Jermall Charlo (19-0 with 15 KOs) faces 37-year-old Italian, Lenny Bottai (22-2 with 9 KOs) , fighting in America for the first time in an IBF Light Middleweight eliminator bout. The winner of the bout will face Cornelius “K9” Bundrage for his 154 lb. IBF title. Charlo is the clear favorite in what would appear to be a mismatch on paper.
Round one: Charlo lands multiple stiff jabs along with a few combinations. The talent and size difference between the two is considerable and neither are in Bottai’s favor. Charlo controls the round with ease thanks to that jab and landing the only punches of merit. The favorite was a little flat-footed and seemed to have little respect for Bottai’s power.
Round two: Charlo starts off faster in the second. Letting his hands go more. Every solid punch seems to move Bottai. Nothing the underdog is doing has any effect on Charlo. Charlo focuses on the body with force. Bottai suffers a cut above the left eye in the round’s second minute.
Round three: Bottai starts off more aggressively to begin the round. It was not a good idea. Charlo lands a thudding short left hook that sends Bottai to the canvas, nearly doing a reverse somersault. When he rolls over onto his fours, he kicks his left leg up the air, almost like an equine who would rather not be brushed. Bottai makes it to his feet at the count of nine, but referee, Jay Nady, rightly waves off the fight just as Bottai’s corner throws in the towel.
In the post-fight interview, with his brother Jermell (who was supposed to fight Demetrius Andrade tonight for his WBO Light Middleweight belt before Andrade dropped out due to a purse dispute with Showtime and Golden Boy) looking on, Charlo calls out Bundrage. After tonight, I like Charlo’s chances. While Bottai may only be a “B” level fighter, Charlo has both technique and power. I venture to wrgue he carries both in greater supply than Bundrage.