By: Sean Crose
WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo got to showcase his impressive skill set in front of a hometown audience on Saturday when he defended his belt against Juan Macias Montiel at the Toyota Center in Houston. The bout, which aired live on Showtime, was seen as essentially being a tuneup for the 31-0 Charlo. The 22-4-2 Montiel, after all, had never faced anyone of the Texan’s caliber. Needless to say, a Montiel win, though certainly not out of the realm of possibility, would be an enormous upset.
Charlo pursued his man carefully in the first, though the two men engaged forcefully at the end of the round. Charlo continued to patiently try to box Montiel in during the second. The defending champion landed stinging shots in the third. Montiel decided to engage. Within a moment’s time, the fight had turned into a slugfest.
Charlo tried picking his shots wisely in the fourth, with some success. The last minute of the round saw each man trading punches. Charlo hurt the challenger early in the fifth. Montiel, however, wouldn’t go down, despite Charlo’s best efforts to make him taste the mat. Montiel got rocked again early in the sixth. Still, Montiel held his ground. Charlo, however, effectively and intelligently banged away. Montiel was tough, but he was getting soundly beaten. He was also rocked again at the end of the round.
Charlo continued the attack throughout the seventh. By the eighth it was well worth wondering if Montiel needed to be saved from himself. With that in mind, Montiel managed to land well by round’s end. Charlo looked like he may have actually been rattled in the ninth. Still, he fired away with brutal precision.
Both men banged away in the tenth. It was clear that Charlo was winning, but Montiel’s heart was extraordinary. The eleventh was another action round. Although he was hurt and way behind on the cards, Montiel would not stop. With each fighter battered and bruised, the bell rang for the twelfth and final round. Charlo fired away with his precise, missile-like punches. And still Montiel came forward. Charlo walked out with a completely fair UD win, but there’s no doubt the man earned his pay on Saturday night.