Jermall Charlo hasn't struggled much in his 31 trips to the ring as a professional. Based on the odds for Charlo's fight with Juan Macias Montiel on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, Showtime), Charlo is expected to keep his undefeated record in front of a hometown crowd at Toyota Center in Houston.
Charlo is the heavy favorite coming into the fight, having proven himself as an elite fighter during his lengthy reign as WBC middleweight champion. Montiel has stumbled in other attempts to step up in competition, but he is riding a four-fight unbeaten streak, going 3-0-1 since a second-round knockout loss to Jaime Munguia in February 2017.
The bigger story coming into the fight may be Charlo's attempt to avoid disaster while trying to set up the biggest fight of his career.
After Canelo Alvarez's stoppage win over Billy Joe Saunders, boxing's biggest star seemed open to a potential fight with Charlo, though a bout with Caleb Plant to unify all four world titles at super middleweight seems the top priority for Alvarez. That means taking care of business against Montiel and holding his place in line could set up a huge payday for Charlo in late 2021 or early 2022.
"I'm down. I'll fight Canelo," Charlo told DAZN in May. "Right now, that's what everybody keeps talking about -- 'Canelo, Canelo, Canelo. Well, shit, where he at? I'm here. I got the WBC [title]. What are we going to do?
"We could unify. We could go to a catchweight, fight 10 rounds. I'm down to do whatever they want to do. I'm a boxer, I'm a man at the end of the day. So, Canelo can get that work, too."
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Montiel does bring power to the ring, giving him the proverbial "puncher's chance" to score a massive upset. All 22 of Montiel's wins have come by knockout, including his most recent victory, a first-round stoppage of James Kirkland.
"Montiel is a pressure fighter who fights from both stances," Charlo said while sizing up his opponent. "He's strong with both hands and he's going to try to fight fire with fire. Bring on the power. I want the power. He better be as strong as he's talking. I want to feel the power. I'll show you what I do with the power."
Elsewhere on the card, a pair of 122-pound contenders look to get back on track when Angelo Leo takes on Aaron Alameda in the co-main event of this tripleheader. Leo is coming off the first loss of his pro career when he dropped the WBO super bantamweight crown to Stephen Fulton in January. Prior to that, Leo amassed 20 straight victories with nine knockouts. Alameda, meanwhile, also suffered his first loss in his most recent outing, dropping a decision to Luis Nery in an attempt to claim the WBC title. Alameda had 25 wins with 13 knockouts before that defeat.
Kicking off the action is a featured bout at lightweight between Isaac Cruz Gonzalez and Francisco Vargas. Gonzalez owns a 21-1-1 record in his career with the lone loss coming in 2016 when he was still developing as a prospect. He's a powerhouse for the division as well with 15 knockouts in his burgeoning career. Vargas is no slouch, though, as he's only lost twice in 31 professional fights, both coming at the hands of Miguel Berchelt.
Below you can have a look at the fight card set for Saturday, with odds provided via William Hill Sportsbook.
Charlo vs. Montiel card, odds
Jermall Charlo (c) -4000
Juan Macias Montiel +1500
WBC middleweight championship
Angelo Leo -240
Aaron Alameda +200
Isaac Cruz Gonzalez -550
Francisco Vargas +400
- Date: June 19 | Location: Virgin Hotels -- Las Vegas
- Start time: 9 p.m. ET | How to watch: Showtime | Stream: Showtime.com or the Showtime App
There's no real mystery to the fight. Montiel is a less talented fighter who stumbles in taking steps up and also has faltered against mid-tier opponents. Charlo isn't likely to fall against an opponent who has one path to victory in attempting to land one big punch. This sets up as the kind of fight where Charlo gathers information for a round before finishing sometime in the first quarter of the fight. Pick: Charlo via KO3