Facing career-defining bouts, the brothers shined on the biggest of stages, turning in the finest performances of their respective careers Saturday night on SHOWTIME PPV.
Jermell Charlo says he doesn’t hear the dubious words zip through the air and into his ears. The WBC World Super Welterweight Champion says he doesn’t care; that it doesn’t matter what the skeptics say. Yet, he says, there were doubts. There were cutting words.
What it did was build a bubbling caldron that was looking to erupt.
It did Saturday night—with a downward left jab to the body that sent Jeison Rosario writhing in pain on the canvas at 0:21 of the eighth round to unify the 154-pound division for the eighth time in history at the Mohegan Sun Arena, in Uncasville, CT, in a Showtime pay-per-view doubleheader featuring the Charlo twins.
Charlo (34-1, 18 KOs) was incredibly impressive, dropping Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KOs) three times, once in the first, the sixth and the eighth.
“I knew (Rosario) would keep coming, and he did, he pressed on for four or five extra rounds, before I was able to floor him again,” said Charlo, who unified the WBA, WBC and IBF belts. “I’m growing and I realize the knockout just come. I definitely proved I’m more than just a puncher, but I proved that I am a puncher.
“Me and my brother (WBC World Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo) feel like we’re in this alone. Because we’re not the world’s favorite and we got all of this criticism. I hope we proved all of these haters wrong tonight. I saw a whole lot of yak on that Instagram and on that Twitter and all of that media. They don’t understand the skills of boxing. I have to calm down sometimes.”
In the first round, Charlo came out throwing wide punches. One shot, according to referee Harvey Dock, clipped Rosario. Dock ruled Rosario was knocked down with a left hook in the first half of the round. A glancing Charlo left did bounce off the top of Rosario’s head, though a replay showed Rosario’s right foot falling outside of the ring, causing the knockdown.
Rosario nailed Charlo with a couple of left hooks in the second. Charlo seemed content on boxing in the third, staying at a safe distance, pecking away from the outside. With 0:57 left in the third, Dock warned Rosario to keep his punches up, as Charlo looked irked by a left hook on the hip.
Charlo resorted back to the jab again in the fourth. Rosario dug to the body with the left hook. “Banana” also began using his jab more consistently, backing up Charlo.
At 1:41 left in the sixth, Dock stopped the action for another low-blow warning to Rosario. Moments later, Charlo responded, nailing Rosario with a flush left hook to the face that was a legitimate knockdown.
Rosario returned to his corner in a wobbly, unstable state.
Charlo showed patience in the seventh. He continued to box in the eighth. Knowing he was in control, the poised Charlo poked long jab to Rosario’s solar plexus, and the former WBA/IBF champ fell backwards, struggling to rise and wearing a look of agony as Dock reached 10.
“I never saw anything like that before,” Charlo said.
Neither have fight fans.
Luis Nery decisions Aaron Alameda to win the vacant WBC world super bantamweight belt
The waiting explosion was supposed to be coming. That’s what everyone expects each time Luis Nery fights.
But the detonation never came.
Instead, the 25-year-old southpaw used a measured, consistent attack that led to a unanimous 12-round decision over Aaron Alameda to become a two-division title holder by securing the vacant WBC World Super Bantamweight title.
Judges Tom Carusone (116-112), Don Ackerman (118-110) and Julie Lederman (115-113) all had Nery winning the first four rounds.
“Alameda has a nice jab, he definitely connected, but I always felt like I had the fight under control,” Nery said. “His defense was good, but at the end I really tightened up my attack and was able to get the victory.
“We know he had a lot of experience as an amateur, so we prepared for a quality opponent. It’s not an excuse, but I haven’t fought in a year, so I think that affected my performance a little. I got the victory because I landed more. You always look for the knockout, but he used the jab a lot and that threw me off a little bit until I was able to connect more at the end of the fight.
Nery didn’t really open up until the seventh round. He pressured Alameda (25-1, 13 KOs), whose corner immediately told him he lost the round as soon as he sat down.
Nery, under new trainer Eddy Reynoso, was more defensive. He fought smart, landing power punches to the body, but Alameda withstood that.
In the 10th, Alameda finally landed his vaunted left uppercut. It was his best round, using a diverse attack to climb back into the fight.
In the 11th, Nery kept his persistent pressure on, throwing wide right hooks, mixed with a left uppercut. Nery may have hurt Alameda with a left hand.
Both fighters reached the 12th round for the first time in their careers. Nery attacked the body in the first minute of the round. Alameda fired back, using the left uppercut. Nery closed strong to become a two-division champion.
