Photo by Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
Junior Middleweight prospect, Jermell Charlo (23-0, 11 KOs), followed his impressive performance against Gabriel Rosado with a decisive, yet underwhelming win over Charlie Ohto (24-1-1, 16 KOs).
The fight took place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada on the undercard of Adonis Stevenson’s Light Heavyweight title fight with Andrzej Fonfara.
Charlo, of Houston, Texas, was his usual self, consistently throwing his solid jab, landing combinations and circling throughout the ring. He nearly doubled Ohta in jabs landed, 47 to 25–according to CompuBox.
Charlo’s speed was far superior, while Ohta, for the most part, had very little on his punches.
Charlo controlled the first two rounds, keeping Ohta on the outside with counter punches and great footwork. Ohta attempted to go to the body whenever Charlo’s back touched the ropes.
Ohta didn’t waste anytime to create some excitement in the third, as he dropped Charlo with a right cross to the chin 15 seconds into the round. Though this was the first time Charlo had been knocked down in his career, he rose from the canvas well composed and seemingly unhurt.
And he made sure Ohta knew it, throwing and landing power punches immediately afterward and going on to outgun him for the rest of the round.
Once again, Charlo was in control.
By the fourth round, Ohta began to show swelling under his left eye, caused by Charlo’s right hands over Ohta’s weak jab.
Before the fight, Charlo and his camp expressed their desire to score a knockout. Yet when it looked like Charlo could have taken over, he was too complacent with boxing from the outside and scoring easy points.
The last dramatic moments came in the ninth round. Ohta turned things up by attacking Charlo against the ropes. But just as Ohta was building confidence, Charlo checked him with a short left hook that pushed Ohta back to the center of the ring. Charlo followed up with a flurry of straight punches.
He later landed a clear, yet unintentional low blow that brought Ohta down to one knee while grimacing in pain. Charlo was deducted a point by the referee, though he had only received a soft warning earlier in the fight for a low blow. The point deduction was trivial.
Ohta’s frustration was apparent through the remainder of the match.
Charlo cruised to an easy win, fighting going backwards and clinching in the final round. He earned a 12-round unanimous decision, keeping his record perfect.
Fighting with more urgency is necessary if Charlo wants to make a name for himself. Sometimes winning is not enough. One must look impressive during the process.
So what’s next for Charlo?
Trainer Ronnie Shields is pushing for Charlo’s next fight to be a title challenge. Charlo agrees.
There are few viable options for Charlo. Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) holds one of the titles at the weight, but he will probably reschedule his fight with Charlo’s twin brother, Jermall. They were originally schedule to fight on the Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo undercard when Molina’s legal trouble came up, causing the fight to be canceled.
Demetrius Andrade (20-0, 13 KOs) also holds a title in the Junior Middleweight division and is scheduled to fight Brian Rose on June 14, which means the proximity of their fights makes it very possible for them to meet in their next outings. The possibility of this fight happening is bleak because promoters are often reluctant to match young, undefeated up and coming fighters against one another.
Charlo should take the more traditional route and try to get a victory over an ex-champ before he fights current ones. Ishe Smith (26-6, 12 KOs) is an ideal opponent.
He is coming off a bounce back victory on May 2 after losing his title to Molina last year. He is on the decline, yet still demands respect. Making this fight would be easy since Golden Boy Promotions, Charlo’s promoter, and Smith’s promoter Mayweather Promotions have a good working relation.