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Why is Jermell Charlo not getting pound for pound respect?

Undisputed light middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo remains low on boxing’s pound for pound list, and he pulled no punches when asked about it

Undisputed light middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo remains low on boxing’s pound for pound list, and he pulled no punches when asked about it

Jermell Charlo is the undisputed, fully unified light middleweight champion, holding the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO titles since knocking out the previously unbeaten Brian Castano back in May.

He is 35-1-1, with the only blemishes on his record a tight decision loss to Tony Harrison in 2018 and a split decision draw to Castano in 2021. He avenged both of them with knockouts the following year.

He first popped his head up on the pound for pound list at number ten on the back of that title defense in May, only to see his name stagnate at the bottom of the most recent edition. In a promotional press conference ahead of January’s clash with Tim Tszyu in Las Vegas, Charlo was asked about this slight and he did not mince his words.

What I possess is just undeniable,” replied Charlo. “It’s just, I’m very thankful. I’m not even high-horsing me up. You know what I’m saying? I walk around like a normal person that’s very humble at the end of the day, cuz you know, we all come to fight, we all come to win. Much respect to any boxer getting in that ring. But I just know that I’m different. You know, I’m different from anybody that’s in that top pound-for-pound. You know, I don’t get the respect I deserve, and I keep that energy. You know what I mean?”

“And I float that whole way through this, without me getting the respect that I deserve. That’s why I’m still in this game. I made millions of dollars in boxing, you know, multi-millions of dollars in boxing. So, we ain’t worried about that. We ain’t worried about a bunch of things. You know, what they got on they mind is completely not the same as what I got on my mind. Simple as that.”

BoxingScene.com places Charlo at number seven, while The Ring slates him at number nine, but it was for ESPN.com that most of the champ’s venom was directed. They dropped him from the top ten entirely.

I guess in the pound-for-pound, you gotta be liked, you know?” spat Charlo. “And you gotta be on the other side of the river and the road. You gotta be with certain people. You know, I fought on ESPN when I was younger, coming up in the game, and made it to pay-per-views and made it to different shows and did so many amazing things outside of boxing.

“I don’t know what you need to do. I don’t know who need to be writing this stuff. But I’m almost guaranteed just those people got a personal way that they feel about me. And I’m not here to make you happy. I got a woman to make happy. I ain’t here to making y’all happy or making no boxing reporter happy.”

With boxing famously dubbed “the red-light district of the sports world”, accusations of favoritism and nepotism are hardly new revelations. But to have a champion of Charlo’s stature say it so bluntly in front of the world’s media has got to sting a broadcaster like ESPN.

Heading into the match with mandatory challenger Tszyu as the 3-1 favorite, Jermell will let his hands do the talking and justify his pound for pound place, or perhaps even prove them all wrong.