“There are a lot of good fighters in this division,” said Nery. “Brandon Figueroa’s name has come up, but we’ll check with the team and go from there. We’re ready to fight anyone at 122-pounds. We don’t fear anybody.”
Daniel Roman pulls out a comeback against Juan Carlos Payano
No one could have envisioned Payano finding a fountain of youth, but that’s what it seemed like after eight rounds.
Then reality set—and age—set in.
Roman wound up pulling out a unanimous 12-round super bantamweight victory in a WBC title eliminator over Payano.
Roman, 30, rallied late, winning the last four rounds on the scorecards of judges Don Trella, David Sutherland and Kevin Morgan, who all scored it 116-112 for Roman.
A former IBF/WBA 122-pound champ, Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs) needed this. He was fighting for the first time since losing to Murodjon Akhmadaliev by split decision, snapping Roman’s seven-year, 19-fight winning streak. Roman also lost the IBF junior featherweight title and the WBA super bantamweight belts in that January loss.
Payano actually outlanded Roman, 261/804 (32.5%) to 152/633 (24%), but he did seem to fade in the end.
“I knew it was going to be a tough fight,” Roman said. “I didn’t underestimate him. He kept landing the uppercut to the body, and he got me a few times. But we made the little adjustment to avoid the shot, and kept pressuring him.”
Payano, a southpaw fighting for the first time at 122, did well through the first six rounds. He came forward, countered Roman well, went to the body and used his footwork to get out of trouble.
“He kept countering me (early),” Roman said. “I had to either take a few steps back or to the side. I started throwing combinations and I started hurting him to the body. I kept putting pressure on him.”
Sensing the fight slipping from him, Roman increased his work rate. As the rounds began narrowing down, Roman became more effective. He closed the gap and stayed in the pocket.
In the 10th, Payano (21-4, 9 KOs) appeared bothered by a cut on his left eye, opened in the last minute of the round. Roman went right at him, throwing constant rights against Payano’s left side. The round looked like Roman’s best of the fight, thanks to a consistent body attack.
As the final seconds were ticking away, a Roman sweeping left hook to the body seemed to knock down Payano, but referee John Callas ruled it a slip as the bell sounded.
Roman is looking ahead, at the new WBC super bantamweight champ Luis Nery or a rematch with Akhmadaliev.
“We’re at that level already, give me Nery, and I want that rematch with MJ,” Roman said.
#AndStill @FutureOfBoxing retains WBC Middleweight strap and remains undefeated via UD after a hell of fight with @SDerevyanchenko— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) September 27, 2020
Order #CharloDoubleheader: https://t.co/Unmne2BI8N pic.twitter.com/RypNDX3Yue
It’s time to place Jermall Charlo among the very best in the sport, pound for pound.
In a thrilling battle between elite 160-pounders, Charlo outboxed and outbrawled a game Sergiy Derevyanchenko to retain his WBC World Middleweight title via 12-round unanimous decision.
The bout headlined the first three-fight card in a six-fight, first-of-its-kind boxing doubleheader on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.
“I made my team proud and I did what I was supposed to do,” an elated Charlo said afterward. “I executed the game plan. Ronnie Shields told me that I passed the test tonight. I’m happy to go back to the drawing board now and figure out what’s next.”
It wasn’t easy – but no one has ever had an easy time versus Derevyanchenko. The Ukraine Olympian had come up short in two prior shots at a world title, both decision losses many believed should have gone in his favor.
Derevyanchenko, 34, 13-3, (10 KOs), was expected to be Charlo’s toughest test at middleweight, the best name on the champion’s ledger since he capped off his 154-pound world title run with a TKO win over Julian Williams in 2016.
But even those who saw the matchup as toss-up couldn’t have foreseen the riveting back and forth the two warriors displayed over 12 rounds. In the end, Charlo’s jab and power punching proved to be the difference. The former ranks among the best in the game. He began pumping it in the first, snapping Derevyanchenko’s head back repeatedly.
Houston, Texas’ Charlo, 30, 31-0 (22 KOs), continued to work his stick in the early rounds. It set up a hard right toward the end of the third that wobbled Derevyanchenko. It also bloodied both of his eyes; they were a purplish, swollen mess by fight’s end.
Yet none of that deterred Derevyanchenko from biting down, coming forward and taking the fight to the champion. Charlo struggled in the middle rounds as the challenger maneuvered him toward the ropes and outworked him.
