The first Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano fight left a sour taste in their mouths as a result of a controversial split-decision draw.
Now, less than a year later, Charlo and Castano will seek closure in the form of crowning an undisputed junior middleweight world champion Saturday night when they clash in a rematch at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. Charlo's WBA (Super), WBC, and IBF world titles will all be on the line in addition to Castano's WBO strap.
The stakes couldn't be higher. That said, DAZN News took the time to list and analyze some keys to victory for each fighter.
Jermell Charlo’s keys to victory
Step into power jab to prevent Castano from moving forward
Charlo allowed Castano to walk him down over far too many sequences across their 12-round war last July. In fact, Charlo landed four or fewer jabs in seven of the 12 rounds. Severely absent from that output was a power jab that Charlo is more than capable of stepping into and producing consistently with bad intentions each time. Connecting with that jab — even so much as to flicking it out there — should go a long way in keeping Castano at bay, while making him think twice of working to get inside. That, or Charlo, the bigger man in the ring, can elect to push Castano off to get that space. Stepping into the power jab will also allow Charlo to piece together heavier combinations.
Attack the body
A pressing Castano in their initial clash baited Charlo into headhunting upstairs and neglecting the body more than he should’ve. The power jab, along with the left hook that he had success with in July, should be deposited to Castano’s body more. Doing that should stifle Castano’s forward movement and possibly have even more devastating effects. After all, we’d be remiss to not consider how Charlo was crowned unified junior middleweight world champion — with a jab to the body that finished Jeison Rosario in September 2020.
Walk Castano down, but look for counterpunch left hook
Charlo enabled Castano to be the aggressor and walk him down over large stretches of their first fight. He’d then pick the opportune spots to pounce, bursting forward with lunging punches. This time around, to dictate and control the pace of the rematch, Charlo should seriously think about coming out and walking Castano down. That being said, he can still use Castano’s aggression in his favor. The Argentinian frequently gets overzealous while head-hunting. That leaves him careless at times and ripe for the picking when it comes to Charlo launching that monstrous counterpunch left hook. The shot worked wonders for Charlo in their first meeting and could spell lights out for the scrappy Castano in the sequel if he’s not careful.
Brian Castano’s keys to victory
Jab to the body
Castano landed only nine jabs in the first fight with Charlo. Just nine. And within that, there were five rounds that he didn’t connect on a single jab. Now, part of that is Castano giving up nearly four inches of height and a total of six inches in reach to Charlo, spelling that he could leave himself vulnerable if he extends for a jab. That being said, he should still contemplate flicking that jab out. If not to the face, at least the body. Doing so will help Castano possibly keep Charlo off balance, further empowering the Argentinian boxer to piece together combo shots with slicing angles like he did last July.
Be vigilant of counterpunches
Castano did an excellent job of bringing the fight to Charlo last July as his aggressiveness and nonstop motor set the tone for the bout. However, he absorbed some heavy-handed damage on the counterpunch end and cannot afford to be so negligent in this rematch, which will see Charlo make the necessary adjustments. Castano must do a better job of anticipating counterpunches from Charlo. Something as small as holding the phone and allowing his gloves to absorb shots could go a long way in this fight where winner takes all.
Unload on overhand right
Charlo tends to dip his left hand to the center of his chest in anticipation of throwing a jab. Castano timed the moments well and came crashing across Charlo’s jaw with an overhand right during their first fight. He needs to do more of that during this rematch. Any time he senses Charlo looking for that left jab, Castano could and should unload on a thunderous overhand right, especially while in close quarters.