Charlo unanimously outpoints Montiel to retain title

HOUSTON (AP) — Jarmall Charlo unanimously outpointed Juan Macias Montiel to retain the WBC middleweight championship Saturday night at the Toyota Center.

Charlo (32-0, 22 knockouts) received winning scores of 118-109, 119-109 and 120-108 from the three judges. Montiel (22-5-2, 22 KOs) lost in his first chance at a title and for the second time in three fights.

“They had a game plan to fight, and that’s what they came out to do,” Charlo said. “We came out to defend our title, and that’s what we did.”

Charlo came out to a standing ovation from his hometown crowd and did not disappoint.

With chants of “Let’s go Charlo! Let’s go Charlo!” breaking out several times during the fight, Charlo dominated throughout. Charlo was on the offensive for much of the fight, peppering Montiel with body shots and rocking him during the fifth and sixth rounds with flurries of rights and lefts, leaving Montiel wobbly.

“I was in there fighting, he just made some elegant adjustments,” Charlo said. “That’s what I like to call it. The best boxers in the world make the best adjustments, and my trainer Ronnie Shields said ‘Dude made some adjustments, and you made some adjustments back. That’s how you got the victory’.”

Following the fight, Charlo put a medallion around Montiel’s neck.

“He was coming to win the WBC championship,” Charlo said. “He was a true warrior tonight. I take nothing away from Montiel. He’s an awesome fighter. Awesome game plan. … I dug deep, he dug deep. A fight broke out tonight.”

Charlo said he received stitches above his right eye, the first time in his career he had to be stitched up.

However, Montiel came back with a flurry of his own in the eighth round, landing four straight left hands midway through the round to leave Charlo wobbling momentarily and opening up a cut above Charlo’s right eye.

“I think I made a quality leap today, and I hope to keep having these opportunities,” Montiel said through a translator. “I felt like I reached another level after this fight, and I hope to fight more number ones in the future and become a champion myself.”

Charlo landed 258 of a career-high 769 (34%) total shots compared to Montiel’s 127 of 427 (30%) and connected on 41 body shots compared to Montiel’s 4, according to CompuBox. The champion landed 46% of his power shots compared to 43% for Montiel, while Charlo connected on 57 of 330 jabs (17%), and Montiel connected on only 7 of 145 jabs (5%), according to CompuBox.

Charlo has won three of his four title fights by unanimous decision. He last defended the title at the end of September against Sergiy Derevyanchenko in Connecticut.

Following the fight, Charlo issued a challenge to WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade for a possible unification fight.

“He’s got a belt,” Charlo said. “Let’s go get him. He’s talking. … We’re all about that. I’m ready. I’m not worried about that. We’re going to clean up the division sooner or later. I’m really relaxed. You see me walking through it. … I don’t make the fights. I don’t pick the fights. Whatever circumstances he’s in, I’m not here for any of that. I’m a fighter.”

Montiel came in off a first-round knockout of James Kirkland at the end of December in Los Angeles.

In the co-main event, Isaac Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs) unanimously outpointed Francisco Vargas (27-3-2, 19 KOs) after opening up a big cut over Vargas’ right eye. The fight was stopped momentarily with 30 seconds remaining in the final round for the ringside doctor to examine Vargas’ eye and stop the bleeding before allowing the fight to continue.

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