By Keith Idec
Jermall Charlo has been asking Al Haymon for a hometown fight for a few years.
Now that the moment almost has arrived, the WBC middleweight champion has been careful to avoid the traps that often distract boxers before they fight in their hometowns. First and foremost, Charlo has left handling ticket requests from family and friends to his team.
“I’m not distracted,” Charlo said during a conference call Tuesday. “It’s all been fun. It’s a big experience for me. This is my first time fighting in my hometown in seven years. So, the first time actually I helped sell tickets. And now it’s like, I’m not really a part of that ticket thing. So, I just want to tell you that I’m focused. I’m locked in.”
When Charlo battles Brandon Adams on Saturday night at NRG Arena, it’ll mark his first fight in Houston since he stopped Sean Wilson in the fifth round of their March 2012 fight at Reliant Arena (since renamed NRG Arena). The 29-year-old Charlo (28-0, 21 KOs) is heavily favored over Los Angeles’ Adams (21-2, 13 KOs) in their “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event.
“I’m excited,” Charlo said. “It feels good to be at home. It feels good to be able to have the hometown fans behind me and become the hero here, but I’m locked in. I’m loaded. I’m ready for everything Brandon has to present to me, and I’ll deal with it as it comes, just as well as the crowd.”
The 29-year-old Adams has won four straight fights since suffering a second-round, technical-knockout defeat to John Thompson (19-4, 7 KOs) in May 2015. Each of those wins were recorded as part of the fifth season of “The Contender” reality series, which Adams won.
Showtime will televise two bouts before airing the Charlo-Adams match.
The telecast is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, when Mexico’s Eduardo Ramirez (22-1-3, 9 KOs) and the Dominican Republic’s Claudio Marrero (23-3, 17 KOs) will meet in a 12-round WBA featherweight elimination match. Following Ramirez-Marrero, Erickson Lubin (20-1, 15 KOs), of Orlando, Florida, and France’s Zakaria Attou (29-6-2, 7 KOs) are set to square off in a 12-round, 154-pound WBC eliminator.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.