Jermall Charlo sneered in Dennis Hogan’s direction with some final words.
“It’s going to be a good night of boxing and that’s all I have to deliver — something explosive,” Charlo said Thursday to end the press conference at The Tillary Hotel in Brooklyn before his fight Saturday night just one mile away at the Barclays Center. “A nice little Christmas gift for you, homie.”
The WBC middleweight champion meant a lump of coal in the form of a knockout. Getting that done would give Charlo his 30th professional victory and 22nd KO. From there, Charlo would go back to waiting for his own gift-wrapped box in the form of a big-name fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or Gennadiy Golovkin, hoping to make one or both part of his 2020 vision.
Securing a bout with either could be a difficult task, considering both Canelo and GGG fight on DAZN, while Charlo is a PBC fighter. Alvarez, his trainer Eddy Reynoso and Golden Boy Promotions have been rather unpredictable with his booking of late, too, with his last three fights taking place in three different weight classes: An 11th-round TKO of Sergey Kovalev in a light heavyweight tilt in November, a unanimous decision over Daniel Jacobs in middleweight action back in May and a third-round TKO of Rocky Fielding at super middleweight in December of 2018.
Currently, Canelo owns the WBA (Super) middleweight championship, the WBA (Regular) super middleweight title and the WBO light heavyweight strap that he got by moving up two weight classes and defeating Kovalev last month. When Reynoso spoke with FightHype earlier this week, Charlo wasn’t on Canelo’s short list of potential opponents. That list did include GGG, Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith and John Ryder.
As for Golovkin, the 37-year-old got a lot more than he bargained for against Sergiy Derevyanchenko in October. While Golovkin did earn the unanimous decision to claim the IBF and IBO middleweight titles, plenty of boxing pundits felt like Derevyanchenko did enough to win the fight. Whether that performance from GGG will make the Kazakh warrior reluctant to unify titles with Charlo remains to be seen.
“I don’t know, man,” Charlo told Sporting News with a sigh. “Hopefully we get the looks of those guys one day. I feel like I can stand in there with those guys.”
Charlo, 29, has quality wins — his December 2016 victory over Julian Williams arguably being his best — but it’d take an even bigger name to truly allow this lion to roam boxing’s most coveted den.
If Charlo has to move up to super middleweight at 168 pounds to catch Canelo, he’s willing and able. However, if Canelo and GGG spurn him, Charlo has just the right opponent in mind — none other than Jacobs. After hitting the Canelo sweepstakes only to fall short to the Mexican fighter on the cards in May, Jacobs moved up to 168 pounds and will face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Dec. 20.
Despite Jacobs also fighting on DAZN, the timing of his fight and Charlo’s before it puts the two fighters on essentially the same schedule. And there’s mutual interest, considering their bit of history following a testy exchange the two had backstage last year.
“I will, for sure, for real,” Charlo said about moving up and facing Jacobs. “It will happen.”
Of course any of those three fights would be in jeopardy if Charlo loses to Hogan, who’s moving up from junior middleweight to 160 pounds to challenge for the title. Hogan spoke about having more power in his punch during the press conference Thursday, but Charlo isn’t buying it.
“If Hogan says he’s more powerful at middleweight, then he’s going to come to fight and stay in the pocket,” Charlo said. “If he comes to box, I’ll come to fight, and if he comes to fight, I’ll be able to box him. Regardless, we’re going to make adjustments in the fight.
“If he can’t take my shot, I’m going to hit him flush and put him out.”
Check that box, and Charlo can enjoy being dad over the holidays. The Houston native who waves around the “Lions Only” mantra recently welcomed his latest cub, daughter Journi — his first daughter after four sons.
That gives Charlo a renewed sense of purpose.
“You got to have more respect for yourself,” Charlo told Sporting News. “[The trash talk] looks good to people, but later on it’s, ‘Dad, why did you say this? Why did you say that?’ You gotta be able to become a man.”
Charlo turns 30 in May. He can only do his part against Hogan first and hope that the marquee names hear this lion’s roar and feed his hunger.