Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo preview and prediction

Canelo Alvarez will defend his undisputed super middleweight championship against undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo on September 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Canelo Alvarez v Jermell Charlo - Press Conference
Canelo Alvarez v Jermell Charlo - Press Conference / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Boxing will be back at the forefront of the combat sport’s world this weekend when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) steps into the ring against Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The bout will be for Alvarez’s undisputed super middleweight crown, with all four of his titles on the line.

When the fight was first announced over the summer, it came as a surprise as many were anticipating Alvarez to take on Jermall Charlo, who holds a middleweight title, or against top super middleweight contender David Benavidez.

It’s a rare occurrence for two undisputed champions to face off in the ring, and the opportunity and, just as importantly, the timing to make the fight happen may not have come around again.

“When I got the call for this fight, there was nothing I could say other than ‘let’s go,’” Charlo said at the Los Angeles press conference in August. “My whole career has kind of been all about chasing Canelo. He’s been the top guy for a long time. The fight has presented itself now, and I just have to get in there, do my job, and be the best that I can be.”

Some fights that were critical for their respective weight classes to make Alvarez-Charlo happen were sacrificed. Charlo has been out of the ring since May 2022, when he stopped Brian Castano in a rematch to become the undisputed junior middleweight champion.

Since then, a fracture to Charlo’s left hand during training has kept him out of the ring. A scheduled fight with mandatory challenger Tim Tszyu was initially planned for January of this year but was postponed due to the injury. Instead of waiting on the sidelines for Charlo to return, Tszyu has fought two times in 2023 in Australia, with an upcoming match in October against Brian Mendoza.

Tszyu’s willingness to keep busy and Alvarez’s cash cow status that allows him to choose who and when he fights opened the door for Charlo to be part of the biggest boxing event of his career.

Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo will be shown live on SHOWTIME PPV on September 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas

Moving up two weight classes, as Charlo will when he takes on Alvarez, is a daunting ask for any fighter. But it’s not anything new or out of the ordinary. In 2019, Alvarez moved up from middleweight to challenge Sergey Kovalev for a light heavyweight title. More famously, in 2008, Manny Pacquiao, after one fight at lightweight, moved up to welterweight for a shot at Oscar De La Hoya.

Pacquiao’s performance against De La Hoya vastly altered the direction of his career and turned him into a global superstar. Certainly, Alvarez isn’t past his prime the way Kovalev and De La Hoya were, but recent performances have highlighted that he is no longer at the peak he was just a few years ago.

“We’ll see if it’s true that I’ve lost a step,” Alvarez stated at the Los Angeles press conference. “We’ll see. I understand what the people said, and I agree. I didn’t look my best in my last two fights, but I know why, and I’m ready for this fight. We’ll see what happens. We’re going to see something different.”

Alvarez arguably achieved the crowning moment of his career when he became the undisputed super middleweight champion in November 2021 after stopping Caleb Plant. After years of high-level performances, he found himself on the losing end for the first time in almost 10 years against Dmitry Bivol. The return to the light heavyweight division proved to be a mistake for Alvarez.

Following the defeat to Bivol, Alvarez put on two non-descript and largely forgettable showings. In a trilogy match in September 2022 with rival Gennadiy Golovkin, both men underperformed in a fight that failed to live up to their previous encounters. Earlier this year, in May, in his native Mexico, Alvarez struggled at times with contender John Ryder.

Typically, against a fighter of Ryder’s level, Alvarez would likely have gotten a stoppage in the first half of the bout. So, while both Alvarez and Charlo are the same age, it seems that Alvarez may be the one on the decline.

There will be a difference in experience, but the size gap between the two in terms of height and reach is in Charlo’s favor.

Charlo may not have participated in colossal event bouts like Alvarez has for the past decade, but in rematches with Tony Harrison and Castano; he showed he can perform well under pressure.

“He’s gonna find out that I’m the big Charlo,” said Charlo to reporters in Los Angeles. “I am what I say I am. Canelo will see that I pack good punching power, that I have good lateral movement, and that I’m a ring general, just like he is. He’ll see that it won’t be a walk in the park. He says he’s gonna be better in this fight, and it’s the same thing for me.”

A blueprint has been laid for Charlo to study against Alvarez. The loss to Mayweather in 2013 highlighted Alvarez’s slow footwork and inability to close the gap when a fighter uses lateral movement. Bivol and Golovkin showed how to exploit Alvarez’s tendency to fight in spurts. However, does Charlo have the power and skill to apply a successful game plan?

“I always say that outside of the ring, I look like I’m an easy opponent,” Alvarez said. “But when fighters step in the ring with me, it’s completely different. It’s not the same watching me from outside the ring as it is actually being inside the ring with me. I’m a different guy.”

Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo prediction

This fight is the pinnacle moment of Charlo’s career. A victory would give him the unique distinction of being an undisputed champion in two weight classes. More importantly, the fight could put him into the Hall of Fame when he decides to retire. For the remainder of his time in the ring, an abundance of mega-fights will be available, including a rematch.

All the needed motivation is there for Charlo.

With close to 18 years as a professional and over 60 fights, Alvarez is likely in the final chapters of his storied career. The fight with Charlo is more of a self-motivating battle for Alvarez as he stands more to lose with not much to gain. It’s more about proving that he is still one of the world’s best fighters pound-for-pound and further cementing his legacy as one of the best fighters to come out of Mexico.

Based on prior performances, Charlo has a tendency to lose rounds in the first half of fights. This will be his undoing against Alvarez, who will be looking to make a statement against him.

In a fight that will have competitive rounds that are won mainly by Alvarez, look for him to retain his undisputed super middleweight championship with a unanimous decision.

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