Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo Face Off at Their LA Presser


By David A. Avila

BEVERLY HILLS-Only in Beverly Hills.

Shouts echoed inside the ritzy halls of the Beverly Hills Hilton but they were not associated with the most interesting prize fight of the year matching undisputed super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez against undisputed super welterweight champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo.

Striking hotel workers were having their say, but they won’t settle it in the boxing ring.

Instead, four-division champion Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) and dare-to-be-great Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) agreed to meet on Sept. 30, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Showtime pay-per-view will televise the meeting between the 33-year-old undisputed world champions. It’s a rarity.

Though it’s already happened in women’s boxing it’s a first-time occurrence with the men.

The idea was hatched when Charlo witnessed Canelo’s fight last year in Las Vegas. The super welterweight told anyone within earshot that he could defeat Mexico’s superstar Alvarez.

It was an idea that Charlo had fostered since his days of fighting under the Golden Boy Promotions banner. On Tuesday, he spotted former Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz in the audience and recounted how he always asked to fight Canelo.

“My whole career has kind of been all about chasing Canelo. He’s been the top guy for a long time. The fight has presented itself now and I just have to get in there, do my job and be the best that I can be,” said Charlo in front of more than a hundred reporters.

Charlo demonstrated that repeatedly. Despite fighting to a draw with Argentina’s Brian Castano, he adapted and in the rematch scored a sensational knockout. And previously, after losing to Tony Harrison, he made adjustments and knocked out the slick fighter to regain the championship.

“I’m always dangerous,” Charlo said.

It was a congenial affair in the garden area of the swanky Beverly Hills Hilton that saw both feared fighters greet each other with smiles. Both lauded each other like Canadian and American diplomats.

“I think both Jermell and Jermall Charlo are great fighters. No disrespect to Jermall. But I think Jermell has had better opposition in his fights,” said Alvarez in the same location where he slapped Caleb Plant a year ago. “I think he (Jermell) is the better fighter. That’s just what I think.”

It’s all roses and handshakes but don’t count on that at the end of next month. More than a few people think Alvarez has reached the mountain peak and is sinking slowly into decline.

“I always say that outside of the ring, I look like I’m an easy opponent. But when fighters step in the ring with me, it’s completely different,” said Alvarez dressed in a stark blue shirt. “I understand what the people said and I agree. I didn’t look my best in my last two fights, but I know why and I’m ready for this fight. We’ll see what happens.”

Some say it’s the curse of the silk pajamas.

Regardless, no one disagrees about its potential to sell.

“September 30 promises to be nothing but fireworks in front of another electrifying sold out crowd at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas,” said TGB Promotions head Tom Brown.

Both fighters are 33 years old. Charlo is actually older by two months. But the redhead Canelo has been fighting professionally since he was 15. He’s made millions. Sometimes the weight of those silk pajamas can be too heavy.

“We will see,” says Alvarez.

Photo credit: Esther Lin / SHOWTIME