Jermall Charlo and Juan Macias Montiel were cordial, respectful and professional throughout the final press conference at the Hilton Americas Hotel in advance of their Showtime showdown on Saturday at the Toyota Center. Both fighters kept things real and refused to be subtly baited by the media and conference mediator Brian Custer of Showtime into revving up their rhetoric for more bombastic quotes and soundbites.

But there were two main points of contention between the combatants that emerged during the forum.

“I believe that if he wants to trade punches with me, he’s going to be sorry that he chose that strategy," Montiel said.

Charlo predictably disagreed. Although members of the media tried to play up Montiel's 22 knockouts in his 22 wins, Charlo was quick to point out that it was compiled against subpar opposition. Of the five times Montiel had gone the distance, he lost three times and drew twice. In his sole KO loss, Montiel was dominated, brutalized and blasted out in two rounds by former 154-pound titleholder Jaime Munguia 2017.

"He's got 22 knockouts, I've also got 22 knockouts," Charlo said. "I've never lost."

“On Saturday you can expect a hard fight," Charlo added. "If he comes at me the same way everyone comes at me, you’re going to see the same Jermall Charlo. I can deliver explosive knockouts, go 12 rounds or beat you down from start to finish."

Charlo also brought up their common opponent Hugo Centeno as a yardstick for their respective skill levels. Charlo knocked Centeno out in two rounds in 2018 while Montiel fought Centeno to a draw in 2019.

Then there was the issue of Montiel's last fight in which he brutally and effortlessly blasted away James Kirkland in one round, in which Montiel claimed he came in as the underdog. Again, Charlo begged to differ. Regardless of what the odds were on paper, Charlo said, the writing was on the wall; Kirkland was clearly a shell of the fireball he was in his prime.

"James Kirkland was washed," Charlo said. "I knew (Montiel) would knock him out."

While there might have been disagreement as to who was the favorite and who was the underdog preceding the Kirkland-Montiel fight, there is none whatsoever in the clash between Charlo versus Montiel clash. Considering the vast disparity in skillset, experience and quality of opposition between the two, the term "underdog" might actually be an overestimate for Montiel. Sticking to canine lingo, "dachshund" or "chihuahua" might be more apt. But if we were to expand the metaphors to include all fauna, "sacrificial lamb" would be most accurate.

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