Scott Christ (42-13-2)
Jermell Charlo’s going to lose rounds in this fight. He loses rounds in a lot of fights. Go back deep, go back years. He lost rounds against Vanes Martirosyan, lost rounds against John Jackson, lost rounds against Austin Trout and Tony Harrison (twice) and Jeison Rosario. He lost rounds to Jorge Cota, but he got him Cota out in three, just like he got Jackson out in eight, in a fight where Jackson was up 69-64 across the board.
Charlo does not usually dominate against better foes, but he also has some highlight reel finishes, and he’s a significantly bigger puncher than his KO rate (18 KOs in 34 wins) would lead you to believe. Castano, though, is a tough opponent for him; Castano has mixed it at high level and done well, with solid, quality wins over Michel Soro and Patrick Teixeira, and a tough draw with Erislandy Lara.
I do think Castano can win this fight legitimately, and I also think — because judges are not always in love with Jermell’s style — that if this goes to the cards, it could get funky for Team Charlo. I’m going to pick Jermell to edge this, and I’ll go on the limb and say the scoring will be fair, and that Jermell will have done enough. Castano is a real threat, though. Charlo UD-12
Wil Esco (46-9-2)
Let’s just cut right to the chase, Jermell Charlo vs Brian Castano is a fantastic fight, a logical one to be made, and a fight that carries all the significance to boot. Boxing needs more fights like this.
That said, I’m not really going to waver too much in my belief that Charlo is just a better, more well-rounded fighter than Castano. Castano is a good puncher and pressure fighter, but I think his style is a little too one=dimensional for a fighter like Charlo, who’s going to prepare himself to land hard, thudding shots as Castano tries to walk him down. I do think Castano will get his licks in but I think his aggression could play against him as he leaves himself open for some return fire, which I think is almost inevitable. God help us for the banter we’ll surely all get in the aftermath, but I think Lil’ Charlo makes a statement in this outing, stopping Castano to become undisputed junior middleweight champion of the world. Charlo TKO-10
Patrick L. Stumberg (45-10-2)
Of all the feasible four-belt unifications on the horizon, this strikes me as one of if not the closest. Charlo and Castano are unquestionably #1 and #2 at the weight and have proven themselves against elite competition; I could easily see either man walking away with all four titles.
The deciding factor here is whether Castano can withstand Charlo’s power. Though adept with the jab and possessing quite a bit of height and reach on Castano, Charlo isn’t immune to pressure, and he has a bad habit of putting too much behind his power shots. Castano, a marvelous infighter, has the craft and volume to, if not stop Charlo in the pocket, then at least overwhelm him and muzzle his offense. He just has to be able to tank the heavy firepower coming back his way.
Charlo’s development from underwhelming decision machine into ferociously consistent knockout artist remains astonishing, and he’s proven time and again that he can lamp anyone under 160. Still, I really do think Castano has the style to give him fits. Eh, what the hell; haven’t stuck my neck out in a while. Castano SD-12
And the staff winner is…