We reached out to media members who cover boxing and asked them to share their predictions for the fight between Canelo Álvarez vs. Jermell Charlo. They offered the following projections.
Charlo will carry the weight well and compete with Álvarez over the first half of the bout, but I think the Mexican veteran's smart pressure, accurate counterpunching and choice body shots will take a toll on the Texan by Round 7 or 8. Charlo is a warrior, so I expect him to go out on his shield. Álvarez via late knockout.
— Doug Fischer, editor in chief, Ring Magazine
I think Charlo is being vastly underrated by most of the public and this is a lot harder fight for Álvarez than most believe. But I think Álvarez is the better fighter of the two. After a slow start, he’ll start to walk Charlo down. I think he pulls away in the second half and wins a unanimous decision.
— Kevin Iole, boxing and MMA columnist, Yahoo Sports
I’m still an Álvarez believer, even after everything that’s been disappointing and mediocre about his last three fights. Moving his training camp to Lake Tahoe seems a good way to sharpen his wandering focus and to build his stamina, which he’ll need for the late rounds against a vigorous opponent. Charlo has been an impressive fighter for years, but his move up in weight and his relative inactivity over the last four years are both red flags in this matchup. I’m eager to see how he reacts when Álvarez connects with the heaviest hands he’s likely ever faced. Charlo is a courageous, worthy opponent, but I’m picking Álvarez by late-round stoppage.
— Greg Beacham, sports writer, Associated Press
I will keep it short and sweet — the Premier Boxing Champions way of doing things in 2023 just hasn't worked out. Charlo is a fighter coming off a year-plus long layoff and making a two-weight jump. Charlo doesn't throw or move enough to tire out or wear down Álvarez. He will enjoy success at times but nothing close to where Álvarez is in danger of an upset defeat. Álvarez by decision.
— Jake Donovan, senior writer, BoxingScene.com
Álvarez has shown a weakness when facing opponents who move and have swift hands. I think Charlo will handle the move up in weight very well and take this 12 rounds, where he will win a close, hard-fought decision.
— Randy Gordon, SiriusXM Fight Nation host of "At the Fights"
Álvarez attributed subpar performances in recent fights to injuries and insists he’s healthy now. If that’s true, Charlo, moving up two weight classes to challenge the 168-pound champ, could be in trouble. This is a fight between a good big man and a good small man. And we know what history says about such a matchup: The big man will win. Álvarez might have problems with Charlo’s speed and athleticism early, but he’ll gradually cut off the ring, wear Charlo down with his heavy hands and score either a late knockout or win a clear decision. Álvarez by 10th-round knockout.
— Michael Rosenthal, editor, Boxing Junkie (USA Today Sports)
At the age of 33, Álvarez on Saturday is fighting Father Time — and Charlo, whose rugged offensive artillery helped him rule the 154-pound weight class. Advantage: Álvarez, whose alignment with PBC reflects his motivation to still star against compelling opposition. He arrived in Las Vegas in top condition, confident that he could maintain his peak. He’s too experienced and too sturdy at 168 pounds for Charlo, who proved vulnerable in his last two fights against Brian Castaño’s timely offensive outputs. An entertaining fight ends in dramatic fashion. Álvarez by eighth-round stoppage.
— Sam Gordon, sports reporter, Las Vegas Review-Journal
I think we’ll see a competitive fight early on but eventually Álvarez will take over and wear down Charlo and stop him in the final few rounds.
— Dan Rafael, Fight Freaks Unite
I expect a very competitive first half of the fight that starts with both fighters trying to establish a rhythm, and especially Charlo trying to gain Álvarez’s respect, so that he doesn't try to just run him over with his pressure and power punching. We will see a Charlo that will attempt to use his speed, and move in and out and try to keep Álvarez at distance — a matador trying to keep the Mexican bull at bay. My only worry is how long he can keep that up with a puncher that will stay on him. If he’s in supreme condition, we could be headed to a fight in which we don't know who is ahead. With that said, I wonder if Charlo was stunned by a smaller Brian Castaño in his first of two fights with him? What's going to happen when a bigger puncher like Álvarez lands clean and frequently, and not just to the head, but also the body? Álvarez via majority decision in a fairly competitive fight.
