Hall of Fame trainer Joe Goossen was denim-clad and stony-faced when he spoke with Luis Sandoval of Fighthype.com about the upcoming fight between his man Vanes Martirosyan(35-1-1, 21KO’s) and Jermell Charlo(25-0, 11KO’s), set to take place in San Antonio, Texas on March 28th.
This match pits two of the highest ranked light-middleweight contenders against each other; they’re both top five for each sanctioning body save the WBA, and they occupy the top two positions for the WBO. When viewed in that light, this bout is one that exemplifies the ‘best should fight the best’ mantra of many observers in the boxing world.
Goossen, with his many years of experience, spoke of the fight like a man who has seen it all before, going over it’s rudimentary elements for those less informed.
“Well, you got the number two guy Vanes, and you got the number one guy in the world fighting each other. So you know it’s gonna be two guys that are very talented and have special qualities they each possess. So it’s not gonna be easy for either fighter, it’s gonna be a challenge for both camps.”
The opposite corner on the night will be headed by a fellow architect in Ronnie Shields, who is currently moulding three of the best fighters in the 154.lb. Division; Jermell, his twin brother Jermall, and WBA World champion Erislandy Lara.
Vanes has already faced Lara in 2012 in a fight that ended in a Technical Draw after Vanes suffered an accidental cut. So both he and Goossen are somewhat familiar with some of the tenets of the Shields set-up. Goossen must have found them to be an agreeable bunch because he had nothing but kind words to say about them when asked what he thought of Jermell, in particular.
“He deserves to be number on win the world. He’s a very, very, very good fighter, and he’s in good hands. He’s got a great trainer, he’s got great people around him, he’s motivated, he’s young, he’s talented. So, of course, when I study his tapes, I’m looking for what he does well, and I’m also looking for flaws. I’m sure they’re doing the same with us.”
But he was much more reserved on what will be the key factors to victory come the end of March.
“Well, the key factors are things we’re gonna keep to ourselves. I wouldn’t wanna publicly state what our key factors are, but we’ve got ‘em.”
The knowing grin that came with these words seemed indicative of a confidence in both his approach and the fighter who will carry out his instructions. Vanes has more experience in that he has had more pro bouts at a much higher level than Jermell. Following the Lara fight he flawed current WBO champ Demetrius Andrade when the pair met for the vacant title in 2013. He only lost via a Split Decision and that is his only defeat to date. When you look at Jermell’s resume only Gabriel Rosado really stands out as a top level opponent, though he did dominate the gutsy Philadelphian over ten rounds.
The is a litmus test for young Jermell and if he can recapture the form he showed in the Rosado win he may be able to pass with flying colors. But Vanes is battle-hardened rather than shop-worn, and much more aggressive to boot. He won’t be going quietly whatever happens.