Scrawled across Jermall Charlo’s pecs: “Heart of a Lion.” The full-blown chest piece stretches from the middle of his sternum to just before his navel with a roaring, wild-eyed king of the jungle.
Cartoon cuddly Simba, this is not.
The sight of a “Lions Only” cap atop Charlo’s head is familiar, and if you don’t think it’s his favorite hashtag, then you’re clearly not using enough Instagram. It’s both motivating slogan and cri de coeur for his fans and compatriots.
“We all have the same mentality,” Jermall Charlo said. “Eat or be eaten. In the sport of boxing, it’s fall by the wayside and be consumed.”
Of course, the young lion is squaring off with a dog, 154-pound world champion Cornelius “K9” Bundrage, on Saturday at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut (NBC, 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT).
Maybe it’s best not to bring up Cecil the lion, or Minnesota dentists around Charlo. He takes the motif far enough to rock T-shirts with a lion standing inside the ring, championship belt clutched between its fangs.
But his dedication to leonine style goes beyond his personal motivational tactics: Charlo wants it to be a rallying cry for everyone still trying to find a way through their own personal savannah.
To get complete coverage of Bundrage vs Charlo, make sure to stay tuned to our fight page.