ON a night Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara successfully defended his WBA Super Welterweight Championship with a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision over Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan, undefeated brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo, of Houston, became the first twins in boxing history to hold world titles in the same weight class.
Jermall Charlo (24-0, 18 KOs) retained his IBF Junior Middleweight World Championship with a unanimous 12-round decision over former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) of Las Cruces, N.M., in the second of three world title fights on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
In the opening bout of the three fight telecast, Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs) earned the vacant WBC Super Welterweight World Championship by rallying from five points down to register an eighth-round knockout over John “Da Rock” Jackson (20-3, 15 KOs), of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Lara outpointed Martirosyan in the main event by the scores of 116-111 twice and 115-112. There were no knockdowns. Martirosyan had a point deducted for a low blow in the 11th in a rematch of a May 2012 fight that ended in a technical draw.
Born one minute apart, the identical twins celebrated their 26th birthday this past Thursday, May 19. Jermall is one minute older than Jermell.
Jermall Charlo stuck to his game plan and fought behind his jab, throwing 292 jabs and connecting at an 18 percent clip. It was a balanced attack from both fighters, but the power and accuracy from the physically bigger Charlo was a difference.
“It wasn’t a struggle, it was a great experience,” said Charlo after his second successful title defense. “I want to thank God for allowing me and my twin brother to see this day. History.
“Austin is a hell of a fighter. He’s a beast. This was my first time going 12, but it didn’t matter because I knew I was in shape.
“My game plan was to execute with the jab. I knew he was going to try to stop me, but that didn’t happen. There’s no way you can tame a lion.
“It felt good because I knew my brother would get the job done. We belong on this level. We need these titles to get the big fights and we’re going to keep these titles to keep rising.
“I changed my mind — we’re going to stay right here (at 154). Making 154 pounds wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be.”
“Hat’s off to Jermall Charlo. He fought a hell of a fight,” Austin Trout said. “I felt like I did enough to win. They won’t give me a close decision, so it’s time to start taking these cats out. But I can’t make excuses. I fought my ass off, Charlo fought his ass off and hats off to him.
“I’m going to live to fight another day. You’re going to see me back. We’re warriors out here.’’
Two minutes into the eighth round, Jermell Charlo, trailing 69-64 on the three judges’ scorecards, landed a perfect counter right hand to Jackson’s left eye. As Jackson dropped his guard to insure his mouthpiece was in place, Jermell connected with two more right hands that sent Jackson falling forward into his corner. Defenseless and seemingly out on his feet, referee Tony Weeks stepped in immediately and stopped it at 0:51.
“It’s history,” said Jermell, who entered the match as the WBC No. 1 contender and became the 66th ShoBox: The New Generation fighter to capture a world title.
“We did it. A lot of fighters don’t come out of Houston and we did it. I’m waiting for my brother next. We’ve been boxing for all of these years and it had to happen.
“I was behind. He was boxing, he was moving around a lot. That was unexpected of him. I thought he was going to come out to brawl. I had to make an adjustment and I did.
“When he started slowing down, I was able to catch him with a shot. I knew that if he could have continued he could have come back so I had to hit him.”
While both were selective with their punches, throwing just 427 combined shots through eight and a half rounds, Jermell was the more accurate fighter. The new WBC champ landed 23 percent of his total punches, including 34 percent of his power shots against Jackson.
“It was a journey to get here,” said Jackson, the WBC’s No. 2 contender going in and son of former world champion Julian “The Hawk” Jackson.
“I feel like I was ahead and I came up short. He caught me with a punch and I was trying to fix my mouthpiece. Then he hit me and I was out. It hit me in the eye, but my mouthpiece was coming out. I was trying to push in my mouthpiece back in and he hit me. I knew where I was. It dazed me, but I wasn’t knocked out.
“It’s boxing. It was a great fight. I felt I was winning the fight, I got caught and that was it.
“I dedicated the fight to my dad and I hope I didn’t let him down. I fell short. You win some and you lose some.”
Said the elder Jackson: “I’m proud. It took a lot for us to get this far. I know my people are proud. We are strong people and we are coming back.”
SHOWTIME’s Steve Farhood called the Lara vs. Martirosyan rematch “a typical Lara fight.”
“As usual Lara’s style is extremely difficult for the judges to score,” Farhood said. “He’s so selective with his punches, yet he lands such a high percentage of them. And to make it even more difficult, a lot of Martirosyan’s body punches were blocked. The judges agreed on seven of the 12 rounds. It clearly was a close fight and what got Lara over the top was the 10-8 score in round 11.
“We benefit from the use of replay. Watching the punch that brought the deduction on replay, I believe that it wasn’t a low blow.
“Lara did what Lara does. Martirosyan fought about as well as he could. The difference was Lara’s accuracy and ring generalship. I think Martirosyan’s competitiveness made it a good fight.”
Lara, 33, was making his fourth title defense. “This is normal,” said Lara who landed 60 percent of the 160-plus power punches. “This is boxing, not baseball. Low blows and headbutts happen. I’m a very intelligent fighter and at no point did I feel this fight was going to be lost.
“My mother and kids are still there so it would be a great privilege to go fight in my native Cuba. Everything is possible in this world. I didn’t think I’d be champion of the world and here I am.
“I want to tell Team Vanes thank you for giving me the rematch. I’m ready to fight anybody. I’d like to fight Canelo.
“The Charlo brothers are my teammates and having three of us going back as champions is a great thing.”
Martirosyan, the aggressor throughout, disputed the decision.
“I was chasing him all night,” he said. “I put on the pressure. I thought I did enough to win. That was not a low blow. Replays show the trunks were high.
“I never ducked anyone. No one wanted to fight Lara. I stepped up and fought him again. I’ll fight anyone.”
Undefeated IBF No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger Julian “J Rock” Williams (22-0-1, 14 KOs), was interviewed between fights by SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’s Brian Custer. Williams, of Philadelphia, has been calling out the Charlo Twins.
“I can’t get the fights I deserve,” Williams said. “But I’ve got a good team. I have Al Haymon and he got me the mandatory for the winner of Charlo-Trout. Guys know it’s a rough fight if they step in with me. And they know 99 percent of the time they will lose.
“Jermall Charlo is an undefeated champion. I’m undefeated. That’s what boxing is all about – two young, hungry champions going at it in their primes. So, I am interested in fighting Jermall Charlo.”
On Charlo saying he’s sick of reading your tweets and he’d like to shut you up…
“Well, he doesn’t have to wait much longer so he doesn’t have any choice now,” Williams said. “I’m the mandatory and if he wins, we are going to fight next.”