Boxing Fight Weekend: What to watch, odds, picks for Sept. 26

Charlo twins headline stacked PPV card

Jermall Charlo’s Twitter handle is @FutureOfBoxing and Saturday’s Showtime Pay-Per-View card at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, is a bet on Charlo and his twin brother, Jermell, actually developing into stars.

Jermall (30-0, 22 KOs) is the WBC middleweight champion and will defend his belt against Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs). Jermell (33-1, 17 KOs) is the WBC super welterweight champion and will meet IBF-WBA champion Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) in a unification bout.

They headline a four-title fight card that has a number of very good matches on them. Also on the show, Luis Nery (30-0, 24 KOs) will meet Aaron Alameda (25-0, 13 KOs) in a battle of unbeatens for the vacant WBC super bantamweight title; John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs) will defend the WBO bantamweight belt against Duke Micah (24-0, 19 KOs); Brandon Figueroa (20-0-1, 15 KOs) will meet Damien Vazquez (15-1-1, 8 KOs) for the WBA super bantamweight title; and Daniel Roman (27-3-1, 10 KOs) will face Juan Carlos Payano (21-3, 9 KOs) in a super bantamweight fight.

This show, though, is all about the Charlos. Showtime is banking on their appeal to carry the show.

Even Showtime executives know the bout isn’t going to do huge numbers — there is immense competition on television from other sports, the UFC has a pay-per-view opposite it and the Charlos are in their first headlining spot on a PPV card — but they’re hopeful it won’t be a disaster.

Jermall, who is a -185 favorite over Derevyanchenko (+155) on BetMGM, said the stakes are huge for himself and his brother.

“This is like the Super Bowl for us,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re always ready to fight. This is what we do and this is what we prepare ourselves for. We’re true warriors.”

Jermell had similar thoughts to his identical twin.

“Now is our time,” he said. “The big dogs are here to stay. We’re veterans in this game and we love this sport. To make it to this stage, there’s nothing bigger for us. This is our Super Bowl. This is our national championship. It’s time for us to go get our belts.”

Saying you’re the future of boxing, though, doesn’t necessarily make it so, or there would be hundreds of fighters who have million-plus pay-per-view bouts on their records.

The Charlos haven’t always been the most media-friendly, though they’ve, by all accounts, worked hard at selling this bout. But, asking $74.95 for fighters the casual fans may not know about during a pandemic with lots of competition is a huge issue to overcome.

But this is the first of what could be a long road of pay-per-view bouts. Floyd Mayweather is by far the biggest PPV draw in history, but he only did 365,000 in his pay debut when he fought Arturo Gatti in 2005.

The key for the Charlos is to handle their business and to make exciting fights. If they do that, they’ll give themselves something to build upon.

Jermall Charlo celebrates after defending the WBC middleweight boxing title with TKO in seventh round against contender Dennis Hogan, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Brooklyn. (AP Photo/Vera Nieuwenhuis)
Jermall Charlo celebrates after defending the WBC middleweight boxing title with TKO in the seventh round against contender Dennis Hogan on Dec. 7, 2019, in Brooklyn. (AP Photo/Vera Nieuwenhuis)

Derevyanchenko is coming off of a Fight of the Year-caliber loss to Gennadiy Golovkin and should pressure Jermall, creating the potential for a fun bout.

Jermall, though, doesn’t seem worried.

“Derevyanchenko is looking past me,” he said. “His trainer [Andre Rozier] and his whole camp, they’re all looking past me. They’re going to find out what they’re in for on Saturday.”

Jermell vowed action, as well.

“We’re going to put on a show,” he said. “Knowing my brother is also fighting gives me more energy. Fight night is when you see all our excitement and all our hard work pouring out. This is huge for us. We’re both doing our thing and feeding off each other’s energy.

“Just being on this stage makes you buckle in and focus a lot better. I’m 30 years old and I want to push myself and keep testing my limits. That’s what’s gotten me to this stage right now.”

Jermell is a -500 favorite on BetMGM. Rosario is +375.

My guess is the show struggles to hit 100,000 sales. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean that the Charlos can’t develop into PPV stars in the future.

But one has to question whether that should even be the goal. Boxing needs to have its best fighters in its biggest fights in front of the biggest audience. Going on PPV naturally limits that reach.

If the show does better than expected, it will be evidence that Showtime’s gamble to feature the brothers was correct.

Figueroa vows a short night

Figueroa’s nickname is “The Heartbreaker,” and he’s vowing to break Vazquez’s heart by stopping him in their bout for the WBA super bantamweight title.

Vazquez has never been stopped.

“If he says it won’t go past six rounds, then he’s going to have to work hard,” Vazquez said. “I’m going to make sure it’s an all-out war. He’s going to have to earn everything.”

Figueroa plans to do just that.

“Vazquez is a good, tough opponent but I really don’t think he’ll be able to handle the pressure that I’m going to bring,” Figueroa said. “I’m an action fighter, but I can do it all. I can bang, but I can also box. My Dad wants me to box even more and tag him on the outside. I don’t think he’ll be able to handle my body shots.

“I feel like this fight won’t last too long, because I had such a good training camp. I keep getting better and stronger and I’m ready to showcase that.”

Ali Trophy up for grabs in Munich

The finale of the World Boxing Super Series’ cruiserweight tournament is Saturday in Munich, Germany, between Mairis Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) and Yuniel Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs) and will stream in the U.S. on DAZN.

Dorticos, a Cuban who lives in Miami, Florida, said he’ll fight in Ali’s memory, who defeated Richard Dunn in Munich in 1976. Ali trained in his early years in Miami.

“I am fighting on behalf of Muhammad Ali’s legacy,” Dorticos said. “We have a special connection to him in our team. Forty-four years ago, Muhammad Ali fought Richard Dunn here in Munich, and he produced the last KO win of his career, and I am here to show why I am called ‘The KO Doctor’ and take home the Ali trophy, and become greatness just like the greatest of all times.

“Everybody knows that I come to give it my all. That’s what fighters do. That’s what champions do. To all my fans in Miami and worldwide, I give you my love and support, and on Saturday night, I will perform at the highest level possible.”

Josh Taylor returns

Unified super lightweight champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) returns to the ring Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+) for the first time since his thrilling victory over Regis Prograis last year in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series when he meets long shot Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs).

Taylor is a -3500 favorite at the MGM Grand Sports Book.

Kevin’s picks

  • Jermall Charlo -185 to win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

  • Jeison Rosario +375 to win over Jermell Charlo.

  • Luis Nery to win by knockout over Aaron Alameda.

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