Jermell Charlo got his first opportunity at a World Championship this past weekend with a fight against John Jackson, son of Julian “The Hawk” Jackson. They fought for the WBC Super Welterweight World Championship belt that was vacated last year by Floyd Mayweather Jr. upon his retirement. Charlo and Jackson went eight rounds before Charlo hit Jackson with a powerful left hook for a TKO.
Directly following his fight, Jermell’s twin brother, Jermall (who is older by one minute) defended his IBF Super Welterweight Championship belt. Both twins left Vegas with a victory and history was made. Jermell and Jermall Charlo became the first twins to hold world boxing titles in the same division at the same time, which was the perfect birthday present for the twins who turned 26 [on May 19] two days before the fight.
We got a chance to catch up with the WBC Super Welterweight Champion, Jermell Charlo, and talk reality television, his first purchase after his first big check, and what music artist he can compare his lifestyle to. Check it out below:
Let’s start with what a day in the life of Jermell Charlo looks like. From the time you wake up til the time you lay your head at night, what do you do?
First thing, I always pray or try to pray if I can remember that. I give my thanks early in the morning. Then, I have a schedule set out throughout the rest of the week so I kind of plan everything out on Sundays. I put it on a dry erase board depending on where I’m at or I’ll put it in my iPad.
I just wake up and do my thing. I have to train so sometimes I train in the evening time, sometime I train early in the morning or I’ll get up and ride my bike so I’ll just do a little physical work and physical activities. I try to go from there on to doing simple things like shopping. I own a business [Charlo Brothers Boxing Academy in Houston, TX] as well so I try to occupy myself around that. I try to be back home from all my work throughout the day like 5-6ish. I usually just sit back and watch the game and just relax at the crib.
What triggered your change from full time football and part time boxing to full time boxing and eliminating football altogether?
I was already boxing when I was younger, when I was eight years old. I also played little league football like the normal kids would do. I played football all the way up until high school. I actually played quarterback. It was the national tournament that I wanted to go to. I had already fought in Regions. I fought in State, and the next level was Nationals. After you go national you go international. So my concern was to try to fight and get all the way up there to the level of fighting international. So I didn’t want to let that fall by my wayside so I just continued on with boxing. Then I lost my spot as a starting quarterback. So I was like “Forget football!”, and that’s what really cancelled me out of football. I continued on with boxing and turned pro at 17. I turned pro when I was still in high school.
Any regrets with that route? Maybe you might have wanted to go to the NFL or anything?
Nah, not at all. I’m actually glad that I turned pro in boxing because I know how hard it is to actually turn pro at football. No regrets whatsoever, and I’m at a level of boxing where we’re making millions of dollars so who would regret that you know.
I heard your father didn’t want you guys to be boxers. Why is that?
No father really wants their kids to box. He didn’t force it on us. But, he did want us to box to the point where when we got into boxing he didn’t let us quit. So it was one of those kind of situations. I probably would have played football or something like that or got a little deeper into physics or I don’t know! I don’t know what I would’ve done if I wasn’t boxing.
Are you okay with your son following in your footsteps as a boxer?
I mean I’m just like my dad. I would let him get in the gym but I don’t think I would push him [or any kids that I am to have in the future] into the sport of boxing. It’s really hard. It’s difficult. This sport is not easy to make money. There are a lot of other jobs out there without all of the torturing that you have to do to your body. It’s mental frustration. It can beat you down for awhile. l’ve been doing this for a long time, 17 years and eight years as a professional so it’s even harder when you start climbing up the rankings on a professional level.
As twins [twin brother Jermall Charlo is also a world champion boxer], people tend to always focus on the similarities and how much you’re alike. What would you say is the biggest difference between you two that people may not know or be aware of?
We have so many things in common so if I choose to pinpoint a few things I thought I would have been single forever. My brother got married. I never even thought about him being married. l never thought about a future with something like that. I thought we both would have been single forever.
But we have so many things in common. We like the same cars. It’s not too many top designers out there fashion wise that we would wear different. We pretty much have the same style. But yeah, not too many differences other than the marriage thing. And I will eventually get married, I just have to find the right one.
Of course. What’s one lesson that you apply to your boxing practice and training that you also apply to your day to day life in general?
