When Jermell Charlo defended his WBC super-welterweight world title against Tony "Super Bad" Harrison in December last year he did so as the betting favourite who was making the fourth defence of his title. Insiders knew that Harrison was a highly skilled practitioner who had only come up short when facing Jarret Hurd for the vacant IBF belt in 2017 and in an earlier loss to Willie Nelson in 2015.
The two meet again with Harrison's WBC strap on the line at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California on Saturday, 21st December. The fight is promoted by Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and will be shown live on Fox.
Very few expected Harrison to put on a performance that would trouble the champion as much as he did. The fight was hard to score at times because Harrison seemed to have quicker hands while Charlo the bigger punch power, so while to me Harrison was the superior tactician, he was also visibly hurt during the fight from Charlo's bigger shots. As with so many fights, it all depended on what you awarded points for, the number of shots landed on target or the fewer but harder punches landed.
Charlo felt that the judges and most observers got it wrong and that he won the fight. Harrison had done a fine job of getting under Charlo's skin in the build-up and he has continued to do so again for the rematch which was postponed from the original June date after Harrison suffered an ankle injury. Charlo doesn't seem to have full control of his emotions when Harrison is around and that doesn't bode well for the 29-year-old from Houston, Texas.
Charlo, like his twin brother Jermall, the WBC middleweight champion, is huge at the weight and it might be that getting down to 154lbs is taking its toll on his 5ft 11In frame. If so, then Harrison can repeat the win, but if Charlo can make the necessary adjustments then he will be capable of getting his title back.
I believe Charlo is the better fighter overall but that he should have moved up to middleweight before now.
Prediction: Harrison to repeat the victory on points.