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Mike Tyson tells Jermall Charlo to fight the next best option. He should listen

Jermall Charlo
Jermall Charlo’s admission to Mike Tyson is an attitude far too common at the top of the sport, writes George Gigney

IT’S never fun to see fighters wave away suggestions of them taking hard but anticipated fights with the excuse of not enough money. It’s definitely worse when they do so while talking to Mike Tyson.

Jermall Charlo, one of the world’s leading middleweights, has made no secret about his desire to fight Canelo Alvarez. That comes as no surprise; Canelo is boxing’s biggest star and anyone in and around the weight he’s currently operating at will be eager to fight him. Charlo, however, seems to be taking that to the extreme. He was a guest on the latest episode of Tyson’s Hotboxin’ podcast and spoke a lot about the flame-haired Mexican. When Tyson brought up super-middleweight David Benavidez, a compatriot of Alvarez who operates under the same promotional banner as Charlo, it did not go down well.

“I’ll fight him for sure,” Jermall said, before all but confirming he has no intention of doing so. “I just think his value is low. He’s not worth as much as fighting someone like Canelo.”

Of course he isn’t – nobody is. If Charlo insists on only fighting people as valuable as Canelo, don’t expect him to have many more fights. Yes, Charlo was in the running to be fighting Canelo this year, though instead Alvarez will take on Dmitry Bivol at light-heavyweight before a mooted third fight with Gennadiy Golovkin.

That doesn’t mean he should sit around and wait while there are plenty of excellent fights Charlo can be involved in. A matchup with Benavidez has been floated before, given that they both fight under Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).

Tyson quite rightly made the point that if Charlo isn’t getting Canelo – which he clearly isn’t right now – then fight the next best option. Whether or not you agree Benavidez meets that criteria, there’s no denying it’s an excellent fight.

What good does it do Charlo to either a) take fights he should comfortably win or b) not fight at all until Canelo decides to face him? Either option does nothing to make him a more attractive opponent for Alvarez. It’s been announced that Charlo’s next fight will be against Maciej Sulecki, a win over whom will barely move the needle.

Sadly, Charlo’s attitude is one that prevails in the current boxing landscape. After all, they’re prizefighters and should maximise their earnings whenever they can. But eventually Charlo, who is now 31, needs to focus on his own career rather than Canelo’s.

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As has been widely reported, Oleksandr Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko are currently in their home country of Ukraine defending it against Vladimir Putin’s invasion. This, of course, ruled them out of fighting in the near future, though that may no longer be the case.

Speaking to FanaticsView, Bob Arum – who promotes Lomachenko – revealed that the Ukrainian cultural minister has offered for both fighters to be able to leave the defence forces and enter training camps.

Usyk would be preparing for a rematch with Anthony Joshua while Lomachenko has reportedly agreed terms to take on George Kambosos Jnr.

Following this, promoter Eddie Hearn told talkSPORT that he now believes the Usyk-Joshua rematch will happen next and that it will take place in June.

This will all be music to the ears of boxing fans. Both fights are two of the best that can be made in their respective divisions. Usyk and Lomachenko remain two of the finest fighters on the planet.

The question now will be whether or not they are willing to leave Ukraine while the invasion continues. If they decide to stay, no one can question that choice. The protection of their country and its democracy is far more important than when their next boxing fights will be.

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