Aside from the obvious huge stakes at play when Jermell Charlo and Brian Castaño meet on Saturday to crown the first undisputed champion of the four-belt era at junior middleweight, the best part of this 154-pound duel is the contrasts of styles.
Charlo (34-1, 18 KOs), a 31-year-old native of Houston, is a dangerous counterpuncher with the perfect balance of speed and power. Yet he’ll be defending his WBA, WBC and IBF titles this weekend at the AT&T
Center in San Antonio (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) against a completely different animal in Castaño (17-0-1, 12 KOs), the 31-year-old WBO champion from Argentina who never takes a step backward.
It’s the expectation of fireworks between the two champions that is most appealing, not to mention that either fighter just might possess the exact style capable of becoming Kryptonite to their opponent.
“I’m much stronger than I was and I’m much faster. I feel like I’m ready,” Charlo said during Thursday’s final press conference.”It’s not just about the power — I’ve got power in both hands and power in every punch, from every angle.
But I’m excited to be in this moment to be facing another champion. This is not just another opponent. I know he has a game plan and we will figure out what to do to him on Saturday.”
Although Charlo enters as the more athletic and explosive fighter of the two, Castaño is far more aggressive and revels in the challenge of getting inside his opponent’s jab in order to attack the body and work on the inside.
The thing that often separates Castaño from equally determined grinders is that he’s far more responsible defensively yet is still willing to go for the finish at any point if the opening is there.
“When it comes to it, if I have to lower my punch output to put more power into things, I will,” Castaño said. “We have a war to fight on Saturday. I guarantee I’m not going to disappoint and that you are going to enjoy this fight. I guarantee you are going to see an all-out war and I am going to be victorious.”
The major bit of concern for Charlo coming in is that he doesn’t admire his work too much should he prove unable to finish Castaño in the first half of the fight.
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Although extremely efficient in his output, the problem has often become for Charlo in close fights that he doesn’t throw enough fights to leave no doubt on the scorecards.
It has been an Achilles heel to some degree for Charlo and likely responsible for his lone defeat — a disputed decision loss to Tony Harrison in 2018 that Charlo
avenged the following year by knockout in yet another close fight in which he failed to leave no doubt through his activity until the finish