In just a few days, boxing will crown yet another undisputed champion this year. Fans of the sport were treated to a great bout in May between Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez for the lightweight crown, and now Jermell Charlo (34-1, 18 KOs) and Brian Castaño (17-0-1, 12 KOs) will step in the ring at the AT&T Center in San Antonio for supremacy in the super welterweight division. Both fighters come in this bout off big wins, with Charlo scoring a knockout victory over Jeison Rosario last year and Castaño beating Patrick Teixeira to win the WBO championship in February. They are universally recognized as the two best fighters at 154 pounds, and at the press conference both of them showed their level of confidence going into the fight.
“I don’t have any pressure on me,” Charlo said at today’s press conference. “I’ve been in this position so many times in my life. If I felt the pressure, I wouldn’t be in this moment. I’m more than ready. I’m excited and anxious to get in the ring.”
Charlo is right when he states that he has been involved in high level fights. Ever since winning the WBC title in 2016, he has been in the ring against many top fighters in the division such as Austin Trout, Erickson Lubin, and two bouts against Tony Harrison before unifying titles against Rosario last September. Now he faces another high level opponent in Castaño for all the belts in the division. Charlo is well aware of what’s at stake and knows he is one step closer to being the undisputed champion.
“This is a dream come true. I’ve wanted to be undisputed since I was a child because this is the highest you can reach in boxing. Being in this moment really makes me thankful to my whole team who helped me get to this point.”
Over the past few weeks, Charlo has felt great about the work he has done in preparation for this bout. He has been working with Derrick James in camp and sent a warning to his opponent.
“I’m stronger and faster than I was before. I just feel like I’m ready. I have power in every punch I throw and I’m thankful for this opportunity to face another champion.”
“A focused Jermell is the most dangerous Jermell there could be. I have different skill sets that I can implement in this fight no matter what Castaño does. I have a lot that I can do depending what Castaño brings.”
Castaño steps into this bout with half the amount of fights as Charlo but holds the same level of confidence going into Saturday. He had been an interim champion in 2016 then won a version of the WBA title before a draw with Erislandy Lara in 2019. Castaño came back eight months later to score a stoppage victory over Wale Omotoso, then won the WBO title against Teixeira. A native of Argentina, Castaño wants to be among the legends that came before him such as Carlos Monzon and Sergio Martinez.
“For me and my team, this is yet another opportunity to lift Argentine boxing up and add another star to that legacy,” he said. “That’s what I want and I’m enjoying this moment. I promise that on Saturday night, I’m going to leave it all in the ring for everybody. I want to make not only Argentina, but all of Latin America proud. That’s what I want to do on Saturday night.”
He is known for the pressure that he puts on his opponents but is well aware of the ability of Jermell Charlo and what he has done inside the ring. Castano comes in knowing the odds are against him and will adjust to whatever Charlo is doing in order to get the victory.
“When it comes down to it, if I have to lower my punch output to put more power on my punches, then I will. I don’t like to focus on past fights, because we have our own game plans for this fight. In the end, I can only focus on what I’m going to do. If Charlo wants to be more finesse, I can deal with that, and if he wants to brawl, then by all means I will welcome that as well.”
Going by what both fighters have said leading into this bout, it is well on its way to potentially being a Fight of the Year candidate. When it is over, there will be a consensus top fighter in the super welterweight division and history will be made as the winner will be the first four belt undisputed champion.
Cover photo by Amanda Westcott of Showtime