Junior middleweight world titlist Jermell Charlo, who is looking forward to a possible unification fight with Jarrett Hurd in the fall, will first defend his 154-pound crown against former titlist Austin Trout.
The fight, which was made official on Wednesday, will take place on June 9 at Staples Center in Los Angeles on a Showtime-televised card headlined by the rematch between featherweight world titlist Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KOs) and secondary titleholder Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs).
Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs), 27, a native of Houston living in Los Angeles, will be making his third title defense when he meets Trout (31-4, 17 KOs), 32, of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Trout is familiar to the Charlo family. Jermell's twin brother, Jermall, won a unanimous decision over Trout in May 2016 to retain his version of the junior middleweight title, though he has since moved up in weight and is a top middleweight contender.
Trout, a southpaw, scored his biggest win when he defended a junior middleweight title by outpointing Miguel Cotto in 2012 in a major upset. After Trout lost to Charlo, he suffered a second loss in a row and the first knockout of his career, a 10th-round stoppage to Hurd in October. Trout bounced back for an eight-round decision win over Juan De Angel on Feb. 17.
"Trout is no journeyman. He's a former world champion, someone who has a name and he comes to fight. The name means he's worthy of another title challenge,'' Charlo said. "Trout is the man that has been chosen for me and I have to take care of him. I'm super excited to be fighting and defending my title again.
"The only thing I'm going to tell you about what I'm going to do against Trout is I'm going to surprise you guys. I plan to show my skills and show why I'm the best at 154 pounds. The most important thing is to make my mark and claim my territory.'"
Trout may be a huge underdog, but he is pleased to have another opportunity to win a world title. He said he views it as his last chance.
"I'm more than excited. I'm happy because I'm still a threat in this game," Trout said. "People can write me off all they want. Even when I was a champion people wrote me off. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I'm approaching it is as my last opportunity. Everybody is counting me out and I'm hoping he is too. I'm going to shock him and the world.
"I feel like I've done this before because I fought his brother. Jermell uses more of his skills where Jermall uses more of his brute strength. I fought the bigger one and I fought Hurd, who was like his bigger brother. Now I get to fight someone who is closer to my size."
Should Charlo win, there's a good chance he will meet Hurd in the fall to unify their three belts. Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs), 27, of Accokeek, Maryland, unified two titles on Saturday night in Las Vegas by outpointing Erislandy Lara in a dramatic fight of the year contender at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.