By: Sean Crose
“I’ve been nervous every fight,” undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo said before Showtime cameras in the lead up to his highly anticipated bout with undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. “This is my life I’m putting on the line.” This, frankly, is one of the more honest statements one will find coming out of a modern day fighter. This, sadly, is the age of big talk, hyperbole, and self aggrandizement. The thirty-three year old Charlo, though, apparently likes to keep things on the up and up.
“Every fight I’m nervous,” he added before making it clear that he isn’t afraid to do what he has to do as a professional boxer. “I’m not shy,” he said, “because if I was shy I wouldn’t be able to get in the ring…you never know what to expect out of this sport.” With that in mind, one has to wonder why Charlo is moving up two entire weight divisions in order to battle the legendary Canelo. “I’m just daring to be great,” he said simply. Fair enough. “I’ve been doing so much sparring, I’ve been doing so much training, strength training. I’ve been doing a a lot of conditioning.”
Whatever one can say about the 35-1-1 Charlo, the man is going to be well prepared when he slips between the ropes to square off against Canelo at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas on September 30th. Indeed, the Texan’s training isn’t just focused on physical conditioning. “I’ve been working on mental (preparations) as well, so it’s not all abut physical.” he said. “I’ve been possibly training for about 14 weeks, so I’ve been going for a real long time.”
Although there was some genuine surprise when word arrived that Charlo would be jumping up in weight to battle Canelo, Charlo makes it clear that he’s worked hard for the moment. “I deserve it,” he said. “I conquered my weight division, and what else is there for me to do other than continue to fight challengers and I got an awesome challenge.” Life may seem glamorous now, but Charlo indicates a fighter’s life can be a grinding, even grueling, endeavor.
“We put a lot of work in,” he says, “a lot of dedication, a lot of determination…family, sacrificing. There’s things that we do in boxing that a lot of people in the outside world don’t see. They only get to see the big major fights. They don’t know the things we go through as far as injuries, as far as recovering from those things, and just staying on it, man.” He may not emerge victorious against Canelo – although he certainly might – but one gets the feeling listening to Charlo that he’s a man at peace with himself.
“Never stop believing,” he says. “God is real.”
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