— Marcos Villegas, founder of FightHub TV
Coming into this fight, I’ve had concerns about Álvarez’s conditioning. For years it was an issue that plagued him until he defeated Gennadiy Golovkin in their 2018 rematch where he seemed to find a way to keep his gas tank consistent over 12 hard rounds. Since the Dmitry Bivol loss in May 2022, that issue has reappeared. I believe it’s part of the reason why Álvarez hasn’t been up to his usual standards in his past three fights. Álvarez has since moved his camp to the higher elevation in Lake Tahoe and is saying all the right things, but sometimes great fighters say that stuff when they’re in fact getting old. If Charlo wins, it’s because Álvarez meets him halfway and gasses midway through the fight. Otherwise, Álvarez should take care of business. Álvarez is the more compact puncher. He possesses the better balance, power, accuracy and defense. All of the fight-week signals point to Charlo not being his usual confident self, and it’s tempted me to change my prediction from Álvarez by decision instead to Álvarez by knockout. Originally I felt if Charlo feels the power early and decides to go in survival mode, he can do that and make it the distance. Now, I question if he has the defensive abilities necessary to do that. Also, despite knocking Brian Castaño out, Charlo was hit often and didn’t control the center of the ring with his jab. I’ll take Álvarez by stoppage — fight week cemented it for me.
— Sean Zittel, senior correspondent, FightHype.com
For the first time in history, two reigning male undisputed champions will meet in the ring with all four of Álvarez’s super middleweight belts being up for grabs. Yes, Charlo is moving up two weight divisions, but forget about any size difference. They'll be even when the opening bell rings. What's not as clear is whether Charlo can carry speed and power up to 168 pounds, or whether his experience can meet the moment. Álvarez’s critics feel he's lost a step, but he's been miles ahead of the competition for years in power, ring IQ, and experience. Even a slightly diminished Álvarez should beat Charlo, and should avoid any knockout threat. If it goes to the scorecards in Las Vegas, Charlo will have to dominate 10 rounds to win it, and that's not happening. Álvarez by decision.
— Gayle Falkenthal, west coast bureau chief, NYFights.com
Documented data explains why Álvarez has been a substantial favorite since the fight was announced. He has all of the clout. All of the celebrities, too. He also has ruled the super middleweight division long enough to be a fixture at 168 pounds. Charlo is jumping up two weight classes, making him an unlikely challenger with little to lose. If he keeps it close, he wins some elusive respect. The guess is, he will with some sneaky power and abundant energy. Expect Charlo to launch a furious assault, fighting his way back into the fight over the last four rounds. That's when Álvarez has been known to fade, perhaps a result of all the punishment he has withstood. He's been a prizefighter for 18 years, about a year longer than Aaron Rodgers has been a NFL quarterback. He's fighting the clock more than Charlo in a crossroads bout that could end in a scorecard controversy. Álvarez by split decision.
— Norm Frauenheim, writer, 15Rounds.com
Álvarez controls the fight early and wins enough rounds to offset Charlo coming on strong later in the fight. Álvarez by unanimous decision.
— Jorge Castillo, sports enterprise reporter, LA Times
This should be a simple fight for Álvarez, as he has fought against more skillful and powerful fighters than Charlo. Álvarez has a proven chin, and everything Charlo throws, Álvarez has seen before. On the other hand, I don’t think Charlo has felt a powerful punch like Álvarez’s. However, I believe the Mexican champion will have another off night. Charlo is an excellent boxer, and I think he will win some of the early rounds thanks to his jab to gain momentum. I believe Álvarez is nearing the end of his era because of Father Time and injuries. Also, Álvarez’s lack of hunger in boxing increases in every fight. He has earned a ridiculous amount of money in boxing and, off the ring, is a successful entrepreneur. Charlo will win many rounds, and Álvarez will have to rally to beat him by a split decision.
— Eduard Cauich, sports reporter, LA Times en Español
Many state that the 33-year-old Álvarez is no longer in the prime of his career, which may be true, but even with less, he’ll still prevail over Charlo. Álvarez needs to plant his feet and use his power to attack Charlo’s body while “Iron Man” dances around him. Charlo hasn’t fought since May of 2022 and broke his left hand while training in December. Expect some rustiness, and the longer the fight takes, Charlo will struggle with his endurance. It’s been nearly two years since Álvarez scored a stoppage win to become the super middleweight king. On Saturday, he’ll return back to the KO column with a ninth-round knockout.
— Jad El Reda, sports reporter, LA Times en Español
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.