Current and former world champions Andre Berto, Jermell and Jermall Charlo, Erislandy Lara and Abner Mares teamed up with business partners in their local communities to provide assistance to victims of recent hurricanes and earthquake.
As Abner Mares trained at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Century Boxing Gym last Thursday for an October 14 defense of his 126-pound title, the second of several supply trucks Mares and his team helped fill was headed for earthquake-ravaged Mexico.
Parts of his home country were devastated early last month when a powerful earthquake killed 370 people. Mares and his wife, Nathalie, a makeup artist, have joined a pair of Los Angeles-based businesses in loading donations onto vehicles, the first of which left on September 25, and shipping items to Mexico.
Nathalie has family living in Mexico City. For the past few weeks some of her clients have brought donated items to her Essence of Beauty salon in Downey, California.
“Nathalie’s promoting everything from clothes, water, canned food, baby diapers, baby wipes, food for dogs and syringes for needles,” said Mares, 31, who was 7 when his mother, Belen Martinez, came to Los Angeles with her children from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
“Nathalie was born and raised in Mexico City. Her Mom, a sister, a grandmother and uncles live there. Thank God, they’re okay, unlike in some places where they pretty much lost it all. This is what it really means to be ‘A fighter for the people.’ Using the platform to change lives when they need you to help our immediate family and our country.”
Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) is training to defend his title against Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs) on FOX (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT) as part of a 126-pound championship double-header on Oct. 14, featuring a title defense by fellow champion Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) against Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs) from StubHub Center.
While Mares champions Mexico, others have assisted with disaster relief in the wakes of Hurricanes Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida and the Caribbean.
“ This is what it really means to be ‘A fighter for the people.’ Using the platform to change lives when they need you to help our immediate family and our country. ” 126-pound World Champion Abner Mares
Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) is busy training for his world title defense on Oct. 14 against Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) as the headliner of a 154-pound championship tripleheader on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The hurricanes affected Lara on three fronts. Harvey ravaged parts of his adopted hometown of Houston, and Hurricane Irma rattled loved ones in his native Cuba as well as friends in Florida.
The Cuban southpaw trains under Ronnie Shields at Plex Boxing Gym in Sugarland, Texas — a suburb of Houston, 20 minutes from his home with his wife, Yudi, and three children. Two more sons, Erislandy and Robertlandy, live in Cuba with Lara's mother, Marciel.
"My family back home in Cuba are safe,’’ Lara said. “Houston has suffered with Hurricane Harvey. I've seen the devastation. Coming to the Food Bank with my wife is my little grain of sand to help a bigger cause. I come from Cuba, an island that is often battered by storms. I've seen people lose a lot to Mother Nature. I feel for them.”
Jermell Charlo shares trainer Derrick James with left-handed 147-pound champion Errol Spence, who has been sparring with Charlo at the R&R Boxing Gym in Dallas. While Charlo’s home in Houston experienced some flooding, James said their regimen has been unhindered.
"I didn't get a chance to really see my house [during Hurricane Harvey] because I've been gone,” said Charlo. “Everybody basically was like 'Don't worry about what's going on.' I'm trying to keep my mind off of it.”
Andre Berto delivered food and cleaning and bedding supplies last month in Houston. The two-time 147-pound world champion remains heavily committed to relief efforts in Haiti, his parents’ birth country, through his Berto Dynasty Foundation since an earthquake rocked the island nation in January 2010.
“It’s an automatic instinct for me. Being charitable is close to my heart,” said Berto, a native of Winter Haven, Florida. “In Florida people we’re prepared for it. But I’m still on the phones seeing if people need [help] and just checking on damage in general.”
Irma ripped the Caribbean, including St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, where trained chef and 175-pound contender Julius Jackson used his culinary skills to help his neighbors. Nicknamed “The Chef,” Jackson, 30, has fed thousands as manager and head chef for the non-profit, My Brother's Workshop Cafe and Bakery.
“It’s my home,” said Jackson. “I don’t want to be anywhere else but here, saving lives, doing what I can to rebuild. That’s my mission for as long as it takes.”