Junior middleweight brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo came into their fights on Saturday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hoping that they would finish the night as the first twins to hold world titles at the same time in the same division.
First, Jermell Charlo, down on 69-64 on all three scorecards against John Jackson, rallied for an out-of-nowhere eighth-round knockout.
Then Jermall Charlo, making the second defense of the title he won in September and knowing his brother already had won, claimed a competitive decision -- 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113 -- against former titleholder Austin Trout, the first southpaw he had faced in his career and his most significant opponent so far. ESPN.com also scored the fight 116-112 for Charlo.
"It's history. We did it," said Jermell Charlo, who is one minute younger than his identical twin.
It was quite a culmination of a big week for Houston's Charlos, who turned 26 on Thursday.
"I want to thank God for allowing me and my twin brother to see this day, baby. Woooo! History, baby," Jermall said as he embraced his brother in the ring after his own victory. "It feels good. I knew my brother would get the job done. We belong at this level. And for us to get the attention we need from Canelo [Alvarez] and the greats out there, we need these titles, and we going to keep these titles."
Fighting on the undercard of junior middleweight titleholder Erislandy Lara's defense against Vanes Martirosyan, the Charlo brothers became the second set of twins to hold world titles at the same time. Khaosai Galaxy (junior bantamweight) and Khaokor Galaxy (bantamweight), of Thailand, briefly held world titles at the same time in the late 1980s, but they were separated by one weight division.
Jermall Charlo, whose right hand was potent against Trout, appeared to be much bigger and more powerful. He hurt Trout with his right hand repeatedly. He began to crank it up in the third round, driving Trout back with it time and again. By the fifth round, Trout had swelling around his right eye as Charlo continued to land.
"I set [the right hand] up behind the jab," Jermall said. "It was my game plan. I knew he would try to stop me from jabbing but that didn't happen."
Trout, who made $300,000, was competitive in most of the rounds, but whenever he would mount any kind of offense, Charlo inevitably came on stronger to maintain control. Charlo (24-0, 18 KOs), whose purse was $500,000, opened a cut over Trout's right eye during the 10th round. It was the first time Trout was cut in his career.
"It wasn't a struggle. It was an experience," Jermall said. "Austin Trout is a hell of a fighter. I see why he beat [Miguel] Cotto. I see why he gave Lara a problem. I see why Canelo had a close fight with him. He's a beast."
According to CompuBox statistics, Charlo landed 130 of 474 punches (27 percent) and Trout (30-3, 17 KOs), 30, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, connected on 117 of 490 (24 percent).
"It was a great experience. It was my first time going 12 rounds. Doesn't matter. I knew I was in shape for it," Jermall said.
Trout was naturally disappointed with the result.
"I never want to cry over spilled milk. Hats off to Jermall Charlo. He fought a hell of a fight," Trout said. "He's going to be a great champion. I felt I did enough to win. They're never going to give me a close decision, so it's time to start putting these cats out, man.
"It was the Charlo show from the beginning. I can't make excuses. I fought my ass off. Charlo fought his ass off, and he came out on top, so congratulations."
Earlier, Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs) was having all kinds of problems with Jackson, known as a brawler but who spent most of the fight boxing and displaying tight defense.
But in the eighth round, Charlo landed a right hand to Jackson's left eye. He wobbled and pawed at his face, and Charlo followed with a left hook that sent him into the ropes. Jackson (20-3, 15 KOs), 27, a 2008 Virgin Islands Olympian, was basically out on his feet, forcing referee Tony Weeks to stop the bout at 50 seconds.
While Charlo claimed one of the 154-pound world titles that Floyd Mayweather vacated when he retired last fall, Jackson failed to match the accomplishment of his father and trainer, vaunted puncher Julian Jackson, who won a junior middleweight world title in 1987 (and later won a middleweight world title).
According to CompuBox, Charlo landed 46 of 203 punches (23 percent) while Jackson connected on 38 of 224 blows (17 percent). But despite Charlo's punch advantage, it was clear he was losing.
"I was behind," said Jermell, whose purse was $250,000. "He was boxing. He was moving around a lot. I had to get close. That was unexpected from him. I thought he'd come out to bang. Come out to brawl. So I had to make an adjustment and I did. I started getting closer. When he started settling down, that's when I was able to open him up and catch him with the shot I needed."
Jackson, who made $175,000, had his chin betray him yet again, like his father's did during his career. Three fights ago, Jackson faced Andy Lee and was winning easily, before he got caught and knocked out cold in the fifth round.
"It was a journey to get here," Jackson said. "I feel like I was ahead and I came up short. He caught me with a punch, and I tried to fix my mouthpiece and he hit me again. I wasn't knocked out. He dazed me. He hit me by my eye and my mouthpiece was coming out. I knew where I was. It dazed me. It's boxing, man. I felt I was winning the fight, and I got caught."
As Julian Jackson added, "I'm proud. It took a lot for us to get this far. I know my people are proud. We are strong people, and we are coming back."