On a star-studded evening at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the co-main event of David Benavidez vs. Demetrius Andrade, Jermall “Hit Man” Charlo and Jose “Merciless” Benavidez Jr. enthralled boxing enthusiasts in a captivating showdown. Charlo, the WBC middleweight champion, marked his return to the ring with a triumphant performance, asserting his dominance over Benavidez Jr. through ten intense rounds.
Charlo, at 33, stepped back into the ring after a significant hiatus of 29 months, demonstrating not just his physical prowess but also his mental fortitude. In the postfight press conference, Charlo expressed a deep sense of satisfaction, acknowledging the challenges he overcame. “Thanks for standing by my side,” he said, reflecting on his journey. “It’s hard to explain what happened, but happy I went through what I went through.” This statement encapsulates the essence of his triumphant return – a mix of gratitude and hard-earned pride.
The bout, however, was not without its controversies. Charlo entered the fight having missed the catchweight limit by 3.4 pounds – a factor that could have potentially impacted the dynamics of the match. Yet, despite this, his performance suggested that the outcome would have been the same even with the additional weight. Charlo’s boxing skills shone through, as he displayed a level of expertise and strategy that was notably superior to his opponent.
Benavidez Jr., 31, found himself struggling right from the onset. Charlo’s powerful and precise punches set the tone for the evening. From the first round, where Charlo landed a vicious blow, Benavidez Jr. was put on the defensive, forced to adapt a more cautious approach. He sought opportunities to counter, but Charlo’s relentless assault and strategic maneuvers left little room for Benavidez Jr. to mount a significant offense.
As the rounds progressed, Charlo’s mastery of the sport was evident. He dictated the pace of the fight, showcasing an impressive combination of speed, power, and tactical acumen. In the moments where Benavidez Jr. seemed to find his rhythm, Charlo quickly reasserted his dominance, reminding everyone in attendance of his prowess in the ring. The fight nearly reached a climax with a knockout, highlighting Charlo’s aggressive approach and his relentless pursuit of victory.
Charlo’s win is not just a testament to his skills as a boxer but also a reflection of his resilience. Overcoming a long period of inactivity, he stepped back into the ring with something to prove – not just to the world, but to himself. His victory over Benavidez Jr. is a statement, a declaration of his continued relevance and prowess in the middleweight division.
For Benavidez Jr., the fight was an uphill battle against a superior opponent. His willingness to continue the fight despite the weight issue with Charlo speaks volumes about his character and determination. While the outcome was not in his favor, his performance was marked by moments of tactical intelligence and resilience, traits that will serve him well in future bouts.
The event, staged on the same card as the much-anticipated David Benavidez vs. Demetrius Andrade clash, saw Roach Jr. clinch his first world title, while Matias asserted his dominance in a decisive manner.
Lamont Roach Jr.’s journey to his first world title was marked by a combination of skillful boxing and strategic patience. His split decision victory over Hector Luis Garcia was a testament to his resilience and ability to capitalize on critical moments. The judges’ scores reflected the closely fought nature of the match, with one scoring it 114-113 in favor of Garcia, but two favoring Roach with 114-113 and 115-112. Unofficial scorers from Bad Left Hook also leaned towards Roach with scores of 115-112 and 117-110.
Roach, in his second world title fight following a 2019 attempt, displayed remarkable evolution as a fighter. After waiting 16 months as the mandatory challenger, he seized the opportunity with unwavering focus. The fight might not have been filled with constant high-octane action, but its tempo escalated in the later rounds, with Roach taking definitive control.
The climax came in the eleventh and twelfth rounds when Roach hurt Garcia and then scored a knockdown, although there was some contention about the legality of the punch. Following his victory, Roach’s words were a blend of victory and vindication. “It’s been a long time coming. You all see why the fight didn’t happen when it was supposed to, he’s been ducking this work the whole time,” he proclaimed. His strategy, aimed at breaking down Garcia, was evident in his relentless pursuit, especially in the later rounds.
Subriel Matias, in the IBF junior welterweight title bout, displayed a masterclass in tactical aggression and endurance. His opponent, the previously unbeaten Shohjahon Ergashev, started strong, pushing forward with powerful strikes and keeping Matias at bay. However, as the rounds progressed, Matias’ strategy of inside fighting and relentless power shots began to take its toll on Ergashev.
By the third round, the tide had turned significantly, with Matias pushing Ergashev back, ramping up his work rate, and landing impactful punches. Ergashev’s attempts at holding to mitigate Matias’ onslaught proved futile. In the fourth round, Matias’ quick power shots began to dominate, and Ergashev absorbed a significant amount of punishment.
The fifth round saw a dramatic turn when Ergashev, rocked by an uppercut, managed to evade further trouble, but it was clear the fight was slipping away from him. At the end of the round, Ergashev’s admission of a right leg injury to his corner, rendering him unable to continue, sealed Matias’ victory.
These battles, set against the backdrop of the highly anticipated Benavidez vs. Andrade main event, where David Benavidez emerged victoriously over Andrade, were more than mere undercard matches. Roach Jr.’s long-awaited ascent to world champion and Matias’ dominant performance over Ergashev were reminders of what makes boxing an endlessly fascinating sport – it’s a world where strategy, skill, and heart collide to create moments of unforgettable drama.