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Charlo-Benavidez Jr. Fight Billed As Co-Main Event, Charlo Rewarded For Not Defending Title

Charlo-Benavidez Jr. Fight Billed As Co-Main Event featured image
Jermall Charlo's fight with Jose Benavidez Jr. has been billed as the co-main event of the November 25th fight card headlined by David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

The highly-anticipated match between WBC interim champion David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade appears to be heating up, but the event seems to be heading down a slippery slope as Jermall Charlo’s fight with Jose Benavidez Jr. is designated as the co-main event, despite more deserving and significant fights, including a world title bout between Subriel Matias and Shohjahon Ergashev.

While the extreme favoritism towards Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KO’s) has been highlighted numerous times, the WBC and the PBC seem content to continue flaunting their corruption by billing Charlo’s fight with Jose Benavidez Jr. (28-2-1, 19 KO’s) as the co-main event in a 3-minute, 10-round match.

This billing would have been justified had Charlo’s WBC middleweight title been on the line, which he notably has not defended for over two years. However, as revealed in the virtual press conference between the two fighters a couple of weeks ago, the fight is set at a catchweight of 163 lbs, disqualifying the 160 lbs WBC belt from being defended.

Not only has Jermall Charlo avoided any repercussions for not fighting for over two years and denying a more deserving fighter the chance to become a world champion, as The Ring’s Doug Fischer eloquently explained earlier this week, but he gets to hold on to his title in his November 25th comeback while fighting at a higher weight without his WBC belt on the line.

The decision reeks of corruption, given Charlo’s extremely long absence from the ring, only to be given a fight where he will not have to risk anything but his record. Even in the case of a loss to Jose Benavidez Jr., the WBC title is not available to switch hands, allowing Charlo to escape a warranted relinquishment of his title, which he has clearly held on to for too long.

Now, Jermall Charlo is placed as a co-main event participant, which almost appears as a reward given his factual breach of the WBC’s own rules with his lack of title defenses without a determinable just cause for not fighting for two years.

To make matters worse, an actual world title fight is set to take place on the undercard between Puerto Rican IBF super lightweight champion Subriel Matias (19-1, 19 KO’s) and Uzbeki contender Shohjahon Ergashev (23-0, 20 KO’s), two fighters who have worked their way to the top and remained active throughout their careers to pave the way for new opportunities.

Additionally, the bout between WBA super featherweight champion Hector Luis Garcia (16-1, 10 KO’s) and Lamont Roach (23-1, 9 KO’s) could have also qualified as the co-main event, yet this match has been pushed aside in favor of the Charlo-Benavidez Jr. fight.

Though the marketability of Charlo would be a convenient excuse in this case, given he built a name as a two-weight world champion, with no title available, relying on Charlo’s popularity when he has been inactive for over two years seems more like a blatant sign of favoritism rather than a risky move to garner more interest.

It is difficult to come to grips with where the priority lies in boxing, indicating that lessons from the past have not been learned and competitiveness seems to not matter. As sanctioning bodies and promoters continue to prioritize their interests over the sport, boxing will continue to decline, and interest is set to diminish.

There are further fears of how this move might pan out given Jermall Charlo’s twin brother, Jermell Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KO’s), put up one of the most embarrassing performances of the year in his fight with Canelo Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KO’s). Given Jermall Charlo’s long absence and apparent lack of preparedness, billing him as a co-main eventer might not pan out well if he puts up a similar performance as his twin, highlighting how damaging bias can be to the sport.