Jermell Charlo had to exercise incredible patience during his quest to become the first undisputed super welterweight champion.
After a split draw in his first fight with Brian Castaño last year was followed by a three-month postponement of their rematch due to Castaño’s injury, Charlo had to wait again on Saturday night because Castaño was late for the fight. sand.
When the confrontation finally began, Charlo survived Castaño’s first attacks and waited for the moment to attack.
The moment came in the tenth round and Charlo seized it emphatically.
Charlo became the first man to hold all the 154-pound titles in the four-belt era when he stopped his Argentine opponent with two knockdowns in the 10th. He completed his remarkable quest by becoming only the seventh fighter to reign as the undisputed champion of any weight class since the four-belt era began in 1988.
“This is a legacy,” Charlo said. “This is something that is legendary. I am a legend. This is a beautiful thing.”
After an entertaining fight with ample hand-to-hand action, Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) dropped Castano twice in quick succession in the 10th. Charlo jumped onto the ropes to celebrate as the referee continued to count out his opponent, celebrating the addition of Castano’s WBO super welterweight title to his WBC, WBA and IBF belts.
Charlo survived several impressive opening rounds from Castano (17-1-2) in the fighters’ split draw rematch 10 months ago in Texas.
“I got into my bag around the seventh round,” said Charlo, a Houston native and twin brother of middleweight champion Jermall Charlo. “I started sitting down a little bit more instead of boxing as much and moving around. I saw that he was wearing down a bit and it was breaking him down. I just saw that my punches are more effective. I get stronger in later rounds, if you didn’t know.”
Charlo executed an impressive tactical and counterattacking game plan under a nearly full moon at Dignity Health Sports Park, the famous open-air stadium south of downtown Los Angeles.
Castaño’s aggression and Charlo’s sharp responses led to great exchanges in almost every round, highlighted by a sensational fifth round of relentless action. But Castano’s early pace slowed in the middle rounds, and he was finished off in dramatic fashion by Charlo at 2:33 of the tenth.
After catching Castano with a right uppercut and left hook for the first knockdown, Charlo dropped Castano again seconds later with two lefts to the head and a left to the body, leaving Castano on the canvas.
“We showed that we are warriors,” Castaño said through a translator. “We were both fighting back and forth. It was power back and forth, and then his right hand reached out and stopped the fight. He is a champion. He hit me. He has caught me. But I’m fine.
After undefeated Philadelphia welterweight Jaron Ennis stopped Custio Clayton with a hard right hand in the second round of the penultimate fight on the show, the main event was slightly delayed because Castaño was late to the arena, according to promoters. of the fight.
Traffic and parking were terrible around the sports complex, which hosted a Major League Soccer LA Galaxy game at the same time as the fight card on the tennis court that shares property with the soccer stadium. but it was not clear if that was the case. the reason why Castaño was late.
Both fighters still came out eager for the exchanges, with Castaño again pressing forward and Charlo deftly countering. Charlo was ready off the ropes, but Castaño outboxed him in back-and-forth action during a thrilling fourth round.
The fifth round was even better, with devastating blows thrown by both fighters. Charlo then bent Castaño’s knees with a big left hand in the seventh, but Charlo curiously didn’t move to look for a finish.
Turns out Charlo had a better plan after all.
Charlo’s victory is a historic moment in the history of the best fighters between middleweight and welterweight.
The 154-pound division was created in 1962, and talents ranging from Thomas Hearns and Terry Norris to Felix Trinidad and Winky Wright have excelled at weight. But no boxer had held every major title at super welterweight since the WBO formed and inaugurated the four-belt championship era in 1988.
Charlo won his first version of a 154-pound title in 2013 and reclaimed the WBC belt in May 2016. He lost it to Tony Harrison in December 2018 but regained it with a rematch knockout victory and quickly added the belts. of the WBA and the IBF. by arresting Jeison Rosario in September 2020.
Castano has built an impressive career fighting out of Buenos Aires, although he has trained in Los Angeles since January. He held versions of the WBA 154-pound title for three years before reclaiming the WBO strap last year.
Castaño came agonizingly close to pulling off an impressive upset in his first meeting with Charlo last July with a similarly aggressive strategy. But the judges in Charlo’s native Texas couldn’t decide, one scored for each fighter and the third saw a draw.