On Saturday December 21 from the Honda Arena in Ontario, California, bitter rivals Jermell Charlo and Tony Harrison will finally rematch for the WBC Super Welterweight Title after a year-long wait.

Going into their first fight and up until the scorecards, they were cordial and respected each other. Harrison won a unanimous decision, with two judges scoring the bout 115-113 while one had it 116-112.

The decision prompted Harrison to celebrate, while Charlo declared it a robbery. Charlo even mentioned that Harrison shook his hand and admitted that he had lost after the final bell rang. Harrison vehemently denied this claim.

The stage was set for the two to rematch on June 23rd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, but it was canceled due to an ankle injury that Harrison suffered during training. Charlo adamantly stated that Harrison faked the injury so he wouldn’t have to commit to the fight. In stepped Argentinian Jorge Cota as a late replacement.

Jermell proceeded to score a devastating KO in the third with a straight right that had Cota lying flat on the canvas with his head in between the ropes. Harrison was in attendance, wearing a protective boot that indicated his ankle injury was legitimate. After the fight, Charlo stated that the knockout performance was a taste for what Harrison’s fate will be when they meet in the ring.

In November, Charlo and Harrison met face-to-face once again at a press conference in Los Angeles. They talked smack non-stop for 30 minutes, yelling insults over each other. Harrison made fun of Charlo for how emotional he was acting at the podium, while Charlo implied that Harrison was a phony champion who would get knocked out on December 21st. Charlo also reiterated that Harrison’s injury, which had canceled the originally slated rematch, was fabricated. Harrison followed up Charlo’s insults by making up a humorous fictional story.

The sarcastic account was that he had contacted promoter Tom Brown about planning a “falsified” injury in order to get into Charlo’s head. Mediators later came in to stop the verbal sparring, or else the press conference wouldn’t end.

The verbal altercations will ramp up again during fight week, and they won’t stop until the two actually fight each other. Their first match was close and difficult to score. Charlo came forward, loading up on punches and landing the heavier shots. Harrison was cautious and selective.

He countered and utilized his jab to prevent Charlo’s offense. This time, both fighters declare that they want a knockout. Charlo is fuming, while Harrison is more reserved and comical.

Harrison is proud of representing Detroit and being a protege of the late Hall-of-Fame trainer Emanuel Steward. Charlo is ashamed that Harrison has the WBC belt, and wants Harrison to be humbled in the rematch. Contentious rivalries and rematches are always fun for the boxing fan, and this one will surely entertain.

Source: Max Warren