by David P. Greisman
Junior middleweight prospect Jermell Charlo is coming off his biggest win to date, a clear unanimous decision over Gabriel Rosado that came on Showtime on the Jan. 25 undercard to Lamont Peterson vs. Dierry Jean.
That victory brought the 23-year-old’s record to 23-0 with 11 knockouts. And according to his trainer, Ronnie Shields, it puts Charlo perhaps one bout away from fighting for a world title at 154 pounds.
Shields spoke with BoxingScene.com on Feb. 19.
BoxingScene.com: What did you think of Jermell Charlo’s performance in his win over Gabriel Rosado?
Shields: “I thought he fought a perfect fight. I couldn’t ask for a better fight. He stuck to the game plan. He boxed Gabe like he was supposed to. You’re not supposed to just stand in front of him and go toe-to-toe. That’s one of the things that we just kept beating into his head: ‘You’ve got to just box him, frustrate this guy, and he’s going to do everything you’ll want him to do.’ And that’s exactly what he did.”
BoxingScene.com: Why did you think that was the perfect game plan for Charlo to use against Rosado?
Shields: “Just watching him in all of his fights, you know? For instance, the fight with Peter Quillin, Quillin came out and of course he’s a little stronger, so he used his strength against Gabe early, but then later on, Gabe came back. Gabe is a slow starter. And he came back. And he was winning some rounds before he got cut. So I told Jermell, ‘Look, he’s going to have to start faster. He’s going to have to do the opposite of what he’s used to doing. That’s going to work against him, because you’re going to wear him down.’
“It’s not hard to find Gabe. You can hit him, but you just can’t let him come back and hit you with two or three punches. You’ve got to hit, step around, keep going around him, and keep him off-balance with the feints, and keep shooting right hands at him. That, and a good jab. And that’s exactly what he did.”
BoxingScene.com: What does Jermell need to improve on now?
Shields: “For me, I think it’s just who we fight next. We don’t have any names right now. But I think the most important thing is that he keeps his sanity and realize that every fight is different. No fight is the same. We’re staying in the gym and just keep working on different things and waiting until they give us a name.”
BoxingScene.com: How close do you think he is to being ready for a title shot?
Shields: “I think he’s one fight away. I really and truly believe he’s one fight away from a title shot. He’s 23-0 now. The experience that he’s gained fighting his last few fights, I just feel that’s ready for anybody.”
BoxingScene.com: Are there certain titleholders at 154 that you’d like to see him face, rather than others?
Shields: “No, not really. I just think it all depends on who it may be. Right now, his brother [Jermall] is getting ready to fight [IBF titleholder] Carlos Molina. And then you have [WBO titleholder] Demetrius Andrade. He has a mandatory coming up. And then [WBC and WBA titleholder] Floyd Mayweather has the other title, and you don’t know what he’s going to do with it. So it’s up in the air right now.”
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]