When Jermell Charlo takes on Joachim Alcine on Halloween night at NRG Arena, it will be only his second time headlining a card—and the first time he’s done so in his hometown of Houston.
It will also be his first fight in Space City since March 2012, and the first bout there for either he or twin brother Jermall since the latter defeated Cornelius Bundrage in a 154-pound title fight in September.
“My mind is telling me epic night, epic night,” Jermell Charlo says of Saturday's fight against Joachim Alcine (NBCSN, 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT). “But you never know what to expect out of Houston, especially on Halloween night. These people party a lot.”
Just not after Texans wins. (Sorry, last five remaining Ryan Mallett fans.)
But it’s not just pro boxing that interests Charlo in regard to the city. There’s also a burgeoning amateur scene, and he wants to be on point when it comes to growing the sport in Houston.
To that end, Jermell opened the Charlo Brothers Boxing Academy several months ago, and he already has 113 amateur fighters from the area training out of the gym.
“I’m trying to take over Houston, all of the best talent in Houston,” Charlo said. “I have a nice amateur program. I go to their fights and support them, and they support me. It will grow, especially with me being the face of it.”
Charlo opened the gym against the advice from some people in his camp. They cautioned him that fighters who start businesses often fail with them—and that such businesses can be a distraction from the actual fight game itself.
Charlo ignored those warnings and hasn’t looked back. It underscores the importance of having his fight against Alcine take place in Houston, where all those young fighters can come out and see one of the town's top boxers perform.
It’s inspiration, but it’s also proselytization: After the bout, all of those 100-some-odd amateurs who frequent Charlo's gym can go out and spread the gospel that big-time boxing can—and does—work in a city that doesn’t necessarily have the reputation as a fight-game hotbed.
“I’m try to bring boxing to Houston," Jermell Charlo says, "and I’m the right guy.”
For complete coverage of Charlo vs Alcine, make sure to visit our fight page.