By Dan Ambrose: Jermell Charlo is going to have to stay on the outside and move nonstop for him to pull off the upset tonight against Canelo Alvarez at his favorite venue, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
(Photo Credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME)
Very few people are giving Jermell (35-1-1,19 KOs) a chance of winning the fight because they feel he’s an old dog that can’t learn new tricks by changing his fighting style.
Jermell is a 15-year pro who has had the same brawling fighting style since day one, and it might not be possible for him to change the way he’s always fought.
Canelo will tear Charlo apart if he tries to slug, particularly if he fights on the inside like he’s been saying he will.
Chris Algieri thinks it would be a big mistake on Jermell’s part if he tries to target Canelo’s body because he’ll leave himself wide open for counter shots from the Mexican star.
Algieri points out that Gennadiy Golovkin, Dmitry Bivol, and John Ryder didn’t land many body shots against Canelo because it was too risky.
Charlo too tall to target Canelo’s body
“As a committed body puncher and a tall guy from my weight class, it’s a big risk. I always committed to the body because I felt it paid off, and it was worth the risk, but the setups are very, very difficult, and you’re always running that risk of being countered,” said Chris Algieri to the ProBox TV forum, talking about the risks involved with Jermell Charlo attacking Canelo Alvarez’s body tonight.
“When you got a guy like Canelo Alvarez, who’s such a sharp counterpuncher? You mentioned GGG. GGG is such a great body puncher, and for him not to really target the body of Canelo tells you a lot about what it’s like being in the ring with a guy like that, who’s that sharp of a counter-puncher.”
It would be crazy for Jermell to target Canelo’s body, but you can’t put it past him to try. In Jermell’s last fight against Brian Castano, he was throwing a lot of body shots and countered, but he didn’t seem to care. If Jermell tries that with Canelo, he’s going to get nailed with something big and will get knocked out.
“Also, look at the dimensions. Canelo’s got a really short torso. If you look at it, there’s not a lot of ground to hit. There’s not a lot of territory for Charlo to use as a target,” said Algieri. “Also, what I noticed from my tape review of watching Charlo, especially when he throws that jab to the body, he doesn’t change levels really well.
“A lot of times, he throws that jab, and he’s kind of straight up, and he’s been countered over the top with right hands before, and I think that’s going to be a big strategic tool that Canelo’s squad, I’m sure, saw because if saw it, they saw it.
“So that’s another thing. When you’re going to the body, when you commit to the body, you have to get low, even as a tall man. Again, I was a tall man who was committed to the body.
“I had to get really low and really work on dropping my butt to get down to dig to the body. So I would be surprised if it was a smart choice or beneficial to go to the body that way and not get countered over the top the way that Canelo can,” said Algieri.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to this writer if Jermell’s trainer, Derrick James, has put together a game plan that includes a large focus on targeting Canelo’s body.
Fighting on inside won’t be easy
“That’s another thing. We always talk about range; we talk about reach. Long arms and long reach are actually a detriment to you on the inside,” said Algieri. “Shorter arms get there quicker, and they get back home quicker. Long arms on the inside take longer to get back home.”
With Jermell’s longer reach, it’s unclear why he’d want to give it up by fighting on the inside against Canwelo, but perhaps he saw how Austin Trout hurt the Mexican star in their fight in 2013 when he attacked his body.
“So it might actually be better and more beneficial to Canelo to be fighting a guy who’s looking for those body shots to get he can get those counters right there,” said Algieri. “That catch-and-shoot is going to come right off, and those opportunities are going to be there.
“So interesting, like you said, Tim. It’s very interesting that’s what they’re saying they’re going to do. Is it true? Is that a bait? Is that bait that they’re going to go to the body, but they’re not?
“I agree with you, Paulie, in terms of if Charlo goes out there and uses his boxing skills and literally just becomes a boxer. We have three guys who are boxers. All of us were looking to go twelve rounds.
“More often than not, that’s what happened. It’s a very hard thing to do discipline-wise. Just to learn how to do that out of the blue is a difficult task. So I’m curious.
“The boxing skills are there, the body situation. That literally could just be a bait-and-switch to kind of get Canelo to think that the plan and maybe it’s not,” said Algieri.