Jermall Charlo Continues to Contradict Himself Over Fighting David Benavidez
For the past two years, the boxing public has drooled over the notion of a showdown between WBC middleweight champion Jermall “Hit Man” Charlo (32-0, 22 KO’s) and two-time super middleweight champion David “Red Flag” Benavidez (26-0, 23 KO’s). Sadly however, after breathing life into the potential fight himself, Charlo has done nothing but evade the battle. Over the years, Hit Man has said he won’t fight Red Flag because he was too young, had to be vaccinated and because he was too rich to face the dangerous foe.
One of his more regularly used excuses is saying that Benavidez brings nothing to the table. This is odd given that Benavidez, as stated earlier, is a two-time champion, remains undefeated and is ranked #2 (WBO). Furthermore, in his last prizefight, Red Flag became the Interim WBC super middleweight champion by stopping former champion David Lemieux in the third round.
So why Charlo continues to pretend that a match with Benavidez has no merit is beyond confusing. Even worse, Charlo recently had his showdown with Maciej Sulecki postponed due to a back injury he acquired. True, Sulecki is ranked #5 (WBC) but has never challenged for a full world title and lost his biggest matches to Daniel Jacobs and Demetrius Andrade. More importantly, absolutely no one is calling for Sulecki to face Charlo or anyone of note for that matter.
MAKE IT MAKE SENSE
Given this nonsensical background, its increasingly frustrating to hear Charlo persist with these long-debunked excuses. Its even more confusing when he consistently contradicts himself when doing so. Such was the case in a recent interview that he supplied to the Brian Custer on the Last Stand Podcast. Here Custer inquired why after a great deal of talk there was no fight made with: Canelo Alvarez, David Benavidez, Caleb Plant, Jaime Munguia and Demetrius Andrade.
“Canelo turned the opportunity down […] Benavidez don’t have nothing to offer. He don’t have no belt or nothing and that was me moving up outside of my weight class when I could be fighting for my belt.”
True, it’s no fault of his own that Canelo turned down the belt. Yet, it there are questionable parallels between Munguia and Benavidez, and Charlo expressed interest in the former. Munguia is equally beltless and has been accused of ducking the best for years himself. However, he is more appealing than an undefeated two-time champion that most believe is at the top of his weight class?
HOT AIR MACHINE
The pinnacle of frustration came when Benavidez was brought up again. Not only did he contradict earlier comments in the same interview, he flat-out admitted that there was nothing preventing the fight from happening. Well nothing outside of his own unwillingness!
“No one is at fault, we both have the same handlers. When it makes sense, it’ll happen! Fans, be patient! I want the fight, so the fight is going to happen!”
None of that statement adds up. Either Charlo wants the fight because it is interesting or Red Flag has nothing to offer. It can’t be both. The fans have already been patiently waiting for two years! Team Benavidez has repeatedly stated they want the fight next. Charlo just said himself that there are no political or promotional hindrances and the fans have been demanding that Hit Man step up his level of opposition.
Lastly, no matter what metric you want to use, i.e. past accomplishments, the rankings or popularity with the fans, there is no way to make the argument that Sulecki trumps Benavidez as a more appealing opponent. Said to say, if now is not the right time, when is?! Unfortunately, given his unyielding commitment to making these irrational statements and avoiding the best fights available, there is no reason to believe this will change in the near future. Let’s just hope that we are wrong about that.
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By: Bakari Simpson