FOR THE EIGHTH time in their careers, identical twin brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo will appear together on the same card as they headline Saturday's pay-per-view at Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut (Showtime PPV, 7 p.m. ET).
The event will be divided into two segments, separated by a 30-minute intermission. Jermall will fight in the first main event, Jermell the second.
While each brother is the favorite heading into his respective fight, both have formidable challenges ahead of them. Jermall (30-0, 22 KOs) defends his WBC middleweight title against Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs). Then, Jermell (33-1, 17 KOs) puts his WBC junior middleweight belt on the line against unified titleholder (WBA/IBF) Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs).
When one Charlo boxes, the other one is always present in spirit -- if not ringside. The connection they share as twins extends to the fights themselves. Jermall says he can literally visualize the combinations his brother will throw in a fight before they occur.
"[When Jermell is fighting] I feel like I'm fighting, I feel like I should've gotten away from the punches he did, and I know it's vice versa for him," Jermall said.
The last time the duo fought on the same night was Dec. 22, 2018, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Jermell was on the short end of a dubious decision against Tony Harrison. Jermall had a tough time with Matt Korobov, but he did enough to win a unanimous decision.
ICYMI: @Iamboxing became a World Champion last night at @barclayscenter when he upset previously unbeaten @TwinCharlo by a controversial UD (116-112, 115-113, 115-113) in their WBC 154-pound title fight on #PBConFOX. #CharloHarrison— PBC (@premierboxing) December 23, 2018
READ RECAP 📰: https://t.co/wHOcqhtycu pic.twitter.com/4GAagydVv9
Reflecting on that evening, the one-minute-older Jermall said it was tough to enjoy his own victory in the wake of his brother's loss. After all, it was the first loss in the family's 64 combined bouts.
"It definitely was [hard to celebrate], but we got home and we got over it," Jermall said. "It's just part of the game that we just have to get used to. Sometimes it goes our way, sometimes it don't. But it's still a sport, and you want to be undefeated. You don't know how to take losses. It's tough. But it's just boxing at the end of the day, it's just a segment of our life that my brother overcame.
"It's just one of those things where I learned so much from my brother losing."
FIGHTING ON THE same card with his brother is something that could affect either Charlo, especially the brother fighting second if the first fight goes the wrong way. But according to Jermell, that's not something they are worried about.
"I know my brother can steer his own ship. He's the captain of his own ship, and how he moves and how he do things," Jermell said. "He's a king in his world, I'm a king in my world. We're two lions with a big mane. We've been in this world of boxing for a long time."
On Saturday night, Jermell will be fighting after Jermall, and as far as he's concerned, there's no added pressure. Jermell sees it as an opportunity for the brothers to advance their careers together.
"We know when it's time to roar and growl, and the champ is on his way, he's going to win, he's going to do what he has to do. I go up, I pull up next," Jermell said. "If he goes before me, or I go after him -- it really doesn't matter. We're just here to fight, we're just here to give God the glory, get a victory and keep it moving. We know the window of boxing don't last long. We want to try to get everything we can in this window and beat everyone we can."
But as with everything during the coronavirus pandemic, fighting on the same card has its unique challenges for the pair at a time when no spectators are allowed in the arena. Before arriving at Mohegan Sun, neither Charlo knew if he would be able to be inside the arena as the other performed.
"They will not be allowed inside the bubble to watch the other one fight," Mike Mazzulli, director of the Mohegan Tribe Athletic Department, which oversees fights at the casino, told ESPN on Tuesday. "Once they're done, they're done. That's the rule, that's the protocol."
Yet, there is a loophole.
"If the second brother wants to use him as a second man [in the corner], that's fine with me," Mazzulli said. "You get three [people in your corner]. If you want to use one of those spots for your brother, I've got no problem with it."
There will be nervous moments on Saturday, regardless of the rules put in place for this event, and whether both brothers end up in the room at the same time. Being up first doesn't make it any easier for Jermall.
"It's still going to take a toll on both of us," said Jermall. "We both have to get ready at the same time, It's just one of those things. It's boxing. We just have to go through it."
THE CHARLO BROTHERS not only resemble one another, they share the same fiery temperament. While the modern boxing business is just that to many fighters -- a business -- the Charlo brothers take the sport's interactions personally.
Go back to Jermell's first-round KO of Erickson Lubin in 2017, for example. Jermall was struck by a chair at ringside seconds after the fight was over, allegedly by a member of Lubin's team.
A near-melee broke out ringside, and Jermall chased after somebody presumably affiliated with Lubin. Eventually, Jermall calmed down, then stepped into the ring, where he was part of a memorable postfight interview with Jim Gray.
"There's been an incident here," Gray said to the Showtime audience.
"They threw a chair at my brother," Jermell responded.
Jermall, who was standing next to Jermell, was asked by Gray, "Are you OK?"
"I'm good," he growled. Then glaring over at Lubin's corner, he asked, "Is he OK? Is you OK?"
There is a WWE tag-team aura to this pair who, to borrow a phrase from the early days of reality TV, aren't here to make friends.
After Jermall knocked out Julian Williams in 2016, he wanted no part of any niceties from his fallen foe, who tried to extend an olive branch after the fight. As Williams was still lying on the canvas, an emotionally amped up Charlo climbed up on the corner rope, and started yelling, "I'm the f---ing champ!'' The fact that the crowd was booing only seemed to get him more hyped.
Later, as Williams came over to congratulate him, Charlo angrily dismissed him. The crowd gathered at USC's Galen Center started to jeer him even more lustily. Yet Jermall relished that response as he climbed up on the corner ropes to further agitate the fans with Jermell egging him on.
Jermall did apologize during a postfight interview, but was quickly booed by the crowd.
Jermall explained that his anger was the result of what he felt were yearlong taunts from Williams, who had been his mandatory defense. "My emotion took over me," he said.
"Do you feel as though that this will detract from this super victory?" Gray asked.
"Detract what?" Jermall said. "I knocked him out."
Some are horrified by such a lack of sportsmanship. Others find it rather amusing. It makes the Charlos polarizing figures within the sport, but they enjoy the role of being the heels of boxing.
"We know a lot of fighters in there, they don't like the Charlos, they don't really rock with us," Jermell said. "One day, they've got to give us respect."
VICTORIES BY BOTH would mean four world title belts in the family by the end of the night. It might not put them in the pantheon of other great modern-day brother combinations like Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko and Juan Manuel and Rafael Marquez just yet, but it will give them something that they believe has been deprived of them.
"I know [other fighters] will be like, 'What the Charlos have done, we've got to give them the respect when it's done,'" Jermell said. "I feel like now is the time we can step up on a show like this, and let it be known what we really represent."
Not surprisingly, his brother agrees.
"The world will get a chance to really embrace us for the hard fighters that we are," Jermall said. "We've got bigger fights and better fights that will entertain the world, but right now this will definitely get us the outlook that the Charlo Twins, they're definitely there."