Jermell Charlo was not thrilled that he had not fought since winning his junior middleweight world title last May, but the 11-month layoff did not appear to have any impact on him whatsoever as he dominated Charles Hatley en route to a sixth-round knockout victory Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Charlo, fighting for the first time since winning a 154-pound belt by eighth-round knockout of John Jackson last May, looked very sharp against Hatley, his mandatory challenger, on the Shawn Porter-Andre Berto undercard. Charlo and Hatley, whose fight had been delayed time and again, traded verbal jabs throughout the buildup to the fight as they made it clear that they did not like each other. On fight night, it was Charlo who took it all out on Hatley, who showed nothing, perhaps because he was coming off an even longer layoff than Charlo.
Hatley had not boxed in 17 months since going to Australia in November 2015 and upsetting former titleholder Anthony Mundine by 11th-round knockout.
In the second round, an accidental head butt opened a small cut over Charlo's left eye. In the final seconds of the second round, Charlo landed a sharp right hand that sent Hatley falling into the ropes, which held him up. Referee Harvey Dock could have called a knockdown, but he did not.
Midway through the third round, Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) landed a clean right hand on Hatley's temple to knock him to his rear end.
Then, in the sixth round, Charlo put a series of punches together before landing a clean right hand on Hatley's chin. He crumbled to mat and Dock immediately waved off the fight 31 seconds into the round. Hatley (26-2-1, 18 KOs), 31, of Dallas, was down for a couple of minutes as he was attended to by ringside medical personnel.
"I used that jab to set up that right hand," Charlo said. "I know Charles Hatley. He'd go down sometimes and get back up because he's a warrior. So he'd keep fighting. I knew I'd have to get in there and be a dog and a lion."
It was an impressive first defense for Charlo, 26, of Houston, who is the twin brother of former junior middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo, who recently vacated his belt in order to move up to the middleweight division.
"I thought he gave a phenomenal performance. He did everything we worked on in camp," said Derrick James, Charlo's trainer. "He set him up with the jab and took him out with the right. That is what he needed to do."
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Charlo landed 71 of 171 punches (42 percent), while Hatley landed just 33 of 164 (20 percent).
Hatley, who earned $85,000 to Charlo's $100,000, saw his nine-fight winning steak since an upset first-round knockout loss to journeyman Lanardo Tyner in 2012 come to an end.
Charlo said he would like to unify titles next and is interested in fighting Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs), who claimed the belt Jermall Charlo vacated by knocking out Tony Harrison in the ninth round on Feb. 25.
"They got a guy named Jarrett Hurd that took my brother's title. We could unify," Charlo said.
Borrego punishes Delperdang for a KO victory
In another bout on the card, junior welterweight prospect Jose Miguel Borrego (12-0, 10 KOs), 19, of Mexico, laid a beating on John Delperdang (10-3, 9 KOs), 24, of Ontario, California, en route to a seventh-round knockout victory.
Borrego, going past the fifth round for the first time, hammered Delperdang throughout the one-sided fight, leaving him with a bloody face and a badly swollen right eye.
Round after round Borrego landed heavy shots against an entirely ineffective Delperdang. When Borrego backed him toward the ropes during the seventh round and was teeing off on him, referee Eric Dali finally stepped in and waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 1 second.
According to CompuBox statistics, Borrego landed 239 of 559 punches (43 percent), and Delperdang landed just 88 of 202 (31 percent).
Delperdang, who was coming off a 12-round decision loss to fringe contender Hank Lundy, was a late replacement for another prospect, New York Dominican Jonathan Alonso (12-0, 4 KOs), who dropped out last week.