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Dec 11 / King Kaufman

Bleacher Report writer Kelsey McCarson fights undefeated Jermell Charlo

Kelsey McCarson, a boxing writer for Bleacher Report and The Sweet Science, got into the ring last week for four one-minute rounds with undefeated junior middleweight contender Jermell Charlo.

And lived to tell the tale.

“I didn’t expect to be able to think as clearly as I could,” McCarson told me via email. The writer, who is, uh, a heavyweight, worked out hard for six weeks at the same Houston gym where Charlo trains. “I thought once he punched me I’d lose my composure, but that never really happened. The first round was the most anxious of the four, but that’s because the adrenaline hit me and I was flustered about how fast he was. He was so fast!”

In the Boxing Channel video of the sparring match, there’s a great moment when McCarson walks back to his corner shaking his head after one of the rounds. His trainer chuckles, “Yeah, he’s fast.”

Charlo and McCarson traded leather as a fund-raiser for 6-year-old Corbin Glasscock, a friend of McCarson’s from Tyler, Texas. Corbin was diagnosed with bone cancer in October, and he and his family were at the match, according to Boxing Channel. The event raised about $8,000 for the family, McCarson said.

Donations are still being accepted at GoFundMe/TeamCorbin.

I asked McCarson what it was like to get in the ring with a world-class fighter in his prime.

“I knew how much better he’d be than me, so I wasn’t surprised about that,” he said. “But I still thought he wouldn’t be able to be so close to me and not get hit very much. But he could pretty much do whatever he wanted in there.”

McCarson said Charlo clearly went easy on him, though the fighter did land a straight left that snapped McCarson’s head back, “and he landed some pretty decent body blows every round.”

McCarson said his ribs hurt the day after the fight, but when we spoke three days later: “My nose hurts. My neck hurts. My shoulders hurt. My back. It’s bad. I liken it to whiplash after a car accident. It’s that bad, bordering on excruciating at times.”

Well, you have to suffer for your art, or in this case, your sweet science.

Once the pain subsides, the lefty McCarson will always have the memory of landing a double right hook, to the body and head. “I’m pretty sure he didn’t expect me capable of throwing the combination, so that’s why it landed so well,” he said. “That was my shining moment!”