Twin brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo won their first world titles in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Stunning knockouts in 2017 signaled they’re ready for more.
Houston-based twin brothers, Jermall and Jermell Charlo, possess the type of boxing skill sets to make quite a name for themselves in the sport. The two men paid their dues, maintained their unblemished records as they climbed the international rankings, steadily improved at their craft, won world titles and now stand on the cusp of achieving real boxing super stardom.
With that stardom usually comes the opportunity to realize lucrative fight purses. However, are six-figure paydays going to elude them because of the perception of outright villainy?
Over the final act of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s illustrious 20-year career, Mayweather’s ‘Money May’ persona often cast the unbeaten 5-division world champion as the “bad guy” but not definitively a villain.
The Charlos’ emotionally driven post-fight celebrations featuring a knocked out opponent on the canvas as the backdrop isn’t unusual or unacceptable for boxing, but are these talented young fighters ignoring how to fully finesse these displays of brutality into marquee fights with the commensurate paydays?
If the two are acting out of frustration, that is somewhat understandable. The oldest brother Jermall held the Super Welterweight division’s IBF title, but exited the division to pursue achievements at middleweight instead of opting to wait around for a chance to unify titles – ideally with new money man Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Perhaps he was well aware that the call from Golden Boy Promotions was never happening.
Younger brother Jermell recently stopped Erickson Lubin in the first round of their bout, but before doing so he publicly questioned whether Lubin should have even been in the ring with him after just 18 fights – without a victory over a noteworthy opponent. Jermall expressed similar doubts about the legitimacy of challenger Julian Williams, his final opponent before moving up to middleweight.
Maybe the Charlos were right in both instances.
Jermell stopped Lubin with an electrifying set-up combination at 2:41 of the first round. After Williams regained his confidence after being down in round two, Jermall finally adjusted to the Philly native’s in-and-out attack in the fifth round, and connected with a split-second response punch that led to the eventual stoppage. The Charlos, as a team, spoke dismissively of Lubin after the fight and mocked the young southpaw, but lingering after effects of the knockout’s suddenness appeared to please the shocked crowd at Barclays. Jermall’s actions after his defeat of Williams resulted in sustained booing, when he motioned away J Rock before he fully entered the Charlo corner to exchange the typical post-fight display of good sportsmanship.
The sound bites and optics from both of these performances spurred questions of the Charlo brothers’ humility. Boxing is a combat sport that features full-on brutality, but there are unwritten expectations of decorum before fighters are given the final fight instructions from the ref, as well as after the final bell.
The odd thing here is the Charlos have a bit of Drake thing doing on here. Yes, the rapper from Toronto with strong Houston ties. Similar to Drake the Charlos are highly talented in what they do, and they’re starting to regularly finish disputes with devastating power. But, in their post-fight interviews they’re explaining how critics either doubted them, or were coming for them. Being dominant at what one does is such a difficult existence.
With that said, now that two fighters are rapidly becoming great draws a serious question becomes: Will people tune in to see them lose, or will they just tune them out because they’ve grown too ornery? This is boxing, so it’s a good chance the twins would have to do something really extreme. But, since luring the big names into a matchup has been difficult, wouldn’t it be better for business right now to engender widespread love from boxing fans so that there are more voices than theirs calling for bouts with Alvarez and Golovkin?
It took a while, but Mayweather figured out what worked for him financially, and he walked away from the game with career earnings that may never be surpassed. Mike Tyson, after winning his first world title at 20 years old 1986, used his raw aggression and game-changing power to earn over a few hundred million dollars at the height of his career.
Chances are the Charlo brothers figure this thing out, and perhaps their unbridled intensity will remain a key component of their success. It’s long been said that last is where the good guys always finish, so when it comes to these two cats, we’ll likely just have to continue to deal with their pride.
All photos by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing
*Title “There Are No Pacts Between Lions And Men” from the movie Troy (2004)