Jermall Charlo arrived on the scene as a top junior middleweight today on NBC, demolishing defending IBF titleholder Cornelius "K9" Bundrage with four knockdowns in less than three rounds to win his first world title and stay undefeated.
Charlo (22-0, 17 KO) put Bundrage down in the opening round with a counter right hand over an attempted jab to the body from Bundrage, and in the second round on a stiff jab that caught Bundrage coming in. Both of those were flash knockdowns, but gave Charlo a pair of 10-8 rounds to open, putting the defending titlist in a major hole right out of the gate.
In the third, Charlo upped the pressure a bit, and dropped Bundrage for a third time, at which point the referee told Bundrage that he would be watching closely. Bundrage tried to muck up the fight a bit on the inside, which he'd also attempted to do after being dropped in round two, perhaps trying to get into the younger fighter's head with some dirty fighting tactics on the inside, punching to the body and back of the head during clinches.
But Charlo kept his composure, and walloped Bundrage yet again, putting him on the canvas for a fourth time. Though Bundrage (34-6, 19 KO) protested from his back, the fight was over.
To say this was an impressive performance from the 25-year-old Charlo would be understating how cool, calm, and collected he looked in the ring, really taking the veteran Bundrage apart. Bundrage just couldn't find any answers, couldn't get past the jab of Charlo, and if he did, seemed to wind up on the canvas.
"I'm the champion of the world, baby! Of the world! I'm the champion of the world," Charlo said in his post-fight interview. "I couldn't ask for nothing better. I feel good." When asked about Bundrage, Charlo told NBC, "You never put a dog in the pen with a lion."
"He was pretty sharp. I haven't fought in, like, nine months, so I was a little rusty. Not taking nothing away from him. He fought a good fight, and I wish him the best," Bundrage told Kenny Rice. "I just gotta stay active, that's all. I feel like I was rusty. I just gotta stay active, especially competing with younger guys like this. He's a better fighter than I thought he was, I gotta give him credit."