Ronnie Shields is one of the most respected cornermen in the game and has worked with Hall of Fame fighters like Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Pernell Whitaker. Shields currently works with former 154lb champion Jermall Charlo and reigning IBO/WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara. Both fighters are set to return to the ring this month is separate Showtime boxing cards.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Ronnie Shields, I discuss with him Jermall Charlo’s upcoming fight against Hugo Centeno Jr. Shields talks about Charlo’s growth as fighter and a potential Gennady Golovkin fight. Ronnie also shares his views on Erislandy Lara’s upcoming title unification against Jarred Hurd. Additionally, Shields gives his thoughts on fighting Jermell Charlo and gives his prediction for both Jermall’s and Erislandy’s upcoming bouts. Here is what Ronnie Shields had to say.
Jenna J: On April 21st we will see Jermall Charlo return to the ring, can you let the fans know a little bit about the opponent and the fight that he has?
Ronnie Shields: He’s fighting Hugo Senteno out of Los Angeles, California. He’s a really good fighter who brings a lot to the table. He’s ranked right behind Jermall in the WBC, which is why they’re fighting for the WBC interim world title. We’re looking forward to it, we know it’s going to be a competitive fight and we’re looking forward to April 21st.
Jenna J: The WBC champion is Gennady Golovkin, are you looking at this fight as the key to a fight with Golovkin?
Ronnie Shields: The thing about Jermall, he’s already the mandatory but since Golovkin and Canelo were supposed to fight in a rematch, they told us we had to wait until after that fight to fight for that belt. We didn’t want to sit back and wait a whole year before we got back in the ring, so we decided to take another fight before that to try to keep busy.
Jenna J: Where do you see Jermall at this stage of his career? Do you think he’s in his prime right now?
Ronnie Shields: Oh absolutely, he’s definitely in his prime and at his best right now. He presents a lot of problems for everybody in boxing right now who is in the middleweight division. All of these guys know it, everybody talks but when it’s time to put up, nobody puts up, everybody shuts up.
The only thing is to continue to train hard, continue to fight whoever they put in front of us and that’s all we can do. We’d like to fight more often if that’s possible. We already have another date for August, but we’re not looking past anyone. What we want is to continue to fight and continue to show people that Jermall Charlo is the best middleweight in the world.
Jenna J: Erislandy Lara has a big fight coming up this weekend against Jarrett Hurd. Can you let the fans know about what he has in store for himself?
Ronnie Shields: Yes, he’s fighting Jarrett Hurd on Saturday night. Hurd is the IBF world champion, so we have a unification fight going on April 7th from Las Vegas as the Hard Rock hotel and casino. Everybody needs to tune in to Showtime to watch that.
Jenna J: In terms of an opponent, what does Jarrett Hurd bring to the table against Lara?
Ronnie Shields: It’s a tough fight because of Hurd’s style. Hurd has that go-getter kind of style, a lot of pressure. He’s a big guy and he presents a lot of problems. He’s a good fighter, he’s the IBF champion of the world. Lara wants to unify the division, so in order to unify, we have to fight the champions. Jarrett Hurd is first and then after this fight if everything goes right, then he wants to fight Jermell Charlo who is the WBC champion.
Jenna J: Does that potential fight put you in an awkward position being that you trained Jermell for several years and you train his brother now, or is it all business?
Ronnie Shields: Boxing is a business and that is something that we can’t forget. I see Jermell almost every day because I train his brother at his gym, so he understands that this is a business and that we had a relationship before but that relationship is over with as far as business is concerned. He’s moved on and I’ve moved on, and now we’re just looking to fight the best fighters out there and Jermell is definitely one of the best fighters out there that Lara can fight. We are looking forward to that.
Jenna J: Can you give your official prediction for both Lara’s fight and Jermall Charlo’s fight?
Ronnie Shields: I just predict them to win. I think Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd’s fight is a tough fight but it’s one that we can win. Jermall Charlo against Huge Sentenio, I definitely feel that Jermall is the better fighter and feel very confident that he’s going to be victorious.