Middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo has not fought in nearly 18 months but that did not stop him from calling out perhaps the best light heavyweight in the world.
Charlo, the WBC 160-pound champion from Houston, recently crossed paths with Dmitry Bivol, the WBA 175-pound titlist who is coming off two sterling wins this past year, one over Canelo Alvarez, the other over Gilberto Ramirez. Charlo, on the other hand, has not entered the ring since last June, when he defeated Juan Macias Montiel in a harder-than-expected 12-round tussle.
In an encounter captured by FightHype.com, the two fighters are shown exchanging pleasantries and matchmaking possibilities with each other after the conclusion of the Regis Prograis vs. Jose Zepeda WBC 140-pound title bout at the Dignity Health Sports Park last Saturday night in Carson, California.
However sincere he may have been, Charlo suggested to Bivol that they reach a middle ground by fighting at 168—with no title at stake; all the belts at 168 are currently owned by Canelo Alvarez. One problem: Bivol, who had a sheepish grin on his face during the encounter, insisted he is only looking to fight for titles at this point in his career.
Charlo: “Wanna fight me? You wanna fight me?”
Bivol: “Why not? [Laughs]. “Which weight?”
Bivol: “Yeah, could be [a possibility]. For four belts. You know my goal, to be honest, is fighting for belts … Do you have belts now?”
Charlo: “I’ve got the WBC [middleweight title]
Bivol: “160? C’mon.”
Charlo: “168. C'mon.”
Bivol: “Do you have belt for 168? When you do, let’s fight.”
Charlo: “No belt. Just attraction. Let’s do it.”
Titles aside, a Bivol-Charlo fight at this point is probably nothing more than fantasy, given the fact that they are aligned with rival promotional outfits. Charlo is backed by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, while Bivol is a client of Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. Hearn has been a vocal critic of Haymon and PBC and has often butted heads with people who are closely affiliated with the company, such as Mayweather Promotions head Leonard Ellerbie and Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza.
One scenario in which a fight between Bivol and Charlo may enter the realm of possibility is if Bivol ends up defeating Alvarez for the 168-pound undisputed championship. Bivol and Alvarez could be involved in a rematch late next year but it is not clear if that fight would take place at 175 or 168. Alvarez, who is coming off surgery for his left wrist, has suggested he wants a tune-up fight in May.
Charlo told reporters on Saturday night that he will be “100%” back in the ring next year.