WBC Super-welterweight champion Tony Harrison was forced to pull out of his rematch with former holder Jermell Charlo after suffering an ankle injury in training. Doctors told him that he would need 10 weeks away from training to allow the damaged ligaments to heal.
For Charlo, the news was hard to take, he felt compelled to face Harrison and exact revenge for what he feels was a bad night for the ringside judges who scored the fight 113-115, 113-115, and 112-116, all in favour of Harrison.
While many observers agreed that Charlo deserved to retain his title, it was by no means the worst decision of the year. It was a close technical fight that connoisseurs of boxing will have enjoyed far more than Charlo's fans that were expecting a repeat of his knockout performances against John Jackson, Charles Hatley, and Erickson Lubin.
Charlo has left no-one in any doubt that he believes that Harrison has faked an injury to avoid having to face Charlo again. He has also made it clear to anyone that will listen that he got robbed by the judges, but while he blames everyone but himself for the loss, perhaps he needs to see that he is not quite as superior in ability to the rest of the division as he likes to think.
Charlo now has to shake off the disappointment of the cancelled rematch with arch-enemy Harrison and give his full concentration to replacement opponent Jorge Cota of Sinaloa, Mexico. The 31-year-old Cota comes into the fight on the back of a split decision loss to Jeison Rosario, just 2 months ago.
The other losses in Cota's 28-3-0 25 Ko's record were to Marco Antonio Rubio up at middleweight, back in 2012, and to quality 154lb contender Erickson Lubin in March 2017. It will need Charlo's full attention to not only beat Cota but look good doing it. I think Charlo will rise to the occasion and win by a unanimous decision.