Saul Alvarez vs Jermell Charlo expert fight analysis
“Canelo” faces “Iron Man” in Undisputed vs Undisputed showdown
Undisputed super-middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (59-2-2, 39KO) meets undisputed super-welterweight champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (35-1-1, 19KO) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on September 30, headlining a SHOWTIME PPV.
The Mexican megastar has won his last two fights by unanimous decision, but they followed on from a points defeat to the rangy light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in May 2022.
The twin from Louisiana hasn’t lost in his last five fights, since his surprise 2018 unanimous decision defeat to Tony Harrison, which he rectified a year later in 2019 with an 11th round knockout. Then came a split decision draw with Brian Carlos Castano, which he again put right in the very next fight with a 10th round stoppage.
For Jermell, this is the biggest fight of his career, so it’ll be legacy defining for him. Trained by Derrick James, he will be treating this as the biggest thing that’s ever happened to him, so there’s no doubt the very best version of Jermell Charlo will be in that ring on fight night.
He is aggressive and powerful, can land quick, strong counters, especially that big, fast right hand that he leans into and turns over so well. He is always looking to land that shot; got a great jab too. He is also very dangerous up close with his short, potent hooks and uppercuts. It was a short left hook on the inside that was the catalyst for his win in the Castano rematch. That same shot almost dropped him in the third round of their first fight too.
Charlo is one of very few fighters able to hold his power throughout fights; 12 of his 19 KOs have come from the midway mark onwards, but Canelo is also able to do that. His last two KOs came in rounds eight and 11. If anything, Canelo gets more dangerous as the fight goes on.
If you put Charlo under pressure and really lay it on him, it’s like poking the cage, you will get bitten back. Trap him in the corner, throw flurries to overwhelm him, pin him to the ropes and he’s totally fine with all of it. He won’t have to get on his bike against Canelo, like Caleb Plant did.
He can also box off the backfoot too, he did a little of that against Jeison Rosario in the early rounds of his antepenultimate fight in 2020, and throws out a really stiff jab. He mostly likes to come forward and throw in twos, threes and fours, but it shows his diversity when he can jab and move too, although he doesn’t look as effective doing so. That said, he KO’d Rosario with a jab to the body in round eight.
Of course, Charlo currently reigns at super-welter and is going up to super-middle – two weight categories above – but he is a big guy, bigger than Canelo in fact, at six-foot-tall, with a longer reach too.
Trained by Eddy Reynoso, Canelo is a hard-hitting counter-puncher and good all-rounder, able to fight in a variety of ways and very adept at adapting to what’s in front of him.
Some believe that, at the age of 33, after 63 bouts and 18 years as a pro, he may have lost a step and is now on the decline, but if losing on points to Dmitry Bivol is evidence of that then that’s not enough proof. The unbeaten Russian is a formidable opponent, bigger, heavier and taller than Canelo, and is arguably the world’s greatest master at judging range.
Canelo has put his recent under par performances down to injuries and niggles, but is now ready to prove he is back to his best and still the superstar of this sport.
Charlo specifically called for this fight, so he has a confidence and inner knowledge that is driving him on to victory. However, even though the best Jermell Charlo is inevitably turning up to this fight against a man that many think is on the slide, he might actually end up meeting the best version of Canelo in that ring.
The four-weight world ruler is a proud man, hellbent on securing a lasting legacy for himself and for Mexico, so he will be coming to the squared circle equipped with the best version of himself on that last day of September, with something to prove to his doubters.
Canelo is favourite to win at 3/10 with Betway Sports, while Charlo is the underdog at 11/4. Odds for a draw are 18/1.
Charlo’s sole career defeat to Tony Harrison was a very close contest and he basically lost to a jab. Harrison was slick, elusive, defensive, and simply jabbed his way off the backfoot to the win against a frustrated Charlo, who came forward but was picked off.
Canelo has only lost to or struggled with defensive movers. Floyd Mayweather is obviously one of the greatest defensive fighters in history and Bivol is fantastic behind that long, ramrod jab of his, never letting anyone get close to him.
This contest won’t see Charlo up against a backfoot fighter picking him off from the outside and Canelo won’t be up against an elusive, defensive mover… so we have a fight!
Both these boxers are excellent counter-punchers, so they are both going to land and both going to get hit.
This could come down to who implements their game plan perfectly on the night, which I would lean towards Canelo to do. He has been in the bigger fights, on the highest stages for a lot longer in his career, so when it comes to boxing to instruction and composure, he will not falter.
Canelo hasn’t looked the same fighter he once was in his recent fights, which is why Charlo wants to catch him right now, but the determined Mexican is still a superstar and desperate to prove everyone wrong.
If there’s an early stoppage then it’ll definitely come from Canelo, likely jumping on a mistake made by Charlo, who opens up a lot, risking getting caught, but he has more than proven his chin in the two Castano fights.
If there’s a late KO then that will more likely come from Charlo, but it’s so hard to envisage Alvarez ever being stopped by anyone. Whenever he gets caught out, he can ride punches so well, and we’ve seen this man share 36 rounds with Gennadiy Golovkin, so surely there’s no one else on the planet capable of putting a dent in him.
I can imagine this fight swinging back and forth, similarly to the first two Canelo-Golovkin thrillers. I can see a lot of exchanges, the fight being contested in close range, with big shots going back and forth. I think they will equally go forwards and push each other back because they are both comfortable fighting off the ropes or being the aggressor.
Both boxers have proven their chins, so it’s difficult to predict a stoppage win, but most people also won’t have this one going the distance either.
Not only will this come down to game plans being executed perfectly, but whoever makes their analysis quickest and adapts first, will be the boxer who gets into their stride and controls the contest. I think the boxer who starts fast and gets into their rhythm early will be the one to prevail.
Saul Alvarez to win on points in Canelo-Golovkin style fight.