Trainer Ronnie Shields has been in Jermall Charlo's corner for most of his pro career. He will be serving as chief second once again Saturday night when Charlo defends his WBC middleweight belt against Juan Macias Montiel of Mexico at the Toyota Center in Charlo's hometown of Houston. The bout will be aired on Showtime.
No overhaul was necessary in preparation for Montiel (22-4-2, 22 KOs), Shields said. Basic fundamentals and common ring sense have been keys to success for the undefeated Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) thus far in his career, Shields added, and his latest fight should prove no different. The 27-year-old Montiel's impressive knockout percentage was no concern at all, Shields added.
"I feel like Jermall can fight any way that he wants to fight," Shields said. "But we've got to fight smart. Jermall has, hands down, the best jab in the sport of boxing and we've got to use that. And if we get duked into a firefight, we've just got to be smart about it. We can't be swinging just to be swinging. In everything there's a plan. We're gonna shoot the straight punches and when the uppercut is there, shoot the uppercut.
"At the end, it's the smartest guy who's going to come out on top and Jermall's a very smart fighter and that's why he's undefeated."
In his last fight, Charlo, 31, outboxed the tough and talented Sergiy Derevyanchenko from the outside and fought him on even terms up close and personal for a clear-cut unanimous points victory. It was widely considered Charlo's sternest test and most impressive victory to date.
For this particular training camp, Shields enlisted Immanuel Aleem (18-2-2, 11 KOs), Andreas Katzouraski (6-0, 5 KOs) and Willie Jones (7-2, 4 KOs) as sparring partners. Aleem is preparing for a fight against Amilcar Vidal (12-0, 11 KOs) on the undercard of Jermell Charlo's 154-pound title unification bout against Brian Carlos Castano in San Antonio on July 17. Katzouraski, a former kickboxer from Greece, is the newest member of Shields' stable of fighters.
While fighting on home turf can sometimes bring added distractions like more promotional commitments, Shields said it has only motivated Charlo to shine in front of his fans. At the same time, Charlo is mature and experienced enough to not get overly reckless and take ill-advised risks."
"You get people screaming and hollering for you and you want to put on a performance but at the same time you have to do it in a smart way," Shields said. "It makes you humble and glad and excited that people are buying it."