New York – Unified WBC, WBA, and IBF Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo and unbeaten, two-time super middleweight world champion David Benavidez, held court in the same ballroom and answered questions from media about their upcoming fights on SHOWTIME during separate media roundtables inside the Live! By Loews Hotel from Arlington, Texas. Sitting to their right was Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports, and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc., who offered his thoughts during an intriguing and wide-ranging discussion involving two of the most talented fighters today.
“I want to knock this guy out. This is the Jermell from earlier, back when I was trying to end fights. I want to be that guy for 12 rounds now,” – Charlo
On Saturday, May 14, Charlo and WBO World Champion Brian Castaño will meet in a rematch of one of 2021’s most significant fights as they again seek to become the first-ever undisputed 154-pound champion in the four-belt era live on SHOWTIME from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and also features rising welterweight star and pound-for-pound talent Jaron “Boots” Ennis battling unbeaten Custio Clayton in the co-main event.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Lions Only Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through AXS.com. Ennis vs. Clayton is promoted in association with D&D Boxing.
Here’s what the roundtable participants had to say on Saturday:
On not leaving the rematch in the judge’s hands:
“I want to knock this guy out. This is the Jermell from earlier, back when I was fighting four-rounders and I was trying to end those fights. I want to be that guy for 12 rounds now.”
On becoming undisputed at 154:
“This is one of the achievements a fighter can have – to fight to be undisputed, so I’m going to enjoy this moment and I’m going to have fun when I’m in there on May 14, five days before my birthday. I’m ready to win this fight impressively. I make all of my former opponent somebody – Tony Harrison, Lubin, all these fighters who fought me before. Nobody knew who Brian Castaño was before I fought him. And I hope I get the judges who really understand boxing. Everyone is used to me knocking everyone out that when I don’t knock someone out, it’s an issue. This is a skillful sport, you have to pay the bills for this.”
A different Charlo this time around:
“I’m locked in a little bit different this time. I’m more dedicated than I’ve ever been. I’m hungrier. I don’t know what’s next after this opportunity in my life and I’m glad that God gave me the opportunity to face the same guy and just put on a better performance. This is about me being the best Jermell Charlo.
“I was having back spasms (in his preparation for the last fight). I want to say that I came into this camp doing things the old school way now. At first, I was being superstar Jermell Charlo. I put that aside and now this is about me digging deeper into the Jermell Charlo that I really am and testing myself with my training and swimming, running, stuff that I went away from because of the stardom before.”
On fighting the winner of Spence-Crawford:
“I have no intention on fighting my stablemate (Spence). Terence Crawford can get that work. I don’t care about him. I don’t know him, and he doesn’t know me. We can make it happen. But when you have an emotional tie to someone, it’s like fighting my twin brother. Now like Spence said, if that money is right, and you put that brick bread out there, we’re going to get in there with anybody. We’re not going to turn down anyone, neither will Spence. But Crawford hasn’t done anything at 154. How do you want him to fight me? I’m trying to become undisputed right now. How are we talking about someone who hasn’t even fought in the division? How did he just jump from there to there? What connection does he have?”
On Facing Sebastian Fundora:
“This is what I do. When you become a champion like that, you have mandatory after mandatory after mandatory. You have all these people in the way. Maybe I’ll be the shot-caller and make the decision who I want to fight next. Fundora? Go fight someone else? Crawford? You guys fight each other. I’m busy.”
On his legacy:
“Once the story is written and the book is finished, everyone’s going to come back and say that Jermell Charlo did a really good job at 154. I held it down. I’m proud of what I’ve done in the division, but I have to get Castaño out of the way. I have to show all the fans why I’m the No. 1 guy that’s been the No. 1 guy for so many years. I possess a different type of strength. I have a different type of power when I punch. I’m the Hagler and Hearns put together and I have 12 rounds to do it.”
Hall of Fame bound if he beats Castaño?
“I might get an opportunity to make a move in my life like that. That’s what’s important. What’s important is leaving a legacy and I want to leave a legacy for my children and it’s not about right now. The legacy is for the future so I’m writing my book and if I don’t get the eyes and the viewers, that’s ok. I’m not begging to be the most popular boxer. I’m just doing this for my future.”
On criticism he stayed on the ropes too much in the first fight:
“In boxing sometimes, you have to fight off the ropes. Yeah, I could have done better by not being on the ropes. But I fought myself off the ropes. Who got hurt more? Who got buckled? To me, I want all the action. At the end of the day, maybe I won’t be on the ropes that much and get back into the center of the ring. He didn’t throw as many punches as he usually does against me. Why? Because he got hurt. The fight would have ended if he had thrown more punches. I’m going to smash him this time around.”
On Jermell Charlo:
“I want to go back to something about what ‘Mell said about appreciating him while he’s here, and that really resonated with me, and I hope it resonates with you because the sport of boxing needs boxers like Jermell Charlo. Not just in the ring – being passionate and athletic, putting on a show and entertaining people. But also doing things like this, outside of the ring. People are always saying, ‘We need personalities in this sport. We need larger than life characters.’ We have one here. We have a larger-than-life person in the ring and outside of the ring and I hear people say, “He’s angry, he’s this, he’s that.’ That is passion. What you’re hearing is not anger. It’s passion and a commitment to the sport, and I think Jermell is the kind of fighter that, when he’s gone, I think there will be a greater appreciation for him, and I think we need to appreciate him when he’s here because fighters like Jermell are critical to the health of the sport. They draw people in. They impress people in the ring. They attract eyeballs outside of the ring. You guys see it.”
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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