Fight night has finally arrived. After months of buildup and trash talk (mostly on the respectful side), Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo will meet in the center of the ring inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The meeting marks the first time in boxing’s four-belt era where two male undisputed champions will clash as Charlo moves up two weight classes to challenge for Alvarez’s crown at 168 pounds.
Alvarez has been one of the biggest stars in boxing for nearly his entire career, moving between weight classes and collecting world championships while staying more active than most of his contemporaries. Some have become concerned over recent fights that Alvarez is on the back side of his career as he has been less impressive than normal.
“I feel great and ready for this fight. Jermell is right, I have nothing to prove. But this time, I have something to prove to him,” Alvarez said. “He never believed in my skills. He’s been calling me out. Now I have the opportunity to show him my skills. And that motivates me. I had a great camp and I’m ready to show everybody my new skills.”
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Charlo has not been nearly as active as Alvarez but has proven himself as a great fighter and collected all four world championships at junior middleweight by beating Brian Castano in his most recent outing.
It’s an intriguing bout featuring two of the best fighters in the world and it is set to go down on Saturday in Las Vegas.
“He’s going to find out that I’m the big Charlo. I am what I say I am,” Charlo said. “Canelo will see that I pack good punching-power, that I have good lateral movement and that I’m a ring general, just like he is. He’ll see that it won’t be a walk in the park. He says he’s going be better in this fight, and it’s the same thing for me.”
CBS Sports will also have live coverage of the fight with round-by-round scoring and blow-by-blow updates to keep you up to date throughout the night.
With so much happening on Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds before we get to our staff predictions and picks for the PPV portion of the festivities.
Alvarez vs. Charlo fight card, odds
|Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (c) -400||Jermell Charlo +310||Undisputed super middleweight title|
|Yordenis Ugas -280||Mario Barrios +230||Welterweight|
|Jesus Ramos -440||Erickson Lubin +340||Junior middleweight|
|Elijah Garcia -365||Armando Resendiz +285||Middleweight|
With such a massive main event on tap, the crew at CBS Sports went ahead with predictions and picks for the main event. Here are your pick makers: Brent Brookhouse (Combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (Combat sports writer, co-host of “Morning Kombat”), Shakiel Mahjouri (Combat sports writer), Michael Mormile (producer) and Brandon Wise (senior editor).
Alvarez vs. Charlo picks, predictions
|Main event pick|
|Brian Campbell||Charlo via majority decision|
|Brent Brookhouse||Alvarez via unanimous decision|
|Shakiel Mahjouri||Alvarez via TKO9|
|Michael Mormile||Alvarez via TKO11|
|Brandon Wise||Charlo via split decision|
Campbell: For as much as the size difference between them has been a major narrative with Charlo moving up two divisions, Alvarez was once considered a small middleweight. Charlo is taller, longer and faster. He also has the right mindset needed to take big chances and rely on a combination of aggression and movement to keep Alvarez guessing. Is the great Canelo past his prime at age 33? Not officially. But Charlo represents the type of challenge Alvarez simply hasn’t faced in a long time. Charlo also has shown a penchant for rising to the occasion when the lights are brightest, particularly when the pressure is on and he’s being counted out. This could be a perfect storm to create a close fight and one that Charlo can win if he lives behind his jab and showcases a sturdy enough chin to take Alvarez deep.
Brookhouse: There are a lot of unknowns here. Is Alvarez in full decline at age 33 or were recent performances a result of injuries? Why couldn’t Alvarez stop John Ryder or a faded version of Golovkin? Has Charlo been active enough to be ready to jump up in both weight and level of competition? Personally, I believe Alvarez that he was unable to really work as he wanted in recent camps because of a hand injury that has now been corrected. That would explain the lack of power, the lack of timing and the lack or stopping power. Charlo is a very good fighter, but he’s also a fighter who went through hell against the likes of Brian Castano and Tony Harrison. Alvarez is a different level from those fighters and he’s comfortable at 168. I think Charlo is tricky enough to make it to the cards and good enough to keep from being blown out but not good enough to get the win.
Mahjouri: Alvarez has not showcased his finishing instincts lately and Charlo has never been stopped. On the surface, that does not bode well for my prediction. But Alvarez will step into the ring for the second time since surgically repairing his left wrist against an opponent moving up two weight classes. Alvarez knocked down John Ryder and broke his nose in his last outing. Ryder certainly is not cut from the same cloth as Charlo, but he is a larger athlete with a solid chin.
Many promising boxers see their knockout percentage taper as the competition level increases. That has not been Charlo’s story. In fact, Charlo has only grown into his power with time. Charlo deserves credit for that but it’s hard to see his power scaling up two divisions against Alvarez’s diamond chin. Charlo has a phenomenal left hook, one that he’ll almost certainly land, but I don’t see him taking out the great Canelo with it at this stage in their respective careers. Charlo needs to pitch a perfect game against Alvarez and I don’t think he has the elite experience to do so. I expect Alvarez to take the lead in the middle frames and either capitalize on a desperate Charlo late or cruise to a decision.
Wise: I’ve only been burned by taking the underdog in a big boxing enough times to know that this is a risky proposition. But this fight feels closer to even than the line suggests and these two feel like they could be the perfect pairing to produce the kind of fight we hoped to see out of Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford. Alvarez has looked slower in his recent outings and whether it’s the wear and tear of fighting so many times as a pro or moving up in weight and taking on heavier punishment, it’s a hard fact to ignore. Charlo, meanwhile, has had time away to get healthy and prepare for an opponent he has called out for so many years. Charlo has the foot and hand speed to bother Alvarez and it will be interesting to see how the judges score the rounds in a decidedly pro Alvarez arena. I’ll side with the dog to get more work done, but as my colleague Brent Brookhouse noted, a draw feels very much in play here.
Who wins Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo, and which prop is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see Peter Kahn’s best bets for Saturday, all from the boxing specialist who has netted his followers a profit of nearly $4,000, and find out.