Trainer Ronnie Shields isn’t too concerned about how his charge, Jermall Charlo, is perceived in some corners of the boxing universe.
The Houston-based middleweight titleholder is gearing up for his highly-anticipated Sept. 26 Showtime pay-per-view matchup against the Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko, in a fight that many consider to be Charlo’s biggest test to date. (Also featured on the card, scheduled to take place in a closed-environment at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., is Charlo’s younger twin, Jermell, who will face Jeison Rosario in a junior middleweight unification bout).
Derevyanchenko, an aggressive pressure fighter, is regarded as a top middleweight having lost – in disputed fashion – only to Gennadiy Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs.
For some critics, it’s high time that Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) faces somebody who isn’t a blatant underdog. But his veteran trainer, Shields, could care less what certain people think.
“He’s already a multiple-weight champion,” Shields said on the PBC Podcast. “You can’t go any higher than we are right now.”
Charlo was a junior middleweight titleholder before moving up to middleweight in 2017. He captured the boxing imagination in his last fight at 154 by knocking out Julian Williams, yet he has yet to produce a similar spark thus far as a middleweight. Most of that comes down to opponent choice, but Shields already foresees what the same critics will say about his charge should he end up beating Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOS). Trying to please critics, says Shields, is a zero-sum game.
“People are going to keep making excuses for Derevyanchenko (if Charlo wins),” Shields said. “It’s a no-win situation. It is what it is.
“After this fight, it’ll be something else.”
For Shields, the sport’s politics are to blame for Charlo’s perceived underwhelming resume.
“People are going to make excuses for whatever,” Shields said. “But Jermall is a world champion and he only fights whoever is put in the ring with him. He doesn’t choose his opponents. He’s been asking for Canelo (Alvarez), he can’t get him. It’s not his fault that he can’t fight the so-called top guys in the division."