Charlo Wants Canelo Showdown, Views Benavidez, Plant as Stepping Stones

Jermall Charlo’s next WBC middleweight crown defense was scheduled for June 18 against Maciej Sulecki in a return fight in Houston on Showtime Championship Boxing – but earlier this week the fight was officially postponed due to Charlo suffering a back injury in camp.

Former super-welterweight champion Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) has been campaigning at 160 pounds since 2017, and moving up to 168 pounds for the right fight seems to be imminent for the 32-year-old.

A trio of big-name enemies made up of undisputed middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and former headliners David Benavidez and Caleb Plant will be ready enemies after Charlo decides to take eight more pounds to his official fight weight.

“It makes me want to yell at their ass, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” Charlo told Sean Zittel of FightHype.com in an interview. “It’s a big battle for Canelo. He can’t ignore it. He can’t just say nothing is happening. It’s a big battle for Canelo. He’s fighting me, the world wants to see it. I’m down to see it or I’ll have to blow up my chances to fight David Benavidez. He is nothing either. I would also be the biggest fighter for him.

“I’m the biggest fighter for any boxer now. I’m one of the greatest boxers out there. It would improve any fight. Why not go ahead and take the real risk and fight Canelo where I could put everything in the line rather than fight David Benavidez, who has nothing to offer. I would still fight his ass and use him as a stepping stone to get to Canelo if they want me to do it, but they don’t arrange it.

“If I could challenge myself against someone like Canelo, no matter what, I go down in history. He knows it’s going to be a much harder fight than he thinks it is.”

Charlo finds himself in a precarious position.

His five-year run at 160 pounds did not include any inheritance-defining battles. His victories came against the likes of Hugo Centeno Jr., Matvey Korobov, Brandon Adams, Dennis Hogan, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and Juan Macias Montiel.

Charlo’s 154-pound wins during his title race against Austin Trout and Julian Williams were much better.

If Charlo eventually campaigns at 168 pounds, fights against the division’s best will be required to join his twin brother and undisputed super-welterweight champion Jermell on the sport’s pound-for-pound roster.

“I don’t necessarily care what they say and what they think,” Charlo said. “One day they will have to see me. So if Plant wants that, let’s get it. “I mean, sh! T, why not?” Come on, Plant. None of these fighters pose a threat to me. As long as Jermall Charlo stays on top of his game, there is no one who can stop me.

“If I go up to 168, [Plant is] it will only be a stepping stone to fight Canelo or someone. They might as well just give me Canelo. It’s all about the caregivers now, social media. The fans no longer call the fights. Obviously, the fans don’t pick the fights. The big battles come with rankings, belts and all sorts of other things.

“This is the new school age. They meet Jake Paul before they meet Benavidez. This is the age of boxing in which we live now. It’s not about the best to fight against the best. It is the most popular being the most popular.

“[Logan Paul] got a chance to fight Floyd Mayweather in front of someone who was supposed to fight him. So it’s a different era of boxing now and I like it. I’m not angry about that. They have to wait their turn at this point.

“Now they want me to go to 168. Now they’re talking about me going to 175. I guess it’s part of boxing. It’s a new era now. Weightlifting ceased to matter when Floyd Mayweather and Canelo fought at 154.

“After that, Canelo said, ‘You’re going to fight me at the weight I want to fight. So weights don’t really matter. You have little guys fighting big, big guys fighting small guys.

“If I have to go up, I have to go up. That is the largest average weight in the world. So that’s how they’ll look at me. When my brother is ready to come to 160, I will go out of his way.

“He’ll get all the other belts at 160, and then we’ll make history again, and again and again.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He is also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]coupler[at]gmail.com or at www.ManoukAkopyan.com.

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