Saturday’s fight between Jermall Charlo and Julian Williams was built as a highly competitive matchup between two competitors primed to challenge for supremacy among the pseudo division currently dominated by Canelo Alvarez. As the bookmakers had it Williams was a slight favorite, and the late money followed this trend. The fight however, did not follow suite, with Williams being dramatically KO’ed in an otherwise competitive contest. One should think of Amir Khan, when imagining the seamless shift between awe-inspiring combinations and utter vulnerability.
As is typical of most great match-ups, Charlo and Williams demonstrated a palpable level mutual disdain for each other. Observers of online trash talk will know that Williams has gained a reputation in the division for consistently sniping his fellow 154 lbs. travelers. This tactic can be highly effective, particularly for a fighter such as Williams, who are forced to take lead in their own branding. What is also clear is that Williams slights were greatly effective in penetrating Charlo’s psyche, to the point they continued to linger even after the match had concluded. Eventually seen by Charlo’s refusal to shake Williams hand after winning via a brutal and beautiful 5th round KO.
This lack of sportsmanship was not missed by the crowd, whom instinctively returned a chorus of boos that initially seemed to energize the flexing Charlo as he made his way to each corner of the ring yelling from the ropes “Whose the fuckin’ champ now”. Watching from my home it was so refreshing to witness boxer double down on villainy, and cherish the role of heel that is utterly missing in the post Mayweather era.
But all of this was ruined the moment he started to walk it back with Jim Gray.
It is my opinion that Charlo, and fighters of his ilk, should have never apologize; There can only be so many happy go lucky Manny Pacquiaos in a generation. I say this because apologies, particularly when they are insincere, or uttered from a guy whose chest tattoo reads “Lions Only”, are in essence a pathetic acquiesce to the increasingly stupid fan mentality that athletes owe viewers some patronizing attempt at civility.
At what point are these assholes going to realize they are not tuned into to watch Boutros Boutros-Ghali make some call for peace at the UN. For those who are still confused please consider that you a literally watching two shirtless gladiators willfully attempt destroy one another. And if you still don’t get it please kindly shut your fucking mouths because you really don’t get it. You assholes are the reason Charlo felt obligated to apologize. A point that anyone who watched this past election cycle should know to be tiresome and invalid. When they say ‘You made us upset’ its only sensible to respond with ‘Fuck You’. Fans, and people more generally want villains. They need someone to hate, no matter how reluctant they are to admit it. In boxing the clearest demonstration of profit from villainy is seen through the career of Mayweather who has generated more money at the cost of remarkably little damage. People tune in for the guy who gives a middle finger when he is called to apologize, not the blubbering beta male that hires a PR team and that holds a press conference to explain away the reason he fucked his secretary.
(On a side note, just look what these assholes did to Tiger Woods)
Charlo may have missed his opportunity to double down, but that’s okay. Hopefully he has recognized the crowds reaction to his apologetic attempts as insincere, and will take them from now on as a call towards weakness. From now on Charlo, double down, and never, ever, apologize.
And if you need a point of reference I recommend you follow the example of the Iron Sheik.