LAS VEGAS – This week will be less taxing physically for Jermell Charlo than most fight weeks for the undisputed 154-pound champion.
Charlo can keep as much as 14 additional pounds on his 6-foot frame than usual because the Houston native has moved up two weight classes to challenge Canelo Alvarez for the Mexican superstar’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 168-pound crowns Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. This is uncharted territory for the 33-year-old Charlo, who has never weighed in at more than 155¾ pounds for any of his 37 professional fights.
Charlo suggested, however, that he might take trainer Derrick James’ advice and not gain as much weight as his contract allows for this Showtime Pay-Per-View main event. James has stated that Charlo could come in a few pounds lower than 168 when he steps on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s scale Friday afternoon outside of T-Mobile Arena.
“I’m gonna make whatever weight I’m told to make,” Charlo told BoxingScene.com after his “grand arrival” Tuesday afternoon at MGM Grand. “If Derrick wants me to be a little bit lighter, if it’s a possibility, I will be. Other than that, I’ll be 168.”
The 5-foot-8 Alvarez, who has fought twice at the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds, is set to compete in his eighth bout at the super middleweight maximum. The Guadalajara native is 7-0, including four knockouts, in 168-pound bouts, but Charlo stands approximately four inches taller than the four-division champion.
Though Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) has moved up two weight classes at the same time for this huge fight, James doesn’t consider it as much of a disadvantage as some skeptics insist Charlo will encounter when the bell rings.
“I think that too much is made of it,” James told BoxingScene.com. “Like I said, [Canelo is] a true 154-pounder. They’re both doing the same thing. They’ve both moved up to 168. [Canelo] is a 154-pounder who decided to move up. So, basically, Jermell is following in his footsteps. And we’ll see about the success, but I think Jermell’s gonna go out there, be able to box him and put on a great show.”
Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) competed in three fights at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds before he made his super middleweight debut against England’s Rocky Fielding in December 2018. Boxing’s former pound-for-pound king knows full well what Charlo is attempting to do because Alvarez jumped up two weight classes – from middleweight to light heavyweight – and knocked out Russia’s Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round to win the WBO 175-pound championship in November 2019 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Charlo declined to estimate how much he’ll weigh when he walks into the ring Saturday night, but he suspects Alvarez will gain a significant amount of weight between their weigh-in and their fight.
“When I was 154, I was [weighing] 175 during fight night after hydrating and feeling good,” Charlo said. “I expect Canelo to do the same exact thing. I don’t know. So, I’m not too much focused on or worried about how big he blows up. If that’s his decision, that’s what he’ll do.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.