“He was tough, but I knew he was going to be tough,” Charlo admitted. “I knew he’d come to fight, I just didn’t know how and when he’d try to turn it up. I felt like I never really let him turn it up and that was the game plan. I studied well and I didn’t let the pandemic affect my training. I just want to keep fighting and not let any negative interrupt the positive.
“I stayed poised, I stayed composed and I executed the game plan. I was staying behind the jab, I got away from it a little, but Ronnie got me back. I wanted to knock him out but dominating like I did was a big statement.”
Even in those frames where Derevyanchenko had success, Charlo had his moments, calmly landing his jab and an occasional hard shot in between Derevyanchenko’s flurries. In the eighth, one of those shots sent Derevyanchenko stumbling back as the bell to end the round sounded.
The fight appeared to be tightening up in the latter rounds as the pace slowed. Derevyanchenko was the busier fighter although it was Charlo who appeared to be landing the more effective punches. A hard right by Derevyanchenko in the 11th briefly got the champion’s attention—he then responded with a jab that landed with the force of a power shot.
Both fighters let it all hang in the 12th. Derevyanchenko held the advantage until the final seconds of the stanza, when he was rocked by a short uppercut on the inside. Again, the bell seemed to save Derevyanchenko from a possible knockdown but the damage was done. All three judges scored it in Charlo’s favor, by scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112.
Brandon Figueroa batters Damien Vazquez, stops him in 10
A nine-month layoff, the longest of his career, couldn’t slow Brandon Figueroa down. Neither could Damien Vazquez, despite his best efforts. The WBA World Super Bantamweight Champion turned in arguably the finest performance of his career, breaking the gutty Vazquez down and administering non-stop punishment until referee Gary Rosato halted the action to award him the victory at 1:18 of the 10th round.
The bout could have been stopped earlier. The 23-year-old Figueroa (21-0-1, 16 KOs) hurt Vazquez on a number of occasions, closing his right eye nearly shut and leaving visible welts on his ribs.
"I felt good tonight. He was a lot tougher than I expected,” said Figueroa. “I was punishing him to the body and head. I had to switch to lefty because of how he was coming in with his head. I didn’t want to risk a head butt so I boxed him differently.”
Vazquez (15-2-1, 8 KOs) landed several big shots from his southpaw stance early on. Figueroa walked through them, switching from lefty to righty and landing a considerable amount of punches from either position. The tide began to shift in his favor in the fifth as several body shots backed Vazquez up.
Bloodied and bruised, Vazquez let it all hang in the seventh. Figueroa, however, can take a shot as well as deliver one. The Weslaco, Texas product refused to take a backward step, pounding Vazquez around the ring.
The bout grew increasingly one-sided in the ensuing frames. The ringside physician checked in on Vazquez prior to the start of the ninth. He allowed the fight to continue but it was over moments later as Figueroa mercifully battered Vazquez until Rosato saved him.
“This shows that I can fight under pressure, I’m strong and I give exciting fights,” said Figueroa. “That’s what fans want to see. I always leave everything in the ring and that’s what I did tonight.
“I’m ready for anyone, I know I belong with the best fighters in the division. I just want to give fans great fights.”
John Riel Casimero KO’s Duke Micah in statement performance
John Riel Casimero proved again that he is one of the game’s best finishers. Casimero notched his sixth consecutive knockout win and successfully retained his WBO World Bantamweight title via vicious third-round stoppage over Ghana’s Duke Micah.
“I worked hard and got the win tonight,” Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) said afterward. “In the first round I saw the body shot hurt him and thought I could get him out right away, but he’s a good boxer who was undefeated for a reason.”
A hard right by Micah (24-1, 19 KOs) toward the end of the first may have been a major reason why Casimero didn’t press advantage. Micah started the second strong but his momentum was halted by a hard left hook from Casimero. Micah immediately lost control of his legs. He never regained them.
Casimero poured it on, driving Micah to the canvas with a series of power shots. The Ghanaian gamely rose to his feet, stumbling around as Casimero sought to close the show.
“The second round the uppercut hurt him, but Duke Micah works hard, he’s strong and has a good chin,” said Casimero. “I knew I was facing a good fighter, so I didn’t expect to knock him out so fast. He’s strong so I was prepared to go all 12 rounds.”
Micah escaped the second but when a left uppercut staggered him again, referee Steve Willis stepped in and rescued him at 0:54 of the third round.
For a closer look at Charlo vs Rosario, check out our fight night page.
For a closer look at Charlo vs Derevyanchenko, check out our fight night page.