|Where||Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California|
|When||Saturday, May 14, 10pm ET|
Undisputed honors at super-welterweight are on the line this weekend as Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano square off in a much-anticipated rematch.
This bout is a direct rerun of their first meeting last July, which ended up as a controversial split draw with neither man prevailing on the scorecards. Indeed, surely only in boxing - a sport so often in search of clarity and finality - would a battle for an undisputed title only result in further disputes.
Saturday night should see the score settled, if only for the short term. The outcome of the first fight saw many claim that one man - Castano - was robbed of a career-defining win, but the truth is that it was an exceptionally close fight, with a draw verdict largely representing the reality of the contest that preceded it. What was harder to stomach for most viewers was the card of judge Nelson Vazquez, who had Charlo winning 9 of the available 12 rounds — a winning margin that felt far too wide.
Nonetheless, despite his struggles in the first fight, it is again Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) who assumes the role of betting favorite. Chalked up in the region of three-to-one on (-300) last summer, the 31-year-old is again fancied to get the job done, and he has seen some considerable support in the market in recent days. Having initially opened at -120 (an implied probability of 55%) when the rematch was first confirmed, and then looking likely to settle around -150 (60%), the adopted Texan has been backed in further during fight week, in what has been a late but considerable move. At time of writing, the most widely available quote on Charlo across the industry is a flat -200, or a 67% implied chance of victory, with several firms having been clipped in further to -225 (69%), and therefore quickly closing in on the price he was assigned first time around.
Such late money for Charlo - here, again, the promotional A-side - perhaps feels harsh on the performance of Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs) last time out, given that he had a strong argument to have won seven rounds and, in turn, the majority of the rounds required. However, the market’s confidence in Charlo is clear and whether it is the expectation that as the home fighter he should have won the first fight, or that he has the higher upside - whether in terms of talent, revenue generation, or a combination of both - remains to be seen.
All of this leaves Castano, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a perceived mountain to climb. The move on Charlo leaves ‘El Boxi’ available as a near two-to-one underdog at +188, or an implied win probability of 35%, and those eyeing an upset would no doubt be content to see his price further drift towards the best price of +255 found on him ahead of the first installment less than a year ago. Of note is the draw, which can be found at +2000 (5%), a repeat of which would set up a third fight between the two men in the most unlikely manner.
The nip-and-tuck nature of their first encounter points toward Saturday’s main event going the distance once more, and the bookmakers offer -150 (60% implied) that all involved will again rely on the judges. The fight not to go the distance - broadly a stoppage win for either, although the remote chance of a disqualification would be factored in, along with a technical draw - is listed at +188, the same price that can be taken on Castano by any means.
In December 2018, Charlo was upset by +700 outsider Tony Harrison, who nicked a tight decision in what is Charlo’s only career defeat to date. To his credit, Charlo adjusted and, though there was no immediate rematch, turned the tables on Harrison a year later by forcing an 11th-round knockout. It is feasible that the favorite - the technically superior of the two men this weekend - does similar here, although the +275 (27%) looks a little slim against the stocky Castano, who presents a formidable challenge in both physicality and style.
Charlo’s rebound success against Harrison, though, should give his backers confidence that this is a man well equipped to handle setbacks, and while a game Castano effort is almost guaranteed, it is difficult to see him boxing any better than he did in July. That Charlo’s last three wins have come by KO (18 KOs in 34 total, 53%) should give bettors pause for thought, but the +138 on a decision win - or an implied 42% chance - looks to be the best way to side with ‘The Iron Man’ this weekend.
Charlo vs Castano free expert betting pick:
Jermell Charlo by decision (+138)
To Win Fight
The simplest bet on boxing that we can make. All we need to do is predict which of the two fighters will be victorious. It doesn’t matter how or when they win, all that counts is that the referee holds aloft our selection’s hand at the end of the fight.