Dennis Hogan, the smaller man moving up one division, will be the decided underdog when he challenges Jermall Charlo for his middleweight world title, but he believes the rise in weight is just what the doctor ordered.
“I’ve got an extra snap on my punches right now. The power is there,” Hogan said while just a few feet from Charlo as they met head-to-head at the final prefight news conference Thursday in Brooklyn, New York. “I’m strong, I’m not having to dehydrate as much and that’s going to make all the difference. I’m really excited.”
Charlo, making the second defense of his 160-pound title, will fight Hogan on Saturday (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and didn’t seem too concerned about Hogan’s boasts about being more powerful than when he was a junior middleweight.
“If Hogan says he’s more powerful at middleweight, then he’s going to come to fight and stay in the pocket. If he comes to box, I’ll come to fight, and if he comes to fight, I’ll be able to box him,” Charlo said. “Regardless, we’re going to make adjustments in the fight. I’m going to come with a vicious attack. However the game plan plays out, I’m going to stop him.”
The Ireland-born Hogan (28-2-1, 7 KOs), 34, who lives in Australia, will be boxing for the first time since losing a controversial majority decision when challenging Jaime Munguia for his junior middleweight world title on April 13 on Munguia’s turf in Monterrey, Mexico.
When he couldn’t get the rematch he wanted, or any other fight of significance at 154 pounds, he decided to move up when he was offered the shot at Charlo.
“We built some extra muscle in certain areas for this fight and I feel a lot stronger because of that,” Hogan said. “My coach is brilliant at spotting weaknesses in opponents. Charlo doesn’t have many weaknesses, but there are things that I can capitalize on with the right game plan. Even Muhammad Ali had these areas, so everybody has them, and it’s about capitalizing on them.”
Charlo (29-0, 21 KOs), 29, of Houston, who will be fighting at Barclays Center for the fourth time in his past five fights, is confident as always.
“I have a tough opponent in Dennis Hogan, who’s real confident and he’s bringing Ireland and Australia with him. It’s going to be a show. If he can’t take my shot, I’m going to hit him flush and put him out,” Charlo said. “I believe I have something to deliver what Hogan has never seen before. I’m back to my most explosive days in boxing. I feel great about my training and the way I prepared myself to get this victory.
“My daughter’s birth has given me even more motivation to knock this guy out, and when you come to Brooklyn, you’re coming to my house. There’s nothing he can do and nothing he can say. They all say the same thing until they have to get in there with me. Dennis Hogan, I’ll see you Saturday night. We’re going to give everyone a great night of boxing. I’m going to deliver something explosive and give Hogan a nice little Christmas gift. I still have time to make knockout of the year, so hopefully this guy’s power is what he thinks it is and he comes to fight. I’m ready to shut him down.”
In the co-feature, England’s Chris Eubank Jr., son of former two-division titlist and British legend Chris Eubank Sr., will make his United States debut when he drops from super middleweight to middleweight to fight Matt Korobov for a vacant interim world title.
“My pro debut here in the U.S. has been a long time coming,” Eubank said. “It’s been a dream of mine to come out here and perform for you guys. Korobov is talking about decisions, but he will be stopped before the 12th round.
“I’m going to come for all the middleweight belts after this fight. I want all the big names. I’m 30 years old and in my prime right now. Korobov is a great introductory fight for me in the U.S., then after that it’s open season. I’ve been fighting guys 20 pounds heavier than me. Now you put me in with guys my own weight, it’s going to be devastating.”
Eubank (28-2, 21 KOs), 30, has boxed in the super middleweight division for his past six fights since 2017, including a decision loss challenging George Groves for his world title in 2018 in the World Boxing Super Series.
The southpaw Korobov (28-2-1, 14 KOs), 36, a 2008 Russian Olympian fighting out of St. Petersburg, Florida, is 0-1-1 in his past two fights, a disputed draw with Immanuwel Aleem in May and a competitive unanimous decision in an interim world title bout with Charlo that Korobov took on a few days notice last December.
“I’m so glad to be here in Brooklyn one year after I fought here against Charlo. I’m so prepared and ready to give everyone a good show and leave the fans happy,” Korobov said. “Looking to my future, this is a really important fight. What’s happened in the past is in the past. I’ve prepared for this fight really well and I’ll be ready Saturday night to win this title.
“We’ve done our research on Eubank. I’ve only watched a little but my team knows him very well. We’ve known him for a long time and known he’s a great fighter, just like his father. I’m glad that Eubank accepted the fight against me. It’s another opportunity for me to fight the best in the division and prove that I’m right up there and as good as anyone at middleweight.”
In the opening bout of the tripleheader, former bantamweight world titlist Marlon Tapales (33-2, 16 KOs), 27, of the Philippines, will face former junior featherweight world titlist Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16 KOs), 29, of Japan, for a vacant interim junior featherweight world title made available while unified titlist Daniel Roman recovers from an injury.