LAS VEGAS – Jermell Charlo had never been hit as hard in a professional prizefight as Canelo Alvarez nailed him with a right hand early in the seventh round Saturday night.
Charlo, who was backed against the ropes when Alvarez split his guard with that right hand, took a knee several seconds later to compose himself. That marked just the second time in Charlo’s 15-year, 38-fight professional career that he went down from a punch.
He recovered relatively quickly after he beat referee Harvey Dock’s count and avoided getting knocked down again on his way to losing a 12-round unanimous decision at T-Mobile Arena. Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KOs) explained during his post-fight press conference what it felt like to be truly hurt for the first time in a fight and how he recuperated.
“Yeah, you know, that was like my true first time like, you know, feeling, you know, like a woozy shot,” Charlo said. “You know what I mean? Like I’m the one always giving ‘em. And so yeah, I knew best. I watch boxing, been a part of it so long that, you know, if I woulda just jumped out there I’d have kinda embarrassed myself.
“So, you know, sh!t coulda been different. But I was smart enough to regroup, recover and I recovered really fast. Probably coulda stayed up or whatever, but I’d have just been fighting, trying to clear my head and still woulda been getting hit with shots.”
Alvarez’s heavy hands made Charlo reluctant to trade with the four-division champion for most of their 12-round, 168-pound championship clash. Charlo’s caution and Alvarez’s aggression, accuracy and body attack were all important components to Alvarez’s convincing victory in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
Judge Steve Weisfeld scored only one round for Charlo, who lost 119-108 on his card. Judges Max De Luca (118-109) and David Sutherland (118-109) credited Charlo for winning just two rounds apiece against Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs), who retained his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles.
Charlo’s only previous loss was a much more competitive points defeat to Tony Harrison, who upset Charlo by unanimous decision to take the WBC super welterweight title from him in December 2018 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. He avenged his close loss to Harrison by knocking out the Detroit native in the 11th round of their rematch almost exactly one year later at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.
The IBF/WBA/WBC 154-pound champion obviously won’t get an opportunity to fight Alvarez again, but Charlo took his lopsided loss in stride.
“Sh!t, what a night, you know?,” Charlo said. “I’m proud of myself, you know, took a chance, jumped out there strong, right off a hand injury, jumped up there with the best, one of the best guys in the division, one of the best guys in boxing. So, my head is held high. I am proud of myself. I’ve done a awesome job for ‘Lions Only’ and my crew and my team. And I love boxing, so I’m not going nowhere.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.