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Brand Charlo is born

Jermall Charlo
Amanda Westcott/Showtime
The respective victories of twins Jermall and Jermell Charlo the best marketing tool of all, writes Sean Nam

THE Brothers Charlo, perhaps the most malcontented identical twins to arrive on the American boxing scene in recent memory, have spent the better part of the past two to three years working on what marketers blandly like to to call “brand identity.” From T-shirts and gewgaws to their own promotional label and a day-in-the-life-of Youtube channel, the Houstonians sought to promulgate their “Lions Only” slogan across the commercial spectrum behind resolutely tetchy personas.

If force of personality is what the brothers were after, rest assured, it was obtained in spades. But what lent legitimacy to that appeal, what prevented their attitude from slipping into mere attitudinizing, a hallmark of this current TikTok Age, was that it was, to a certain extent, buttressed by solid evidence from the only place that should matter in the business of prizefighting: the ring.

The elder and slightly bigger Charlo, Jermall, captured the boxing imagination first with his malicious stoppage of Julian Williams in 2016; the younger sibling, Jermell, followed up 10 months later when he mowed down top prospect (now contender) Erickson Lubin in the first round. Still, in the years since those wins, the brothers seemed to have lost some of their momentum, each for different reasons. Jermall, for the life of him, couldn’t lure a credible middleweight opponent and Jermell dropped a controversial decision to top contender Tony Harrison. Nevertheless the brothers continued to be ornery and unapologetic as ever, and if their performances last weekend were any indication, they are not going away anytime soon.

Saturday night (September 26) at a crowdless Mohegan Sun Arena, the Charlo twins both notched career-best victories in their pay-per-view debut, with Jermall outpointing Ukrainian sparkplug Sergiy Derevyanchenko over 12 rounds to retain his WBC middleweight title, and Jermell stopping crude, but brawny, Dominican Jeison Rosario in the eighth round to unite three of the four fragments of the junior middleweight crown.

In the middleweight main event, Jermall, defending his title for the third time, operated behind his lengthy jab and precise power punches, whipping crunching uppercuts on the inside, booming right hands at distance, and generally kept Derevyanchenko at bay. He nearly dropped Derevyanchenko at the end of the third round and staggered him in the first, ninth and 11th rounds as well.

Though the iron-chinned Derevyanchenko was already bleeding from a cut around his eyes by the middle rounds, he put up his best effort in that period. Whenever he was able to successfully weave his way inside – no small task – Derevyanchenko unloaded his snappy combinations and forced the taller boxer to retreat along the ropes. But for the most part, the fight was fought on Jermall’s terms, that is, at the end of his jab. Judges Tim Cheatham (116-112), David Sutherland (118-110), and Steve Weisfeld (117-111) all scored the bout in favor of Jermall. 

Though Jermall benefited from a certain amount of good timing – this version of Derevyanchenko, it could be argued, was diminished, given the punishment he incurred in his previous outing at the hands of Gennadiy Golovkin – there is no question that this victory gives him the kind of credibility that has so far eluded him in the 160-pound class. Harvey Dock officiated.

Not to be upstaged, in the super-welterweight unification, Jermell produced one of the strangest knockouts on record, when he dropped Rosario for the third and final time in the eighth round with nothing more than a standard jab to the body, possibly the solar plexus. Can a lone jab to the abdominals send a fighter into the throes of death? It seemed to in this case: it threw Rosario flat on his back, arms akimbo, and causing him to make a lurching motion with his head. Then, as he tried to get up, he stumbled into the ropes and cried out in pain as referee Dock waved off the bout 21 seconds into the round.

It was a strange ending, indeed, to what was heating up to be a promising fight. Knockdowns aside, Rosario was the one bringing the fight to Charlo. But Rosario, who had been knocked out in the past, is hardly what you would call a defensively responsible fighter. He showed no ability to slip punches and often squared up as he chased Charlo. In fact, the knockout blow may have been a residual effect from the previous round, in which Charlo dropped a careless Rosario with a left hook-right hand combination. Charlo also scored a knockdown in the first round, a left that landed on the temple.

The Verdict Top class from the Charlos.

Jermell Charlo (153 3/4lbs), 34-1 (18), w ko 8 Jeison Rosario (153 1/2lbs), 20-2-1 (14); Jermall Charlo (159 3/4lbs), 31-1 (22), w pts 12 Sergiy Derevyanchenko (159 1/2lbs), 13-3 (10); Daniel Roman (121 1/4lbs), 28-3-1 (10), w pts 12 Juan Carlos Payano (121 1/2lbs), 21-4 (9); Luis Nery (121 1/2lbs), 31-0 (24), w pts 12 Aaron Alameda (121 1/2lbs), 25-1 (13); John Riel Casimero (117 3/4lbs), 30-4 (21), w rsf 3 Duke Micah (117 1/4lbs), 24-1 (19); Bakhram Murtazaliev (156 1/4lbs), 18-0 (14), w rsf 4 Manny Woods (161lbs), 16-10-1 (6).  

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