he is open to right hands and can be outboxed. I wonder if Charlo has the discipline and punch to keep Rosario off him for 12 rounds, so I’m going for Banana to pull it off.”
JOHN SCULLY (TRAINER): CHARLO PTS
“I like Charlo to win via decision in a good fight.”
KALLE SAUERLAND (PROMOTER, SAUERLAND EVENT): CHARLO PTS
“I see it as a very close, tough fight. I see it as Charlo edging it very closely on points.”
TOM LOEFFLER (PROMOTER, 360 PROMOTIONS): CHARLO TKO
“I believe Charlo will win. Charlo should win by late round stoppage.”
MAX ALPEROVICH (MANAGER): CHARLO
“Hopefully we see the best of Charlo in this particular fight. Not a lot is known about Rosario; we’ve only seen him on the big screens knocking out Julian Williams. His manager, Sampson Lewkowicz, usually brings pretty interesting talent, so I’m confident he has something. I think it’s going to be a very close matchup. I’ve got Charlo in that one.”
SERGIO MORA (FORMER WORLD TITLEHOLDER/ COMMENTATOR): CHARLO TKO 7
“Charlo will have his hands full. I can see Charlo getting hurt and having to face adversity but not losing. Charlo TKO 7 over Rosario in power/ chess type fight.”
WAYNE MCCULLOUGH (FORMER WORLD TITLEHOLDER/ TRAINER): CHARLO UD
“Should be a close one. Jermell might have the better skills all around, but Rosario’s power might be slightly better. Both guys take a lot of shots but come back. Jermell should use his jab to win rounds, and Rosario needs to be more compact with his defense and more accurate with his shots to take this fight into the later rounds where I think he has a better chance of getting a late stoppage. Jermell may just have the slight edge and pull out a close unanimous decision win unless he gets caught late.”
TONY TOLJ (MANAGER): ROSARIO UD
“I’m tipping Jeison ‘Banana’ Rosario. The Dominican will be the banana skin who upsets Jermell Charlo. Sampson Lewkowicz is my dear friend and ‘Picasso’ is on a role at the moment. I can never back against Sampson or any of his guys. He has an eye for discovering talent and the 25-year-old will have the youth and exuberance and will be too much for Charlo.”
VICTOR SILVA (TV ANALYST): CHARLO KO 7
“This is a great fight; I don’t believe we will get the scorecards. Rosario has power and is eager for the titles. I think Charlo has the biggest heart and has faced better opponents. He will do his best to make a perfect fight. I got it for Charlo in seven-rounds.”
Final Tally: Charlo 16-4
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at email@example.com and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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