THE four world titles remain with their original holders after Sunday’s draw between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castaño.
The result has added a layer of complexity to the immediate plans for Australia’s Tim Tszyu, who is well-placed among the four major sanctioning bodies.
Leading broadcaster Ben Damon dissected the litany of options for the unbeaten star here.
What we know
Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) and Castaño (now 17-0-2, 12 KOs) met to decide the outright ruler of the light middleweight division, only for questionable officiating in Texas (namely Nelson Vazquez) to derail those plans.
“The superfight was designed to crown the division’s first ever ‘undisputed’ champion,” Damon explained.
“But the split draw leaves both champions with their respective belts.”
After twelve competitive rounds, judges Tim Cheatham and Steve Weisfeld offered scorecards of 114-114 and 114-113 (for Castaño). Meanwhile, the aforementioned Vazquez rendered an indifferent verdict of 117-111 for Charlo.
Will they fight again?
Both Charlo and Castaño are guided by Premier Boxing Champions’ Al Haymon, who will ultimately decide their next step.
“Their shared ‘advisor’ Al Haymon will hold significant sway over whether Charlo and Castaño push towards an immediate rematch but after the bout neither sounded convinced,” Damon said.
“And while the prospect of a rematch was quickly floated there is not believed to be a contractual clause that demands one.”
Charlo’s belts (and his next move)
Charlo entered the unification bout as a considerable favourite, given his recent form and pedigree at world level.
However, the Houston native may need to rethink his next move, with mandatory title defences also on the horizon.
“The belts held by Charlo will bring their own mandatory obligations if the rematch doesn’t come next, with the most pressing likely to be a petition for the IBF strap from unbeaten Russian Bakhram Murtazliev,” Damon noted.
“Charlo also has the option of vacating any of his belts, or even dumping all of them to go up in weight and join his brother Jermall in the middleweight division, while the 31-year-old has also previously hinted that he could retire from boxing earlier than would be expected.”
Where does this leave Tszyu?
The 26-year-old, who recently lifted the Commonwealth light middleweight crown, is within reaching distance of an inevitable world title challenge.
Tszyu’s promotional team at No Limit Boxing believe the WBO route is the most realistic, with Tszyu (19-0, 15 KOs) rated as the number one challenger for Castaño’s belt.
“Tszyu’s promotional team was plotting a course towards that belt and plan to surge ahead in a conversation with WBO President Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcárcel,” added Damon.
Damon’s thoughts were echoed by No Limit Boxing CEO George Rose.
“The draw could turn out to be a good result for us – Tszyu could be next,” he told Fox Sports.
“That was a great fight and you’d be surprised if Charlo wanted to jump straight into a rematch – plus he’ll have the other sanctioning bodies breathing down his neck.
“We’ll talk to Paco… about the prospect of making Tszyu mandatory for Castaño’s belt and we’ll be doing everything possible to make that fight happen before the end of the year.”
Tszyu’s stance on the Charlo-Castaño draw
Like most observers, Tszyu believes that Castaño was a worthy winner of all four title belts.
With that in mind, the Australian sees more longevity in the Argentine’s title reign, with Charlo likely to move towards a title run at middleweight.
“I thought Castaño won but that fight is over now and I know I have the style to beat him. Like I said, I’m ready when he is and I believe I will stop him – he is tailor-made for me,” Tszyu told Fox Sports.
“As for Charlo, I honestly don’t know if we see him again at super welterweight. It’s a big risk that he will lose again so maybe he’s better off getting out of the division.”
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