B-level opponents dulling Jermall Charlo’s shine

Jermall Charlo beings in among the strangest areas in all of boxing. He’s an unbeaten world champ with a 71 percent knockout ratio and a 9-0 mark in world title bouts.

Yet, not just does he not have any of the video game’s greatest stars shouting to fulfill him, his name is seldom pointed out by them.

His twin bro, Jermell, will battle Brian Castaño next month for the indisputable extremely welterweight title. However Jermall needs to be content with battling B-level competitors like Juan Macias Montiel, whom he deals with on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, Showtime) at the Toyota Center in Houston.

Montiel is 22-4-2 with 22 knockouts, but his biggest win was probably a first-round KO of a long past-his-prime James Kirkland on the day after Christmas in Los Angeles. There aren’t a lot of big names on Montiel’s record and he’s got two guys on his record who were 0-8 at the time he fought them, as well as a 5-24-1, an 8-19-2, a 1-22, a 10-15 and, as recently as four fights ago, a 16-17-2.

Even though Saul “Canelo” Alvarez left the middleweight division in pursuit of supremacy at super middleweight, there are still plenty of names for Charlo to fight who could up his profile. But IBF champion Gennadiy Golovkin has never shown even a second’s interest in battling him and signed for a New Year’s Eve bout in Japan against B-level champion Ryota Murata.

Former super welterweight contender Jaime Munguia is the No. 1 contender in the WBC, and so he could be an opponent for Charlo down the line. Though he’s not a huge name, he’d be a step up from Macias.

Even the regularly avoided Demetrius Andrade, the WBO champion, hasn’t been in talks for a bout with Charlo.

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 07: Jermall Charlo makes his way to the ring prior to his fight against Dennis Hogan at Barclays Center on December 7, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images)

Jermall Charlo makes his way to the ring prior to his fight against Dennis Hogan at Barclays Center on Dec. 7, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images)

Charlo, though, is chill. He’s one of those fighters who doesn’t stress about much. He believes his time will come.

“I’m making 160 pounds perfectly right now and I’m not finished at 160 pounds,” Charlo said. “There are bigger fights ahead of me, though. No matter what happens, those bigger fights are coming.”

Well, perhaps. But Golovkin hasn’t shown the least bit of interest in him and his decision to sign in the spring for a winter fight with Murata in Japan is curious, at best.

Alvarez has left the middleweight division likely for good, and is looking to create history.

But Charlo is right about one thing: Take care of business in the ring and sooner or later, someone will take notice. What usually happens is fighters get impatient while waiting for the big one, lose focus and drop a fight they had no business losing.

Montiel has power, even though he’s shown it against the notoriously chinny Kirkland, and against a lot of not very good opposition. Charlo is smart, though, to understand that he can’t simply walk out to the center and expect to win.

So he’s prepared diligently, knowing that Montiel’s aggressiveness could wind up working against him.

“I’m giving you the best Jermall Charlo I can give you,” he said. “Montiel is going to come forward and give me some power. I’m going to put it in my pocket and charge my phone with it.”

Montiel said he didn’t see any weaknesses in Charlo, however said he wouldn’t be an easy test for the champion.

This could be a trap for Charlo, since Montiel has power but not a huge reputation. Montiel warned it would be a mistake to underestimate him.

“Whoever thinks this is an easy fight for Jermall doesn’t know me at all,” Montiel said. “That’s like saying a spark can’t light a forest on fire. I’m going to show that I’m more than up to the challenge of proving who Juan Macias Montiel is.”

What we really want to see is who Jermall Charlo is. During his run at super welterweight and welterweight, he’s looked elite, but he hasn’t had that one opponent to boost him to the next level. But he has solid wins over Julian Williams, Austin Trout and Sergiy Derevyanchenko, among others.

But he sits in the shadow of men like Alvarez, Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs and needs a defining challenger to inform the general public that he, too, is a super star.

More from Yahoo Sports:

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.