Jermall Charlo and Jose Benavidez Jr. had a war of words on Tuesday's conference call.
In a fiery virtual press conference, Jose Benavidez Jr. didn't hold back as he criticized Jermall Charlo for agreeing to a catchweight bout of 163 lbs rather than putting his WBC middleweight title on the line to face him.
The fight which serves as the co-main event of the David Benavidez versus Demetrius Andrade pay-per-view card takes place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena, and live on Showtime pay-per-view on November 25th. Numbers are the story of the fight as Jermall Charlo holds the WBC middleweight world title despite being out of the ring for twenty-nine months. For the 33-year-old, Charlo, he will be stepping in with a naturally smaller man, Jose Benavidez Jr., who has fought down at the junior welterweight division, but is two years his younger, at 31-years-old.
“It’s at 163 because this guy had to make up excuses that he couldn’t make the weight,” said Benavidez to Brian Custer on a conference call to promote the upcoming bout. "He was going through some hard times, I guess, so he can’t make the weight. So, we have to [fight at a catchweight]. So, you ask him about that. The boy’s not disciplined."
“I’ve actually fought at 160 a few times before, and I actually walk around at 180, 190. 147 was hard to make. I felt drained."
“You’ve been training for a while. Why don’t you want to fight at 163 then? There’s no discipline, is there? You’re scared."
Though some had speculated that the bout would happen at a catchweight this was the first time it was announced officially. Charlo also hinted at a potential move to the super middleweight division shortly as many big-name opponents stand in the division such as David Benavidez, and Canelo Alvarez. This also brings into further question as to why Charlo is still the WBC middleweight champion, when his return will not be a title defense and Carlos Adames, the WBC interim world champion, has already made one interim world title defense.
The story of the fight is about Charlo's extended inactivity, as his outside-the-ring antics such as being slapped by Caleb Plant and his inability to compete in prizefights have brought some concern about where he stands in the sport. Benavidez, on the other hand, has faced struggles in recent years, with just one victory in the five years since his defeat to Terence Crawford in 2018.
"This is the first step to get to the next weight class, I’m using the little big brother with his little man syndrome,” said Charlo. "I’m chilling. That’s how I’m looking at you. I’m about to start training camp tomorrow. I ain’t thrown no punches yet.”