By Bill Tibbs: On Saturday night, Texas based Jermall Charlo, 17-0 (13), will challenge Carlos Molina for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) light middleweight title on Golden Boy Promotions’ “TOE TO TOE” pay-per-view card featuring Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez against tough Alfredo “Perro” Angulo in the main event. The card, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, will also match World Boxing Council (WBC) 122-pound beltholder Leo Santa Cruz, 26-0-1 (15), against Cristian Mijares, 49-7-2 (24), and Sergio Thompson, 28-3 (26), opposite Ricardo “Dinamita” Alvarez (Alvarez’s older brother), 23-2-3 (14).
Charlo, the identical twin of undefeated junior middleweight contender Jermell Charlo (who himself is wreaking havoc in the junior middleweight division at 23-0 (11)), will try to win his first world title against champion Molina. The Mexico-born, Chicago-based Molina won the title in September of last year beating champion Ishe Smith over 12 rounds in a split decision. While Charlo boats impressive numbers at an unbeaten 17-0, Molina’s résumé boasts some time on the job against strong competition. The champion has faced the likes of James Kirkland, Cory Spinks, Erislandy Lara and Kermit Cintron along with his title-winning effort against Smith. Charlo knows he is in tough but in pre-fight pressers, has described his upcoming world title try as “like a regular fight to me because I train hard for every fight.”
The 6’0”, Charlo has outstanding boxing skills. However, over the last couple of years, he turned up the heat in the KO department dispatching 11 straight opponents dating back to the summer of 2010. The Houston-based Charlo also displays a refreshing understanding of team loyalty and appreciation for the strong group he has around him, which boasts boxing power-broker/manager Al Haymon and highly respected trainer Ronnie Shields directing his career.
Shields said recently that he called Haymon after 2012 and said, “We are 10-0; ya gotta sign this kid. He’s going to be a champion of the world for a very long time.” Haymon, who has worked with some of boxing’s very best, liked what he heard and saw and signed him. Now, seven fights later, Charlo is stepping up to the plate in his first world title fight. Charlo is excited and confident that he can win the title and bring it back home to Houston and certainly has the confidence of head coach Shields, who stated, “Jermall Charlo is one of the best pure boxers in the world. This is what we’ve always trained for and now here it is.”
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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