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For seven rounds, Jermall Charlo pummeled Juan Macias Montiel with a variety sharp punches in front of a hometown audience, nearly stopping him in the sixth.

But in the eighth round, something strange happened. Montiel landed a volley of awkward punches that momentarily stunned Charlo for the first time in his professional career.

This was supposed to be a walkover fight for Charlo [32-0, 22 KO], a defense against an opponent with four defeats on his ledger; the first boxing match headlined by a Houston boxer at Toyota Center in ten and a half years. However, Montiel [22-5-2, 22 KO] isn’t just any Mexican that is brought over to lose. He is part of boxing royalty in Los Mochis, Mexico. His uncle Fernando was a three division world champion, and his gym also produced fellow world champions Jorge Arce and Hugo Cazares. And twenty-two knockouts in twenty-two victories means he carries power in his fists, despite the lackluster opposition.

At first, one wondered what kind of training Montiel did, as he continually switched stances and threw punches from a variety of angles. However, the end of the first round was an epiphany of sorts, as Montiel threw back after Charlo nailed him. The Mexican was not here to lay down.

That mentality did not help him in the next several rounds though, as he was nothing more than a punching bag for Charlo’s accurate, hard punches. Besides the occasional right, Montiel was simply absorbing punishment.

In the fifth and sixth rounds, Montiel was wobbled and referee Jon Schorle could have stopped the bout without any complaints from anyone besides Montiel’s trainer, who seemed to be the bravest person in the arena at that point.

But as aforementioned, Montiel landed a wild combination in the eighth round that startled Charlo. This was a first for Charlo, as he is known for having an iron chin.

This pattern continued in the next two rounds, Charlo would do well from distance for the majority of the round, but Montiel threw an unusual combination from varying angles that momentarily stopped Charlo in his tracks. The man that was on spaghetti legs earlier was now trying to spoil the party.

Charlo boxed well in the last two rounds and controlled them besides a Montiel combination in the eleventh. After twelve rounds, the scores were 118-109, 119-109, and 120-108, but his right eye showed the result of being in a real fight.

The experience was a learning one, as Charlo learned down the stretch not everyone can be knocked out. When he boxed from distance, he was in complete control. However, Montiel took advantage of breaks in punching to get close and throw (and land) punches from the floor to the ceiling. To prepare for such unconventional boxers is impossible, and to fight them can be even harder.

The observation is that Charlo is better served to stay at middleweight for some time, as super middleweights will be even bigger and stronger. One must remember that he started at welterweight, and has taken in time to adapt to each division before moving up. The logical next match would be against Chris Eubank Jr., as Gennady Golovkin is tied up with Ryota Murata, and Demetrius Andrade and Jaime Mungia are signed to rival networks.

But he showed he can sell tickets in his hometown. Though the arena wasn’t totally full, it was mostly occupied on the lower bowl, a remarkable achievement for a guy that was fighting in outdoor bull rings and hotel ballrooms a decade ago.

For Montiel, though he absorbed a beating, his perseverance catapulted his stock as a legitimate contender. A rematch with fellow Mexican Jaime Mungia would be the logical next match, two flawed but hungry young boxers trying to build their names in the boxing world.

After twelve rounds, the scores were 118-109, 119-109, and 120-108, but his right eye showed the result of being in a real fight.

Source: Vikram Birring

www.sports24ghana.com