by David P. Greisman
There are stories about how heated the sparring used to be between heavyweight brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, with sibling rivalry taking on a different from when the gloves are laced up and the adrenaline is rushing.
The same could be said for twin junior middleweights Jermell and Jermall Charlo — at least, until trainer Ronnie Shields stepped in and talked to them. The goal, he said, wasn’t for them to beat each other — but to benefit each other.
The Charlos are 23. Jermell is 23-0 (11 KOs) and coming off a January decision win over Gabriel Rosado. Jermall is 17-0 (13 KOs) and will be fighting for a 154-pound world title on March 8, challenging Carlos Molina on the pay-per-view undercard to Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo.
Shields spoke with BoxingScene.com about the subject on Feb. 19.
BoxingScene.com: This might be a minefield I’m taking you into, but who do you think is better right now, between Jermall and Jermell?
Shields: “(laughs) It is a minefield. I don’t know. Really and truly, I don’t know. Both guys are really good, man, and they’re a lot better than people think they are. Whoever fights them better come well prepared. These guys are confident. They are strong. They are really big, 154-pound kids, and it’s easy for them to make the weight. So these guys are going to give people fits in the next few years.”
BoxingScene.com: How do they play off each other in the gym? Are they competitive? Are they helping each other out?
Shields: “I tell you what, a while back, I couldn’t let them spar against each other because it was like they were fighting against each other, trying to kill each other to see who was better. And then I just had to sit them down one day and say, ‘Look, you guys aren’t competitors against each other. You’re on the same team. You’re with each other, and you’re going to always be with each other. You guys are never going to fight each other. And that’s one thing you’ve got to get in your heads. When you’re in here, you’ve got to help each other.’
“So that’s exactly what they started doing. Now I put them in there with no problems. They realize when one person is doing something wrong. They stop and say, ‘Hey, man. I hit you with this shot because you did this or you did that.’ So now they’re able to work with each other and feed off each other. And that’s why I put them in the corner. You will see Jermell in the corner with Jermall. He will be there, just like Jermall was there with Jermell when he fought Gabe Rosado. I keep doing that because they feed off each other.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]