Boxing: Charlo Twins Make History & Lara Gets His Revenge

By Joseph Santoliquito May 21, 2016
It was just under four years in the making, and it was a rematch Cuban expatriate southpaw Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan had been waiting for. Their first fight in November 2012 was foul plagued. It left some ugly blood between them.

This time, they stayed within six inches of each other and they seemed to instinctively know what the other would do Saturday night on Showtime’s “Championship Boxing” junior middleweight tripleheader from the Chelsea Ballroom, in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Lara, with a hematoma forming over his left eye, successfully defended the WBA title for the third time, joining the victory circle with the history-making Charlo brothers, Jermell and Jermall, the brothers from Houston who became the first twins to hold major world titles in the same weight class. Jermell won the vacant WBC junior middleweight title, while Jermall defended the IBF junior middleweight title.

In the main event, Lara (23-2-2 13 KOs) used great footwork and defense, relying on pot shots offensively to win. Lara wasn’t very busy, though was accurate. Lara is tough to hit, but he did pay a terrible price from the left hooks Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs) landed to the body, especially to the kidney area. Some hooks, however, came on the borderline.

Apparently, his shots fell so low that referee Vic Drakulich took a point from Martirosyan at 2:30 of the 11th round for a low blow. It was a controversial call, because the right Martirosyan landed came right on Lara’s waistline.

Lara was awarded decisions by judge Steve Weisfeld, who gave it to Lara, 115-112, and judges Adalaide Byrd and Patricia Morse Jarman, who each had Lara winning 116-111. Punch stats bore out Lara’s dominance in landing 162 of 424 total shots (38%) to Martirosyan’s 94 of 474 (20%). Lara’s power shots were particularly accurate. He connected on 99 of 166 (60%), while Martirosyan landed 78 of 333 power shots (23%).

Martirosyan wasn’t very effective with the jab (16 of 141-11%), while Lara was markedly better (63 of 258-24%).

When asked if the head butts and borderline shots bothering him, Lara shrugged it off, saying, “This is normal, this is boxing and low blows happen and also head butts. I’m a very intelligent fighter and there was no doubt I would win.”

Martirosyan will try to regroup. He of course thought he won.

“I was chasing him all night,” Vanes said. “I thought I did enough to win. I thought I did more than him. I never ducked anyone. I fought Lara when no one else would. I’m a fighter and whenever they give me the call, I’m ready to go.”

Jermell Charlo wasn’t holding up his end of the deal. John Jackson befuddled him, moving in and out, going against everything he usually did.

Jermell showed great patience and made history in the eighth, when he stopped Jackson to win the vacant WBC junior middleweight title. Jermell and Jermall become the only twins to ever possess major titles in the same weight class. Thai twins Khaosai Galaxy (junior bantamweight) and Khaokor Galaxy (bantamweight) temporarily held world titles in different weight classes in the late 1980s.

It was a shaky journey getting there.

Jackson won the first two rounds, going against everything Jermell had prepared for. Jackson showed more head movement and defense than he had in his previous fights, though Jermell began finding some range in the third round, which was, arguably, Jermell’s first round he won.

But Jackson came back with a left hook to Jermell’s liver in the fourth. Each time Jermell (28-0, 13 KOs) was looking for Jackson, he wasn’t there. Jermell did land a left uppercut, though still, he was throwing one punch at a time. Jackson countered Jermell very well, and after four rounds, it was Jackson, the son of Julian “The Hawk” Jackson, who was considered one of the most feared punchers in the late-1980s, up 3-1.

In the fifth round, Jermell, possibly sensing the fight begin to slip away, tagged Jackson with a stinging left hook that. Jackson (20-3, 15 KOs) danced his way out of harm’s way in the first six rounds. Jackson stayed on his toes, and he dipped and dropped his left to the body.

Halfway through the fight, however, there was still some hovering doubt as to what the judges were seeing. Would they give Jackson credit for his defense and boxing, or would they award Jermell for the heavier shots.

After seven rounds, Jackson appeared to be the Side-B spoiler, winning 5-2 after seven.

That changed quickly in the eighth. Jermell connected with a right on the top of Jackson’s head. That seemed to put Jackson in a funk. He stopped fighting, and put his left hand up to his face. Jermell didn’t stop fighting. He landed two straight left hooks and Jackson went down.

Referee Tony Weeks quickly stepped in as Jermell hovered over the downed Jackson and waved it over at :51 of the eighth.

Here’s the deal: Judges Burt Clements, Glenn Feldman and Dave Moretti all had Jackson ahead, 69-65, giving Jermell just the fifth round.

“I was behind,” Jermell admitted. “It’s history—we did it, a lot of fighters don’t. I’m waiting for my brother next. I train hard. We pushed ourselves through camp. It had to happen. He was boxing and moving around a lot. I had to make an adjustment and I did. I started getting closer, and when he started slowing down, I was able to catch him with the shot that I needed. I knew where I was.”

Though the judges’ eye test had Jackson winning 6-1 after seven, Jermell connected on 46 of 203 total punches (23%) to Jackson’s 38-224 (175). Jermell landed 30 of 89 power shots (34%) to Jackson’s 28-122 (23%).

“His punch dazed me, but I wasn’t knocked out,” Jackson admitted. “I felt like I was winning the fight and I got caught. I surprised him. I switched it up on him and I fell short.”

Jermall Charlo successfully defended the IBF junior middleweight title with a unanimous decision over Austin Trout, keeping the Charlo twin’s history-making night complete.

It looked close and the judges scored it that way.

Judge John McKaie had 115-113, while judges Robert Hoyle and Glenn Trowbridge each scored it 116-112.

It’s the first time Jermall (24-0, 18 KOs) went 12 rounds.

“It wasn’t a struggle, it was an experience,” Jermall said. “Austin Trout is a hell of a fight. He’s a beast. I set the right hand up behind the jab. I do want to say making 154 wasn’t as bad as everyone tried to make it.”

Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) was understandably disappointed.

“I felt I did enough to win,” Trout said. “They won’t ever give me a close decision. I can’t make excuses. I’ll live to fight another day.”

Joseph Santoliquito is the president of the Boxing Writer's Association of America and a frequent contributor to Sherdog.com's mixed martial arts and boxing coverage. His archive can be found here.

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