Jermall Charlo’s chin has been one of his best attributes during his 12-year career as a professional prizefighter.
Juan Macias Montiel still believes he can knock out Charlo in their middleweight title fight Saturday night. The Mexican underdog warned Charlo during a press conference Thursday that the unbeaten WBC champion should be wary of exchanging with him when they meet in a Showtime Championship Boxing main event at Toyota Center in Houston, Charlo’s hometown.
“I believe that if he wants to trade punches with me,” Montiel said, “I guarantee you that he will feel very bad in the end. He will [be] sorry for that.”
Montiel has only won professional bouts by knockout (22-4-2, 22 KOs).
The 27-year-old contender most recently demolished shopworn former contender James Kirkland (34-3, 30 KOs) by first-round knockout December 26 in Los Angeles. Montiel dropped Kirkland three times before their scheduled 10-rounder was stopped just 1:56 into it.
Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) reminded Montiel that there’s a lot separating him from Kirkland and everyone else Montiel has fought. The two-division champion claimed during the aforementioned press conference at Hilton Americas-Houston that he has “no concern” about Montiel’s power.
“He’s strong,” Charlo said. “I fight strong fighters. I spar heavy, strong fighters. Training camp, awesome. He strong. What you think I am? I’m strong, too, right? Obviously, right. Twenty-two knockouts. You got 22 knockouts. Me, too. I’m not worried about none of that. You in my hometown. This what I do. This how it’s been. This how it’s gonna stay.”
The 31-year-old Charlo is a 33-1 favorite according to the William Hill sports book.
Montiel has been knocked out once – in the second round by former WBO junior middleweight champ Jaime Munguia (36-0, 29 KOs) in February 2017. Munguia and Montiel met at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, though, and Montiel has since competed at or near the middleweight maximum of 160.
Montiel is 3-0-1 since Munguia knocked him out. The only blemish on his record during that stretch was a 10-round split draw with Huge Centeno Jr. (27-3-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC), an opponent Charlo knocked out in the second round in March 2018.
Three of Charlo’s four fights have gone the 12-round distance since he overpowered Centeno, but the confident champion indicated that Montiel will suffer the same fate as Centeno if they indeed trade punches Saturday night.
“Boxing is hittin’ and not gettin’ hit, right?,” Charlo said. “It’s power and speed. It don’t matter. Like, it don’t matter. I’m not fired up. [It’s] just common sense at this level that everybody’s strong, you know, everybody has power, everybody has speed, everybody wanna fight. Everybody want the belt. I got the belt. Everybody want the belt. So, I’m ready for whatever they say. Like, if he trade with me, you see what happen to motherf***as who trade with me? Same thing.”
Showtime’s telecast is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. EDT, when former WBO junior featherweight champ Angelo Leo (20-1, 9 KOs), of Albuquerque, New Mexico, will meet Mexican southpaw Aaron Alameda (25-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-rounder. The network’s co-feature will match Mexico City natives Isaac Cruz (21-1-1, 15 KOs) and Francisco Vargas (27-2-2, 19 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight bout.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.