Boxing’s Silence On Domestic Violence Must Stop



Boxing’s Silence On Domestic Violence Must Stop
Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp, Showtime Boxing

When a boxer puts his hands on women, the sport goes silent. This must come to an end.

The latest instance of boxing's widespread apathy is unified junior middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo. The 33-year-old was arrested Saturday in Texas and charged with misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury to a family member.

Charlo was released after bond was posted Monday, per court records.

The victim of the alleged assault was not named. On Tuesday, however, per court records, Charlo's wife, Chyane Westbrook, filed for divorce from Charlo coupled with a temporary restraining order.

In May 2018, Charlo was charged with felony domestic violence after he allegedly choked his then-girlfriend, Jazmyne Olison. The following year, he was acquitted of the charge after a jury found him not guilty.

Leaked Audio Reveals Charlo Bragging About Punching Girlfriend

Charlo, who resides in the Houston suburb of Richmond, may have difficulty convincing a jury that he's in the clear.

An audio clip of the pugilist bragging about the assault was leaked Wednesday afternoon.

“Let me say this off the rip, let me say this off the rip. Change your mind, change your mind. What I'm really saying is she plays big tough girl, but [she's a pussy]. I thought she was tough bro. I hit that bitch like this – POW – in the eye, socked her in the eye. Big, swollen, purple, can't open, and that bitch called the cops on me like a woman, like a regular woman.”

I hit that b*tch like this,” Charlo said while imitating a sound meant to imitate his attack. “In the eye. Socked her in the eye. Big swole purple thing came open. That b*tch called the cops on me. Like a woman. Like a regular woman.”

Boxing Turns A Blind Eye to Domestic Violence

Mike Tyson tosses the coin, and it comes up heads for Terence Crawford. Photo: Esther LIn, Showtime Boxing Mike Tyson coin toss

Mike Tyson tosses the coin, and it comes up heads for Terence Crawford. Photo: Esther LIn, Showtime Boxing

Throughout history, boxing has rewarded fighters despite their transgressions outside the ring.

Mike Tyson was welcomed back with open arms following a rape conviction.

In 2012, Nevada licensed Floyd Mayweather Jr. weeks after the five-division world champion was sentenced to 87 days in a Nevada prison after he was convicted of beating up the late Josie Harris, the mother of his children.

Adrien Broner, who has an extensive rap sheet, including alleged assaults, was ordered to pay $830,000 for sexually assaulting a woman in a Cleveland nightclub.

Gervonta "Tank" Davis received a relatively light sentence today in Baltimore: 60 days of house arrest and 200 hours of community service.

Gervonta “Tank” Davis received a relatively light sentence in Baltimore: 90 days of house arrest and 200 hours of community service.

Gervonta Davis was arrested in February 2020 after a video surfaced of him grabbing his ex-girlfriend by the neck at a basketball game before escorting her away. Davis was later arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery.

Nine months later, Davis was involved in a car accident when he blew a red light and crashed his Lamborghini into another vehicle. According to police, Davis left the scene of the carnage and left the victims, including a pregnant woman, hanging.

The woman, Jyair Smith, testified that she was trapped in her smoking vehicle while screaming, looked Davis in the eyes, and pleaded for help. The longtime WBA ‘Regular' lightweight titleholder, however, fled instead.

He pleaded guilty in February to four traffic offenses and was initially sentenced to 90 days of home detention at the home of his trainer, Calvin Ford. After he was found to be in violation of the terms of his house arrest, Davis served 44 days at a detention center.

In 2020, former world heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fighting and was sentenced to three years probation after he was charged with assaulting a woman he met at a party in 2018. He has also been sued in civil court, but the case was dropped, and a settlement was reached.

WBA World Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol has also been accused of domestic violence against his wife, although that situation seems to have fallen under the radar.

Long story short, boxing has a problem.

Boxing Lags Behind Other Sports

Other sports have evolved. Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco may never play baseball again after multiple complaints were filed against him for allegedly engaging in relationships with minors.

In April, Miles Bridges was suspended from the NBA for 30 games without pay due to a domestic violence incident involving his then-girlfriend Mychelle Johnson and their two children.

Where is boxing?

Jermell Charlo speaks at the first news conference in New York on Tuesday. Photo: Ryan Hafey, Premier Boxing Champions domestic violence

Will Jermell Charlo get a pass – again? Photo: Ryan Hafey, Premier Boxing Champions

Will this likely be ignored by the sport's power brokers?

Most likely.

The reason?


It's always about the money. Charlo is typically an exciting fighter with explosive knockout power, although that was nowhere to be seen in his last fight.

Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KOs), who resides in the Houston suburb of Richmond, moved up two weight classes on September 30 to challenge undisputed super middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) for his titles at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

He was the undisputed 154-pound world titleholder when he agreed to take on Alvarez for the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO belts in a Showtime PPV main event.

It was a rout for Alvarez, who dropped his man to a knee in the seventh round and won a unanimous decision via scores of 119-108, 118-108, and 118-109.

Charlo was overmatched from the onset, hardly landed a punch of note, and was thoroughly outclassed.

Sanctioning Organizations Need To Take Action

Unified super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo hasn't been in the ring in 400 days. Photo: Stephanie Trapp, Trapp Photos / Showtime Boxing domestic violence

Unified super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo should be stripped of his titles. Photo: Stephanie Trapp, Trapp Photos / Showtime Boxing

The most significant punch Charlo landed all year was on his woman, and was caught on tape bragging and laughing about it.

Is this a guy the WBA, WBC, and WBO want to represent their respective organizations as their champion?

The sport's indifference towards the treatment of women comes at a time when women's boxing is beginning to truly thrive.

Seven-division world champion Amanda Serrano threw more than 1,100 punches in the first unified women's championship bout contested at 12 three-minute rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory over Danile Ramos to retain the IBF, WBO, and WBA 126-pound titles nearly two months ago in Florida.

It was a historic night for the sport and for women's empowerment.

If Charlo is not punished in any significant way, it's counterintuitive to the entire movement.

If we're willing to make money off of women but unwilling to stand up against domestic violence against women, what kind of message does it send?

Charlo has three belts. He should be stripped and suspended until further notice.

Fighters get stripped for inactivity, failing to accommodate mandatory obligations, and refusing to pay sanctioning fees.

We can punish a fighter for beating a woman. It's about damn time.