Tomorrow night on FOX, Premier Boxing Champions will run it back between WBC junior middleweight titleholder Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo, as the pair headline from Ontario, California.
A year ago, Harrison upset Charlo by highly controversial unanimous decision. Does Charlo take the belt back, or does Harrison surprise again? The BLH staffers make their picks.
It’s almost a year to the day of the first Harrison-Charlo fight, which Tony Harrison won on the cards and probably shouldn’t have. Jermell Charlo can blame the judges, and rightly so, but he also has to blame himself at least a little bit. Harrison isn’t a bad fighter, but he’s very beatable and was really a sort of busted prospect coming into the first bout. Charlo never really pressed despite seemingly having the advantage, played it too safe down the stretch, and the judges nicked rounds to Tony. It happens, and in this case it’s kind of hard to make some case for corruption, because Charlo was and is the bigger name and the A-side of the matchup.
I like Tony Harrison. He’s a good dude, he’s a talented fighter, and part of me is plenty happy, even with the controversy, that whatever happens here or forever after, he can say he was the champion of the world. The Charlos are both a little hot-tempered, which isn’t the worst thing for a fighter, so I expect Jermell to come out here not looking to screw around at all. Harrison’s been stopped twice, but both times it was late in fights where he was plenty competitive. That’s kind of what I expect here; Harrison will be in the fight, but Charlo’s going to get to him and this time, he’s going to press for the finish. Charlo TKO-10
Man, I really like Tony Harrison as a person from what I’ve seen of him. He conducts himself really well, doesn’t get overwhelmed by the brash talk of an abrasive Jermell Charlo, and his mindset in training camp seems to be on point. That said, I think Charlo really beat him in their first fight and I think he actually gets this decision this time around.
Harrison is a cerebral, steady fighter who uses his jab to control the range and action. That’s all well and good, but Charlo is going to be coming forward behind power shots that are going to be pushing Harrison backwards and making him appear to be the obvious aggressor. Something I noticed in their first fight was that even when Charlo was throwing hard shots and not landing them clean, Harrison’s balance made them appear to be more effective than they really were. In close fights that are subjectively judged, perception is reality. If it looks like you’re getting beat up, the judges will more often than not think you are. I’d like to see Harrison hold his ground a bit more this time around so Charlo can’t just carry downhill momentum, but it’s a style thing and Harrison is an outside fighter first and foremost. I think this fight ends up looking almost identical to the first, but this time Charlo takes the win. Charlo UD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg
There really wasn’t that much to glean from the pair’s first fight, seeing as large chunks of it consisted of glorified sparring. One would hope that some proper antipathy has fermented since then, but even if it hasn’t, the outlook isn’t great for Harrison. Charlo deserved the win at a tentative pace and a more active one would bode ill for Harrison considering his tendency to fade down the stretch.
I expect Charlo to come out looking for blood, and while that does give Harrison a chance to catch him cold, their respective track records of standing up to power-punchers suggest that it’s not the most favorable of circumstances. Harrison doesn’t have the gas tank to play keep-away from a determined and heavier-handed foe. Charlo wears him down for a decisive finish. Charlo TKO-8
Harrison won the first argument by being the slicker, cleaner and more precise puncher, countering Charlo’s more aggressive higher-output work a year ago. Harrison is back in the head of Charlo, with the challenger’s emotions looking pivotal to whether it’s repeat or revenge in Ontario — still, a more measured, patient Charlo can win this fight.
Harrison will probably control the opening exchanges with Charlo trying to bide his time for the later rounds. The champion has had a year layoff suffering an injury setback, so jumping back into Charlo waters 364 days later may take its toll. “Iron Man” looks very well conditioned and will believe he holds the power to stop the champion.
A more controlled Charlo is the recipe for revenge, but if he comes out swinging again he could get picked off. Charlo UD-12