Former WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell ‘Iron Man’ Charlo 31-1 (15) believes that late-sub Jorge ‘Demonio’ Cota 28-3 (25) is merely a minor roadblock on the road to regaining the world championship.
The 31-year-old Cota of Mexico stepped in to replace Tony ‘Super Bad’ Harrison 28-2 (21) at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada this Sunday night after the reigning WBC 154-pound boss injured his ankle in training.
Detroit’s Harrison, 28, annexed the WBC belt from Charlo last December by scores of 113-115 twice and 112-116, a result the former champion still disputes. The Harrison versus Charlo rematch is expected to be rescheduled for later this year.
“I’m ready to fight. I’ve been ready to fight since they robbed me of my title. I want my belt back and I want every title in this division. This is my moment, and Cota is in my way,” said Charlo, 29, from Houston, Texas.
“I’m always motivated to fight because I love boxing. I want to get in the ring any moment that I can. At the end of the day, I’m here to fight any of the top fighters in this division who will get in there with me.
“I’m thankful for every opportunity that I have to fight. It’s time for me not to just put a show on, but to dominate a guy who thinks he’s going to come in and beat me.
“I’m going to press my action and do anything I have to do to win this fight. If he can hang in there and stand the power and punch output, he can go 12 rounds. I’m not running from anyone.
“I have been going hard in training camp since January. I’ve really been going hard forever. I have a lot to prove and a whole new ambition for this sport. You’re going to see it on Sunday in primetime on FOX.
“The top fighters in the division know what they’re facing in the Charlos. I know (WBA and IBF 154-pound champion) Julian Williams is in-studio, and I’m proud of the way he overcame adversity and did his thing against Jarrett Hurd. He fought that fight the same way that I would have, he just got there first. Just like him, I’m coming back from adversity to prove a point.
“When the Harrison injury happened I just thought, why is this happening to me again? But we have to go through things like this in our careers. The goal hasn’t changed. The road has changed, but we’ll keep going.”
The unranked Cota will be looking to throw a spanner in the works for Charlo’s future plans, insisting he is primed to pull off the upset much like Andy Ruiz Jr did earlier this month when he dethroned unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“They told me three weeks ago about the fight and I knew this was a great opportunity that I was going to take advantage of. I’m going to win and then fight for the world title,” Cota said.
“Andy Ruiz had a gr eat victory and it motivated me a lot heading into this fight. Something similar can happen Sunday with me against Charlo. Ruiz showed the underdog can win, so I hope that Charlo is prepared for Sunday.”
The Sinaloa native, who has knocked out almost 90% of his opponents in winning efforts, believe Charlo is all bark and no bite. Not only that, he says that Harrison was the deserved victor in their world championship fight.
“I thought Tony Harrison won against Jermell. I thought he boxed very intelligently, took Charlo out of his game plan and that allowed him to win,” Cota said.
“I think Jermell is a boxer who talks too much. He was very serious when we filmed our ‘Face To Face’ show and I think he’s a guy who doesn’t back it up. He may talk tough today, but it’s only going to be the two of us in the ring on Sunday.
“We definitely picked it up in training when I got the call about fighting Charlo. We got intense and there was a lot of added motivation. We did everything we needed to do for this fight.”