ON Saturday (September 26), the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut hosts a first-of-its-kind doubleheader, live on Showtime PPV. This unique Premier Boxing Champions event is made up of two separate cards, separated by a 30-minute intermission. Both bills feature a trio of 12-rounders, with the Charlo twins, Jermall and Jermell, each acting as respective headliners.
JERMALL CHARLO (30-0) vs SERGIY DEREVYANCHENKO (13-2)
Houston’s Jermall Charlo may be listed as the WBC middleweight titlist, but don’t forget, Canelo Alvarez is the organisation’s Franchise champion, so the Mexican is the real WBC leader at 160lbs. Meanwhile, Brooklyn-based Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko is the No. 1 contender in the WBC middleweight ratings, which is why he is challenging for Charlo’s belt this weekend. Simple, right?
Prior to moving up to the middle ranks, Charlo reigned as the IBF super-welterweight king. During his time at 154lbs, the 30-year-old Texan scalped the likes of Cornelius Bundrage, Austin Trout and Julian Williams, while up at 160, his best victory has come against Matvey Korobov.
Like Korobov, Derevyanchenko was a quality, hugely experienced amateur. As a professional, he has twice contested IBF middleweight honours. In both title tilts he was just edged out by top names in Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin. Being dropped in the opening round of each fight did not help his cause.
As tough, skilled and aggressive as Derevyanchenko is, the fact remains that he turns 35 next month. With his impressive athleticism and advantages in height and reach, the sharp-jabbing Charlo can come out on top in this cracking clash of hard hitters.
BN predicts: Charlo on points
BRANDON FIGUEROA (20-0-1) vs DAMIEN VAZQUEZ (15-1-1)
Once again, don’t be fooled by Brandon Figueroa being classified as the WBA super-bantamweight champ. The strap he is defending against Damien Vazquez is not the sanctioning body’s full championship. That belt belongs to Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Not confusing at all…
A native of Weslaco, Texas, Figueroa drew with Julio Ceja in an all-action affair last time out – the sole blemish on his record. Las Vegas left-hander Vazquez is on a run of one win in three, including a comprehensive defeat to Juan Carlos Payano, during which his defence was porous. Expect the switch-hitting, fierce-hooking Figueroa to prove too strong for his fellow 23-year-old.
BN predicts: Figueroa inside the distance
JOHN RIEL CASIMERO (29-4) vs DUKE MICAH (24-0)
The well-travelled and vastly seasoned Filipino, John Riel Casimero, makes the first defence of his WBO bantamweight crown, having taken it from Zolani Tete in stunning fashion. Opposing the man from Ormoc City is 2012 Ghanaian Olympian Duke Micah.
Whereas Casimero, 31, has won world titles in three weight divisions (light-flyweight, flyweight and bantam), Micah is yet to compete at world level. Casimero certainly represents a big step up in class for the 29-year-old Accran.
Both boxers possess heavy hands, though Casimero boasts the far greater pedigree, which will likely be a decisive factor in this contest.
BN predicts: Casimero on points
JERMELL CHARLO (33-1) vs JEISON ROSARIO (20-1-1)
A unification bout is always a welcome occurrence in the sport, and that is what world super-welterweight belt-holders Jermell Charlo and Jeison Rosario are participating in at the weekend.
Having contentiously lost his WBC title to Tony Harrison, Charlo dramatically reclaimed it in an edge-of-your-seat rematch. Rosario secured his status as a world champion with a breakthrough upset victory over Julian Williams. This eye-catching triumph brought him the WBA and IBF straps, which he is yet to defend.
Dominican Rosario, who fights out of Miami, is five years younger than the 30-year-old Charlo and lacks the experience of the Texan. A blot on his copybook is being dropped and stopped by Nathaniel Gallimore, though in winning his titles he looked anything but fragile. He imposed himself on Williams with his strength, determination and crunching combinations.
Charlo has confirmed his credentials by defeating fighters like Vanes Martirosyan, Erickson Lubin and Austin Trout. The Houston citizen is an excellent athlete who ruthlessly finishes opponents when he has them in trouble. Rosario seems to be made of stern stuff, so the likelihood is that Charlo will employ boxing skills, rather than all-out force, to get the better of his counterpart.
BN predicts: Charlo on points
LUIS NERY (30-0) vs AARON ALAMEDA (25-0)
Mexican southpaws collide when Luis Nery and Aaron Alameda vie for the vacant WBC super-bantamweight championship. Tijuana’s Nery, who previously wore the WBC bantamweight crown, is positioned at No. 1 in the WBC 122lb rankings, while Alameda is No. 6. Quite how the Long Beach, California-based 27-year-old found himself placed so high is a mystery, considering he has never fought over 12 rounds and has only once engaged in a 10-rounder.
Nery, 25, is now coached by Canelo Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso. With his dynamic mix of power, speed and aggression, he will have too much in his arsenal for Alameda.
BN predicts: Nery inside the distance
DANIEL ROMAN (27-3-1) vs JUAN CARLOS PAYANO (21-3)
After losing his WBA and IBF super-bantamweight titles to Murodjon Akhmadaliev in a close and compelling encounter, Daniel Roman is now setting his sights on the WBC super-bantam belt. The Los Angeles 30-year-old takes on double Olympian (2004 and 2008) Juan Carlos Payano in an official WBC eliminator.
Dominican portsider Payano is moving up from bantamweight, where he formerly held WBA honours. He too is coming off a loss – a punishing one to Luis Nery. At 36, the Miami resident is past his prime and may struggle to deal with the intense pace set by the pressure-fighting Roman.
BN predicts: Roman on points
The Verdict Lots to look forward to.