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‘I don’t have respect for Benavidez’: Jermall Charlo on return, plan to be more active in 2024

Jermall Charlo is looking to make a statement when he returns to action in 12 days.

Andrew Hemingway/SHOWTIME
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Jermall Charlo will return to the ring after over two years out of action on Nov. 25, when he faces Jose Benavidez Jr in a 10-round bout on the David Benavidez vs Demetrius Andrade pay-per-view undercard.

The 33-year-old Charlo (32-0, 22 KO) still holds the WBC middleweight title, which will not be on the line, but he says he sees this as a grudge match between himself and Benavidez, and that he’s taking the trash talk of his opponent to the heart.

“Benavidez is just one of those guys who has to make a name for himself,” Charlo said from camp. “Of course, talking shit to me would be the best thing you can do because you’re only amping the fight up. I mean, I guess he is trying to sell the fight, but I’m taking it personal and I’m taking it seriously. I’m not taking his words lightly.

“He wants to fight me I guess in revenge for his brother. There’s a lot of brother-brother stuff going on, you know, the Charlo brothers and the Benavidez brothers. So it’s the battle of the brothers and if you want this to be your biggest rival, let’s do it. I’m coming back after two years, no excuses. I’m here to fight.”

Benavidez (28-2-1, 19 KO) has never lived up to his early hype as a prospect, and now at 31, he’s becoming “the brother” of his younger sibling David, though that could change — at least to a degree — if he can beat Charlo in two weeks.

But Charlo says that won’t happen.

“I don’t have respect for him,” Jermall said. “I have respect for myself to go out there and dictate the fight, be patient. Of course, if I hit him flush, I’ll knock him cold out. Walking all over him, (Allen Iverson) shit. I’m going crazy. I’m just trying not to let the excitement overpower me.”

And as for the layoff, Charlo says he will be more active in 2024, naming the Benavidez-Andrade winner, Canelo Alvarez, and “YouTubers coming up” as possible opponents next year.

“I actually want to be more active next year, take on two or three fights,” he said. “I’m ready to stay in the gym and stay focused and hopefully I can land one of those big fights you want to see. Maybe the winner out of the main event or maybe Canelo, YouTubers coming up. You know, I really don’t care. I just want to fight.”

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