Jermell Charlo watched his twin brother Jermall score a career-best win earlier in the night over Sergiy Derevyanchenko, then came out and closed the Showtime PPV with an eighth round knockout of Jeison Rosario, unifying three titles at 154 pounds and establishing himself as the top junior middleweight in the world.
Charlo (34-1, 18 KO) had three knockdowns overall in the fight, and scored a rather unusual looking KO at 21 seconds of the eighth round, dropping Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KO) with a jab to the body, had Rosario gulping breaths of air and sent his legs stiff. It was a scary scene for a moment, but Rosario wind up walking out under his own power and everything.
Here’s the KO if you didn’t see it:
The win gives the 30-year-old Charlo the WBC, WBA, and IBF title belts, with only Patrick Teixeira’s WBO belt not in the Houston native’s possession now, and other than the WBO and Teixeira, I don’t think anyone is going to argue that Charlo isn’t now clearly the top guy at 154.
Charlo scored a first round knockdown on Rosario with a clipping left hook high on the head, which sent Rosario’s legs all over the place. He dropped Rosario again late in the sixth, and that time Rosario was hurt for sure, and was probably lucky the bell got him out of the round before Charlo could do more damage, as he stumbled wearily back to his corner.
After a tentative seventh round, Charlo opened the eighth with that jab to the body, a punch that rather unpredictably ended the fight.
“I think it was due to previous punches I had thrown. That jab got to the body, it must have hit a good point, I don’t know,” Charlo said after the fight. “It seemed like he was having a seizure. I wish him well. Any man that steps in the ring, I give them respect. We’re trying to feed our families and this is how we do it. I hope he recovers well and bounces back.”
At the time of the stoppage, two judges had the fight 67-64 for Charlo, as Rosario did have success in some rounds and won his share, and the other judge had it even closer at 66-65 in Charlo’s favor. BLH had it 66-65 and 67-64 on two separate cards at the time of the KO.
“I’m more than just a puncher, but I also proved that I’m a puncher,” Charlo said. “I stick to my game plans. I’d grade myself an A, because of the fact that everything my coach told me in training camp, I did. It’s been a journey for me. I’m definitely bringing home the straps like my family told me to do.”
Charlo said Rosario “does hit hard,” and that he never underestimated his opponent at all, knowing that Rosario was dangerous.
“I knew he was going to keep coming, and he did, he pressed on for four or five rounds before I floored him again,” he said. “I’m growing, and I realize that the knockout just comes. I know I have explosive power in each one of my hands. Today I utilized my jab more than I did any other punch.”
Charlo also said, quite understandably, that he’s not really sure what comes next for him.
“I don’t know. I know I’m gonna talk with the sanctioning bodies and figure out what’s going on,” he said. “I’m the lineal champion. I hold the crown, I’m the king. I’ll talk with my team and see what’s next.”
Luis Nery UD-12 Aaron Alameda
This was probably not the official debut Luis Nery wanted at 122 pounds in terms of looking good, but he now has the WBC title, which was vacant coming into this fight, as Rey Vargas has been named “champion-in-recess,” and he’s officially in the mix at junior featherweight.
That said, Nery (31-0, 24 KO) definitely did not look like the exciting, power punching dynamo people are used to seeing. Maybe part of that is working with trainer Eddy Reynoso and trying to tweak his style a bit, and maybe part of it is just that he flat-out struggled against a fellow southpaw in Alameda, who hadn’t fought anyone, really, as a pro, but was a solid amateur fighter and showed good, if rather basic skills in this fight. Sometimes that can be enough to spoil at the very least, and it definitely was here.
Judges had this 115-113, 116-112, and a very wide 118-110 for Nery. Bad Left Hook actually had it 114-114, but if I were forced to pick a winner I might have nicked it to Nery, or then again maybe not. Alameda did way better than basically anyone expected, Nery did way worse, but ultimately I don’t think there was any great difference between what they actually achieved in the ring, and even the punch stats had them basically even on the whole. There were a lot of rounds I thought could have gone either way.
Daniel Roman UD-12 Juan Carlos Payano
We had a bit of potential late drama in this fight, as Roman appeared to score a knockdown just — and I mean just — inside the bell to end the 12th round, which seemed like it might have made a big difference on the cards here, potentially. But the shot wasn’t counted, and Roman got scores of 116-112 from all three judges, anyway, so it didn’t ultimately make a difference.
BLH had this fight 114-114 even, with Payano (21-4, 9 KO) building a nice lead on our card in the first half, and then Roman (28-3-1, 10 KO) coming on late and winning the last four rounds to even things up. The fight actually seemed fairly easy to score to me, but as Showtime’s Steve Farhood noted, sometimes judges key quite a bit on The Guy Coming Forward, and there were probably a couple Payano rounds on my card you could have shaded to Roman based on that.
But it was a good fight, very competitive, with the 36-year-old veteran Payano, born in the Dominican Republic and now fighting out of Miami, moving up to 122 after a long run at 118, and still looking plenty capable. He’s always been a good, tricky fighter, and only good fighters have ever beaten him, with only Naoya Inoue and Luis Nery — still, in my view — really convincingly beating him.
With this win, Roman, 30, is now in line to get another title fight at 122. He lost the WBA and IBF titles to Murodjon Akhmadaliev in January, and this sets him up for a crack at the WBC belt, as this was a WBC eliminator. Payano arguably got the short end a little bit here, but he’s a tough matchup for a lot of guys, and in the end Roman did just enough for the judges; and truthfully, given my 114-114 card, Roman would have had a 114-113 score for me if that 12th round knockdown had been counted, as I think it should have been. And Roman was the one who did the really good work when it seemed he needed it most, with Payano fading late due to Roman’s body work and maybe a bit due to his age, plus a cut bothering him. Hard to be upset about the result, really.
As for what’s next with Roman, he said in a post-fight interview that he’s not just going to wait for a WBC title shot, even though he has the right to one now, which is probably smart. He mentioned a possible WBA/IBF rematch with Murodjon Akhmadaliev or a WBO title fight with Angelo Leo as something he’s open to doing, too.