‘Put up or shut up’

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Jermell Charlo understands the gravity of the moment.

The 33-year-old Houston fighter will have a rare opportunity to claim a coveted spot in boxing lore when he faces 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez on pay-per-view Sept. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) is the undisputed 154-pound champion, meaning he is moving up two divisions for the biggest challenge of his life.

“I’ve been doing this my whole life and now it’s time to put on for my city,” Charlo said after a recent workout. “Put up or shut up and do what I do. I’m facing one of the best fighters in the world. You have to be excited for this moment.”

He went on: “If I accomplish this massive goal, it’ll be hard to top. I’ll be in the record book with the greats of boxing for a long time.”

Charlo also knows that he’s the underdog, in part because of the natural size difference. Alvarez is about a 3½-1 favorite.

“I wanna shake the doubters off and prove to the world why I’m in this position,” he said. “There’s a reason I made it this far. I’m gonna show what I’m made of. Everything I’ve done since I was 8 years old, I’m putting it all on the line now.”

Charlo isn’t concerned about the natural size difference, saying he has sparred with bigger men for years.

At the same time, he seems to understand that he can’t simply overwhelm Alvarez as he has many of his other opponents. He’ll have to be both patient and intelligent to come out with a career-defining victory.

“Now it’s about bringing that same mindset that I have at 154-pounds and bringing it up with me to 168-pounds,” he said. “… We have to be dominant and not just rely on a knockout. I have to beat him for 12 rounds.

“I have to do what I have to do in the ring to protect myself while still being vicious.”

And, of course, he believes he will have put in the appropriate amount of work during training camp.

“This is a dream come true, just like winning undisputed, winning a world title and making it out the mud was,” he said. “Once you get this far and see yourself prospering, you just want to keep bringing it. I’m staying focused on handling business.”

He went on: “I’m so dialed in as far as my team and everyone around me. I just need to get in the ring and do what I have to do.”