Jermell Charlo doesn’t buy into the conventional notion that a successful prizefighter must train far removed from the presence of his family.
The 154-pound undisputed champion took aim at a particular—perhaps old school—definition of the word “sacrifice” during the second episode of Showtime’s All Access series for Charlo’s upcoming contest against Canelo Alvarez. Charlo will move up two weight classes to challenge Alvarez, the undisputed super middleweight champion for his four 168-pound titles on Sept. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
For Charlo, “sacrifice” may mean many things, but it certainly does not mean retreating into the wilderness.
A common trope in professional boxing is that of the fighter conducting his training camp for an upcoming fight away from his family, as if a Carthusian, to stave off distractions and temptations.
But Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) apparently finds such thinking risible and misguided. The Houston native says he derives far more benefit from being close to his loved ones.
“My training camp is in Houston and I want my camp to be where I’m relaxed at, comfortable at,” Charlo said. “I’m closer to my family. I got an 11-year-old daughter, I got a 14-year-old son, and a two-year-old running around the house. Those kids, they my teammates.
“The world don’t get to understand what we really doing. They don’t understand the dedication that’s put in on a daily basis. We on the grind. We chilling with the family….This is the point of camp. This the point of life. This is the point of dedication and determination that you gotta have. You gotta sacrifice a little bit, ‘cause I’ll be hearing other fighters say ‘sacrifice.’ That sacrifice that they talking about is not the sacrifice that they really meaning. Sacrifice from your family, your girl, and your kids, when you comfortable? Wake up.
“Don’t get caught into the ‘the word sounds good, so we gon’ say that.’ You telling me not to be here for my son because I got a fight coming up? This don’t get put on hold. This gonna be every day. This is my motivation. This is my inspiration. They gotta grow up and realize what we on.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.