I try to stay focus on everything that I have in front of me. I try not to procrastinate on things. I try to practice on getting a release. Like in boxing if I’m already on weight and I don’t have to struggle to make weight then that’s a relief. If it happens to be fight weekend I just have to wait to weigh in on Friday to fight and be comfortable. So with my everyday life I just try to get bills paid and get things accomplished without procrastinating. That’s like a stress reliever. It’s a big cleanser for my soul kind of thing.
Speaking of paying bills, any advice to African American men on saving and investing? And who taught you the way or inspired you to manage your money accordingly?
Just growing up and maturing faster is what actually helped me want to be precise when it comes down to money. The only advice I would say is focus on what’s in the future. Focus on zero debt. When you think about zero debt you know you’re in a good situation.
One of the major things I tell a lot of people because we don’t all come up rich is that you want to make sure you take care of all your debt because it makes your credit score higher in which clears you in a situation that you put yourself in. And when you do get the chance to get money you can buy a home because I don’t care how much money you have unless you’re paying that house off you have to have good credit. Then you have to have a high enough credit score for cars.
A lot of African Americans fall by the wayside and get about 21 or 23 and get credit cards and forget about them or don’t care about them and don’t pay their bills on time. I’m 25 years old and I own a house and I have real estate. It’s not because of the money. It’s because I took care of my credit first and got lower interest rates and I’m able to make money now and still pay off these bills and still enjoy my life. Sometimes you have to sacrifice these small things like that and don’t worry about the miscellaneous things like cars and that BS can come later. As long as you have somewhere to sleep and you don’t have to move every 12 months. Think about how many people have to move every 12 months because they’re living in a lease or an apartment and the rates are going up. And I’m talking amongst experiences because that’s kind of real.
Can you remember your first purchase after receiving your first big fight check?
You know it was always a car. Talking about experiences, I have a nice car now and I want to get rid of it almost every time I get another big check. And it’s like “You know what forget that. I’ll just get a lady a car or something.”
There are some negative connotations with reality television. How would you go about your participation in reality television without tarnishing your image as a well respected athlete?
I would take it upon a level of being classy. I mean I’m a classy person. I like to dress in suits and in dress pants. l like to live a different kind of lifestyle. On a reality show, I would be all about my business. I would be fun and business but at the same time I would like to have a relationship so I wouldn’t want to ruin that. So I wouldn’t be one of the ones on the show trying to fight and start drama and beef and putting my name out there too deep. I want to take it to another level, a positive level in a more generated atmosphere but still be entertaining. But the entertainment part would really come from the competition that me and my brother have amongst each other.
I’m aware that you just turned 26 on May 19; reflecting on your life thus far, what advice would you give to your 20 year old self?
I was 19 when I had a child. l would have probably been more patient. I have thought about that a little bit in depth. I think that when I was 20 I would have just stopped worrying about the miscellaneous things. I was so focused on things that didn’t matter at that time. If I would have had my child a little bit later I would have been well established. You know I’m not with the mother of my son and that’s almost like a dream come true to eventually one day live with a child and raise the child in my home in a great community.
I know you’ve only been with Derrick James for a little under a year now. What’s something that you’ve learned from him that you hadn’t already learned throughout the duration of your boxing career?
I like how he takes care of his body and some things that I’ve learned nutrition wise as well. He eats really well. The dude doesn’t even eat meat. He only eats fish. He drinks a ton of water and just things like that. I was one of those kind of guys like “I want some soda. I want some Gatorade.” At that point in my career he was just like, “Man you got to take care of your body even during off season.” These are some things that he instructed that I must do. He develops power as well. I like how he focuses on power. Just simple things like that.
If you could compare your fight style or your overall lifestyle to any artist in Hip Hop’s lifestyle or their approach in the industry, who would it be and why?
That’s a really great question. I’m more of like a—I hate to say it, but I’m more of an Ace Hood kind of guy. I’m professional classy, but I’m from the savage. I’m from the streets as well. I just live in a better place now. I don’t know who that would actually be as an artist but I’ll come at your neck real strong because I got it in me, but at the same time you’ll never be able to tell that. Maybe Jeremih is a good one. Somebody that’s real low-key, real playa but gangsta on the inside.