Monday, March 23, 2015

Jermell Charlo vs. Vanes Martirosyan

Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, NV, March 28
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

These two guys were sparring partners when Martirosyan was training under Ronnie Shields in Charlo's hometown of Houston so they are no strangers to each other. But since Charlo was a 19-year-old work in progress at that time and Martirosyan was already a ranked contender, Charlo is more of an unknown quantity to Martirosyan than vice-versa. Plus, Charlo is now trained by Shields, who is all too familiar with both fighters' strengths and weaknesses and will devise a game plan accordingly.

Charlo (25-0, 11 KOs) has developed into a pure boxer who uses the ring well and deploys every punch in the book in fluid combinations. But what he has in abundance of education, he seems lack in punching power, as his 44 percent knockout rate suggests. This is in stark contrast to his twin, Jermall (20-0, 16 KOs) who will be fighting on the undercard riding a 14-fight knockout streak.

Martirosyan (35-1-1, 21 KOs) is one of those erratic fighters who can box and who can punch but hasn't been able to seamlessly combine the two modes of combat to deserve the label boxer-puncher. He has fought better-caliber opponents than Charlo but fell a tad short in his two most significant bouts, a split decision loss to Demitrius Andrade for the vacant WBO junior middleweight belt, and a ninth-round technical draw against Erislandy Lara.

The winner of this fight simply boils down to who's faster on the trigger, and that will be Charlo. The Texan will dictate the tempo by moving side to side while using his jab to set up straight rights and combinations. Martirosyan will find a measure of success by pressing the action and land some solid punches but the defensively-sound Charlo will dip, duck and slide out the side door when the going gets too up close and personal. The scores will be close, in the 115-113 range, but nobody will dispute the verdict.


Couldn't have been more right on this one.

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