Jermell Charlo feels like he’s been here before with Brian Castano.
The lineal and unified junior middleweight champion isn’t buying the alibi being offered for the latest delay in his planned rematch with Castano. As BoxingScene.com earlier reported, Castano was forced to withdraw from their planned March 19 rematch at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles after suffering a slight biceps tear.
Charlo was prepared to put his lineal/WBC/WBA/IBF crowns along with Castano’s WBO title, as was the case in their first fight last July 17, which ended in a split decision draw. The rematch was already pushed back from its targeted February 26 date, now hit with another delay which doesn’t sit well with the unified junior middleweight champ.
“[Two times] in a row they done tried to pull the same stunt,” Charlo posted on his Instagram channel in an immediate reaction to news of the delay. “Naw I ain’t buying it.”
Charlo (34-1-1, 18KOs) was deep in training camp for the rematch, seeking to make the third defense of at least one junior middleweight title in his second reign. The Houston-based boxer—who trains out of Derrick James’ facility in the greater Dallas area—regained the WBC title in an eleventh-round knockout of Tony Harrison in December 2019. The feat avenged his lone career defeat, suffering a controversial twelve-round points loss to Harrison exactly 52 weeks prior.
Both title defenses of Charlo’s current reign came in unification bouts. Charlo scored an eighth-round knockout of Jeison Rosario in September 2020, retaining his WBC title while earning the IBF/WBA belts and establishing true championship lineage at junior middleweight.
The July 17 fight with Castano (17-0-2, 12KOs) was to have crowned the first undisputed junior middleweight champion in the four-belt era, only to end in a split decision draw. Charlo won nine out of twelve rounds on the heavily criticized scorecard of judge Nelson Vazquez (117-111). Castano—who made the first defense of the WBO title he won from Patrick Teixeira last February—won in the eyes of judge Steve Weisfeld (114-113), while judge Tim Cheatham (114-114) was unable to the competitive and entertaining twelve-round affair.
Plans are unclear as to when the rematch can be rescheduled. Castano is expected to be out at least four weeks, which could cause an issue with the WBO who has already placed on hold its plans to enforce a mandatory title defense versus number-one contender Tim Tszyu. Charlo also has mandatories due with IBF number-one ranked Bakhram Murtazaliev (19-0, 14KOs) and WBA number-one contender Israil Madrimov (8-0, 6KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox