By Peter Lim
Jermall Charlo is oblivious to all the over-used, cliched youth-versus-experience, boxer-versus-puncher comparisons that us media types (guilty as charged) love to dwell upon in the lead up to a fight. He knows that once the opening bell sounds, only two people's mindsets matter - his and his opponent's. No one else will be doing the punching.
Charlo (21-0, 16 KOs) attempts to wrest the IBF junior middleweight belt from Cornelius Bundrage (35-5, 19 KOs) at the Foxwoods Casino in Manshantucket, Conn., today. Having followed Bundrage's career since he finished third in season 2 of The Contender in 2006, Charlo, 25, is aware that Bundrage, 42, is very much more than a cliche in the ring. Age notwithstanding, the Detroit fighter could box and bang well enough to win the belt on two separate occasions in his late 30's and early 40's.
"I'm not necessarily worried about who he's fought or who I've fought to get to this point. That's all in the past. I'm only pushing forward," Charlo told The Houston Chronicle. "I'm not necessarily worried about my age or his age. I'm just going in there to fight, persevere with force and see if the old man can take it."
In his last fight, Charlo was extended the distance by Michael Finney (12-4-1, 10 KOs), ending a 14-fight knockout streak that began in 2010. But it was a blessing in disguise, Charlo said, since it served as a gut check on his staying power and deep-water endurance.
"It was a 10-rounder, the most I ever did," Charlo told the Chronicle. "I got to accomplish that and see I how I felt. I liked the work that I did for the 10 rounds and I got through it. I'm a strong fighter but I never look for the knockout."
His showdown with Bundrage was originally scheduled for July but postponed to September. Here again, Charlo considers the delay more of a silver lining than a setback since it extended his training camp to 20 weeks instead of the usual eight.
"I've been on weight all this time," Charlo said.
There is no doubt in his mind that he will dethrone Bundrage, Charlo said, and it will most likely be via unanimous decision. Should that happen, the city of Houston would once again have a world titleholder since Juan Diaz lost his three lightweight belts to Nate Campbell in March of 2008.
"All my life I've always wanted to be a world champion," Charlo said. "Every kid growing up who takes to boxing, their goal is to win a belt. I've been doing this since I was eight years old."
While Jermall's world championship dream is hardly unique to every young pugilist that ever laced on gloves, it is EXACTLY the same, down to genetic makeup, of his identical twin Jermell (26-0, 11 KOs), who is also hot on the heels of a world title fight.
Read more about the Charlo twins at: http://houstonboxing.blogspot.com/2015/09/jermall-charlo-fights-for-ibf-belt.html