Jermell Charlo vs. Vanes Martirosyan
The co-feature on Saturday’s Showtime card headlined by Gary Russell Jr. and Jhonny Gonzalez pits undefeated Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (25-0, 11 KOs) against Vanes “Nightmare” Martirosyan (35-1-1, 21 KOs) in a bout that’s sure to catapult the winner to contender status in the super welterweight division.
Armenian born Californian Martirosyan and Texas’ Charlo have a mutual respect for each other that stems from their early years growing up in the sport together which included some training and sparring sessions. During this week’s conference call they each recalled those experiences.
“I grew up with him, at least two or three years with Vanes, you know, and his family, his people, you know? So, I know — we know each other well.” Said Charlo
“We’ve sparred with each other several times. I can’t really say how often. I know it was back when we were a little bit younger. I was younger, still a little boy growing up into a man. So, right now, I don’t even think about how it was, what it was about, or how training was when we were training together. I wasn’t even 19 — I was 17, 16, 17, 18, I mean, those ages. Here, we face each other because we’re both at the top, and that’s what happens when you’re in the same division. Never had anything personal or different to say about him, it’s just work.”
As Martirosyan recalled,
“I remember when we used to train. It was good training. We were always in competition — me, him and his brother. We used to go running at Memorial Park every day, and we’d try to see who’d finish the lap first. It was always competition between us — running and training or what-not. But it was nothing but love and I respect him, his father, and his trainer, Ronnie Shields. They’ve been good people to me. But Saturday night, he’s going to be my enemy in the ring. For now, outside the ring, I respect everybody. Once we step in the ring, it’s a totally different story.”
In his career, if Charlo is not stopping his opponents he is out boxing them pretty handily. He had three fights in 2014; all unanimous decision wins including one over very tough out Gabriel Rosado. His last fight in December was a common opponent that he shares with Martirosyan, Mario Alberto Lozano. Both fighters beat Lozano by wide unanimous decision margins, the only difference being Martirosyan had a knock down of Lozano in their bout.
Charlo feels he is ready to increase his completion with Martirosyan,
“Training’s been great. Every time I step in the ring, every time I get ready for a fight, I feel like just there’s never been a time where I repeat myself or do something the same. I’ve been learning from all my past mistakes. Every win I’m still learning from so training camp has been good, trainer’s Ronnie Shields, Danny Arnold.
“I opened my own gym, so I get a little late night extra hours in when I want to. And, I want to fight with my twin brother. We’re pushing to fight. I can’t wait to fight. Just like Vanes, he’s hungry, he’s ready. I’m I’m ready.”
Martirosyan has a stronger resume than Charlo having fought the better competition. In 2012, a technical draw with Erislandy Lara, in 2013 a close split decision loss to Demetrius Andrade, (a fight that many thought Martirosyan had won and he also had Andrade down in the first round), and he closed out last year with a win a unanimous win over Willie Nelson.
“Jermell is a good boxer, but he’s a basic boxer. He’s done well with guys that he’s supposed to look good against. There are some guys that he should’ve knocked out that he didn’t. If he hits me I will hit him right back and we’ll see how he handles that. “If I stick to my game plan and everything goes as planned, I will say that it will be an easy fight. We have a B and a C plan if the fight doesn’t go exactly as planned. “All I can do is prepare and go out there and win the fight. After I lost my fight to Demetrius Andrade I felt like a loser. I can’t lose this fight; I’d rather die than go out there and lose again.” Said Martirosyan.
In some aspects, Martirosyan and Charlo mirror each other as they both utilize slick movement, active jabs, and work high and low. Martirosyan likely owns slight edges in power and speed but is a slower starter. This should be a boxing purist’s delight as it should be one of the better technical boxing matches seen in a while.
During this week’s conference call, both fighters were asked what a win would mean for them going forward catapulting them into title contention.
“You know, winning this fight to me — a world title would be ideal. A world title is important. I want to fight for a world title. I want the world title. That’s every boxer’s dream and envision whenever they’re young. Fighting for the world title matters and all this extra stuff, but if I’m here building my name and building my brand, that’s just as important. Being a household name throughout the World Boxing Council, everything. That matters to me.” Said Charlo
“The fight, this fight — I’d say like a lot of the champions that are champions right now in our weight class, most of them just run their mouth, starting with Andrade. A fight like this for me and Jermell, it’s such a big fight for me, you know, but it’s not only for us. I mean, it’s for the fans. The fans are in, and it’s great.”
I mean, you rarely get to see contenders like me and Jermell wanting to step up and fight each other. You know, usually, people will get up to the rankings like we are, they just want to just talk a lot of bad stuff about the champions to get the world title fight. But, you know, you rarely get to see contenders like that, you know, No. 1 and No. 2 fighting each other when, you know they really want to fight each other and they both said yes to the fight. So, it’s a big fight, but I feel like, you know, we’re all gonna be — we’re gonna do our best, and I feel like the fans are gonna be the winners for this fight.”
Portions of this article contributed to BTG.