Jermall Charlo, like twin brother and unified Super Welterweight champion, Jermell is at the top of his game and is bound for a career-defining 2021.
Having reigned as IBF Super Welterweight champion, Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) has continued his rich vein of form at 160lbs, making three defences of his WBC Middleweight title, having been elevated from Interim holder in 2019, after the WBC made Canelo Alvarez their Franchise champion.
The unbeaten 30-year-old stepped up to the plate in September, defending his crown on a PPV doubleheader with his brother, who became a three-belt holder with victory over Jeison Rosairo.
‘Hitman’ passed the gut check in August, securing a unanimous decision victory over Sergey Derevyanchenko, who proved his value almost a year earlier in pushing Gennady Golovkin to the brink, in a fight many thought he had edged.
Backed by 2020 BWAA Trainer of the Year nominee, Derrick James who guided Errol Spence Jr to a dominant victory over Danny Garcia in his comeback fight from a horrific car crash, the two-weight world champion will continue to be a force in the 160lbs division, as he enters his prime years.
The 30-year-old has plenty of options in a thriving scene and will aim to prove himself as the number one Middleweight in world boxing or otherwise move up to Super Middleweight where there are also a number of potential fights for him:
Ryota Murata is an appealing option for ‘Hitman’ after he was elevated to WBA ‘Super’ champion last month, with Canelo Alvarez vacating the strap.
The 35-year-old is a two-time WBA ‘Regular’ champion, having reclaimed his belt from Rob Brant in a two round stoppage victory, after losing his title on points almost nine months earlier.
The Japanese Olympic Gold medalist is keen for a unification battle, leaving Charlo and Gennady Golovkin as his most realistic immediate options, with WBO titlist Demetrius Andrade likely to face mandatory challenger Liam Williams next.
“I take it positively, as it will give me a better shot at a title unification bout with a champion from another organization,” he said when he was elevated to ‘Super’ champion.
Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) is the least experienced belt holder, but carries great pedigree and has knockout power, although Charlo would be a big favourite.
Despite being with Top Rank and with the American signed with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, a deal should still be within reach, even if it was to go to a purse bid.
Chris Eubank Jr
Chris Eubank Jr is looking to stamp his mark on the division and is arguably the biggest name in the division without a world title.
The 31-year-old, who signed a promotional deal with Team Sauerland last month, holds the WBA Interim title, which he claimed after Matt Korobov suffered a shoulder injury in the second round of their contest last December.
The Brit needs to be active and already named Liam Williams and Kell Brook as potential “warm-up” bouts, although he is also determined to build on the legacy of his father and two-weight world champion, Chris Eubank Sr, by fighting the champions in the division.
“I want all the champions – Murata, Charlo, Andrade, Golovkin – put me in the ring with any of them. I only want to fight the best. This is my time,” Eubank Jr said after signing with Team Sauerland.
His promoters, Kalle and Nisse Sauerland appear to share that vision and a bout with Charlo would be a lucrative showdown, with Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) an established name globally, coupled with the fact that the pair are excellent self-promoters, making it a rather straightforward sell.
It remains to be seen if Eubank Jr will target Murata first, though and look to become full champion, making for a unification clash and a bigger fight with Charlo, which would no doubt be an all-action affair.
With Canelo Alvarez plying his trade at 168lbs for now, Gennady Golovkin is the undoubted marquee name at 160lbs.
‘GGG’ made a record-breaking 21st Middleweight title defence after dispatching the tough, but ultimately outmatched Kamil Szeremeta in seven rounds to retain his IBF crown, a night before his rival Alvarez saw off Callum Smith to become unified WBA ‘Super’, WBC and Ring Magazine Super Middleweight champion.
A trilogy seems off the cards for now, despite two gripping fights, the second of which handed the Kazakh great a first professional loss.
The 38-year-old may not carry the same fearsome reputation he held prior to his battles with the Mexican, which saw him power through the division, however Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) remains a serious challenge to anyone and has devastating power even if his legs are not as fast as they once were.
‘Triple G’ has the right to a voluntary defence next, with Szeremeta his mandatory and a clash with Charlo would represent the chance to prove any doubters over his advancing age and would be a much-anticipated showdown, especially in the USA.
Golovkin appears to be in talks with undefeated Mexican, Jaime Munguia for a May meeting, which seems easier to make with both men fighting on DAZN, whilst ‘Hitman’ generally fights on FOX or SHOWTIME, as a result of his deal with PBC.
If a bout can me made, it would be intriguing to see how Golovkin deals with the younger, quicker man and whether his experience and power prove crucial.
If Charlo is unable to seal a legacy-defining fight at 160lbs, he may look to move up to 168lbs to challenge former WBC Super Middleweight titlist David Benavidez.
Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) lost his title on the scales ahead of his bout with Roamer Alexis Angulo in August after weighing in just over two pounds above the limit and was subsequently stripped of his belt.
The 22-year-old has been vocal in calling out his compatriot and admits he would gladly face him should he overcome Ronald Ellis on March 13 and believes it would be a more entertaining fight than a proposed clash with long-standing rival and IBF champion, Caleb Plant.
“I feel like me and Charlo would be a more exciting fight than me and Caleb Plant, to be honest with you,” the 24-year-old told BoxingScene.com.
“Both of us are undefeated and both of us got power. We both know that each man could hurt each other at any given time.
“So, I’m extremely open to that fight. You know, I hope it happens. But first I’ve gotta take care of my job, my fight March 13th.”
Benavidez says he’s heard that Charlo is looking to move up in weight and with their pair both signed with PBC, this seems like a natural fight to make.