Jermell Charlo vs. Jorge Cota fight prediction, live stream, card, date, odds, start time
Charlo is looking for vengeance in the form of a late replacement opponent on Sunday night
When fighters unfortunately find themselves in the loss column, they set their sights on the night they can return to get back on track. That is what we'll witness on Sunday night when former WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo returns to the ring after suffering the first loss of his professional career just prior to the year beginning.
The typically brash Charlo (31-1, 15 KOs) still believes he was outright robbed by a trio of judges who awarded Tony Harrison the WBC 154-pound belt in their December title bout. Although Harrison recently pulled out of their scheduled rematch with an ankle injury, Charlo still plans to use his national television showcase in prime time to send a message to the rest of the division.
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Charlo, the 29-year-old twin brother of WBC middleweight titleholder Jermall, will take on the rugged late-replacement Jorge Cota (28-3, 25 KOs) at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (8 p.m. ET, Fox; streaming on fuboTV which you can try for free).
"I chose Jorge because I believe we can make a great fight and we can excite the fans," Charlo said during a recent episode of "PBC: Face to Face" on Fox. "At 154, I believe I'm the best fighter in the world so regardless, if I want to prove that to the world, I have to show everyone at 154.
"We're going to make a highlight with Jorge. I'm hungrier than I've ever been as a boxer."
A native of Mexico, the 31-year-old Cota is fresh off a split decision loss to Jeison Rosario in April and was stopped in his only step-up fight to date in 2017 against Erickson Lubin, a top young prospect whom Charlo knocked out in one round.
Yet despite oddsmakers installing Charlo as the rightful heavy favorite, Cota's reputation is of a warrior that comes to fight. Nicknamed "The Demon," Cota promised Charlo he plans on meeting him in the center of the ring and took issue with Charlo referring to him as just "another victim" entering the fight.
"I invite you to go in there and exchange with me. I'll go ahead and stop at the center of the ring and go blow for blow," Cota said. "I think that many have called me the victim in the ring and the result has been that I became the monster. I am the demon in that ring. When other guys are in there, my punches scare them. I expect this fight will be the same.
"Jorge Cota is a demon and he's the next man who will be fighting Tony Harrison for the WBC title."
While Charlo respects Cota's heart, he didn't hide from the idea that he chose him to make an example out of him to the rest of the division.
"'The Devil' will be defeated, in all aspects of my life. I have the heart of a lion and I've paid my dues in this game," Charlo said. "I don't think he cares about skills, and skills pay the bills. This is boxing. It's not about his history or his will. It's not about anything else but who is the best man in the ring.
"This is going to be the 'Jermell Charlo Show' on Sunday night."
Cota said he watched the Harrison-Charlo fight and believes Harrison landed the cleaner shots and deserved the decision. What he also saw, from his perspective, was a fighter who is potentially vulnerable to pressure. Cota also took inspiration from Andy Ruiz Jr.'s recent upset of unified champion Anthony Joshua to become the first Mexican-American fighter to win a heavyweight title.
"Sometimes talent isn't enough. It takes a combination of things to be great and obtain glory," Cota said. "Jermell is a good boxer. But I think that when he's under pressure, he doesn't know what to do. I'm going to put the pressure on him from the first bell.
Charlo vs. Cota fight card
Jermell Charlo -5000
Jorge Cota +1400
Guillermo Rigondeaux -1100
Julio Ceja +700
Chris Colbert -850
Alberto Machado +525
"Andy Ruiz and I were on the same card in April and he's a great example for all boxers, not just Mexicans. He showed that he could beat the best and do it convincingly. I was very motivated after seeing that. If he can achieve it, I can also do that."
Charlo isn't wrong in his analysis. Not only do pressure fighters bring out the dangerous side of Charlo -- an athletic counter puncher with a big right hand -- it's the only style Cota can employ to hope for any level of success.
The advantages Charlo will hold in speed, technique and possibly even power will be apparent from the outset. Cota's level of success will likely come down to how durable he can be and whether he can get up off the canvas to continue to back Charlo up.
Harrison proved that clever boxing is the Kryptonite to force Charlo to lower his output. Cota simply doesn't have that option. Look for Charlo to make a huge statement in boosting his own confidence entering a rescheduled Harrison rematch later this year.
Pick: Charlo via TKO6
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