By: Sean Crose
“Depression, self conflation, going from hot to cold really fast is shocking to you,” WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo has told the New York Post. “Dealing with all kinds of cases of bipolar, being by yourself, thinking that you shutting the world out is gonna help you. But you need to be able to speak to someone and help you get past whatever you’re going through.” Charlo, for those who don’t know, was referring to his much discussed battle with mental illness. To his credit, Charlo is now willing to speak of the issues which have removed him from the spotlight for around two plus years.
With a return fight this weekend against brash Jose Benavidez, Charlo appears willing to face opponents both in and out of the ring. “It just feels like everybody is against you,” Charlo said of his darker moments. “I don’t care if you’re in the Uber, a cab, wherever, everybody is just against you. Why I felt like this…I couldn’t tell that some people weren’t against me, it was just that at the moment it’s the way you’re feeling and I turned my back against pretty much the world. I just had to start getting help with it and it made me a lot better.”
Now fans are wondering if the undefeated Charlo will be able to get back into the ring without having to fight off a world class case of ring rust as well as the outspoken Benavidez. For his own part, Charlo feels in a good place mentally as well as physically heading into Saturday’s fight. “My patience,” he said, “has grown a lot more now…I’ve extended my hand to start helping more than I ever did. I’m starting to feel a lot better. Clear minded, I’m not trying to tailor things with drinking and alcohol abuse, or drugs, or just being so obnoxious and things like that.”
It seems, then, like it will be a new Charlo who enters the ring on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Whether or not the new Charlo will have the prowess of the Charlo who stepped away from the action with a 32-0 record remains to be seen. Perhaps, though, such things ultimately aren’t that important to the 33 year old Texan.
“You have to learn patience,” he said. “That’s one of my major things that I’ve learned from having these two years off is patience and just being grateful. I’m back. I learned how to take care of my body a lot better, mentally and physically. I feel like I’m back. My mind has met up with my physical ability and I’m kind of more so in my prime.”
Charlo-Benavidez will be on the undercard of the Demetrius Andrade-David Benavidez bout, which will be broadcast live on Showtime Pay Per View Saturday evening.
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