By Robert Hughes
This weekend Joe Boxing Fan is going to be asking ‘who the Bleep is Charles “The Future” Hatley and how did he get here?’
Answer: He is the future of boxing in the junior-middleweight division – if you ask him.
How did he get here? That’s a little deeper.
One fact can’t be blown off. “The Future” is the #1 ranked WBC challenger to Jermell Charlo’s title and if Hatley wins Saturday night he will have the ‘real’ super welterweight green and gold belt, not the secondary Silver model.
The boxing future for Hatley has been rambling down a long road for a long time and it has hit a few bumps and one big pothole. It sat behind the wheel going nowhere for long stretches.
That all worked itself out but now boxing world drama-watchers see him doing the unspeakable, signing on with the least-likely promoter available. If Charles Hatley choosing to sign with Don King was a Las Vegas prop bet it would’ve sold at 500:1 with not many takers.
The Hatleys choosing to sign with King is an odd choice even if it truly was Charlie’s only shot. It’s a choice inconsistent with all they’ve rejected for his entire career – but it is in line with his well-documented obsession to win a meaningful world championship.
Hatley is suing King for unknown damages. Fightnews.com® has not seen a cause of action as of publication.
So in the midst of a legal battle against someone who should be a trusted business partner, Hatley also readies himself for the fight of his life inside the ring against the twin Charlo. A lofty challenge that must demand all his energy and time. And have a little leftover for legal stuff. At the very least it has to be a mental distraction.
Hatley didn’t comment on the legal action against King while talking exclusively to Fightnews.com® last week while ringside at downtown Dallas boxing event.
“Naw, I can’t comment on that one.”
Another fact not to be ignored – it would be hard to pick a weekend out of any recent year that Charles Hatley wasn’t ring-ready. He works as hard at staying in boxing-shape as anybody in the business.
“It’s been real long but one thing about it, I never gave up and a lot of people counted me out because I didn’t sign with a big promoter,” he said. “They knew I’m one of the best fighters in the world and now is my time to prove it.”
Now the middle man of a well-established boxing family from the heart of Dallas is on the precipice of all that he has worked for – a shot at a high-profile world title.
Hatley arrived here primarily via two paths. One was winning the WBC Silver belt by beating Anthony Mundine down under in Mundine’s house.
“I definitely wasn’t thinking that for me to become a world champion I’d have to go across the world to do it but I was willing to do anything to become a world champion and that’s what I did,” he said.
“I went over there focused training hard and really just put my life on the line to do what I had to do.”
Given almost no chance to win, Hatley was a 3:1 underdog to beat the aging Mundine. But he showed up prepared, focused and took less than six rounds to stop the Aussie, and get paid himself.
Rumors were that Charles put down a fat bet on himself, apparently needing to pay for the entourage that traveled with him to Australia.
Say what you want about Anthony Mundine’s six losses [at the time] and his classic non-excuse of not having trained properly, but it’s not easy for anyone to travel to the bottom of the world and kick somebody’s butt in their own house, with endless opportunity for endless distractions, in front of people who see you as chum for the local land-shark.
He made sure Aussie fight fans know the name Charles Hatley.
Charlie earned that belt, he should be proud to wear it even it were aluminum. This is boxing, not bowling – it can’t be easy to win one round.
Regardless of his lack of familiarity even with American fight fans, the real WBC title will force him onto the top rail of the boxing’s rankings where the world will learn his name.
The other way he got this fight was by signing a deal with King for at least two events. The future will see if that deal was a wise road to follow and whether that is the focus of the legal complaint.
King promised him a title shot if he signed, Hatley did and this fight was made. But there obviously are details in that deal that the Hatley’s didn’t bargain for.
Charlie likes to stir it up – doing his best Shannon Briggs impressions at key events – like shouting down Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez during a public workout in Dallas before Canelo’s recent fight against Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith, apparently wondering why the Englishmen was shipped overseas to fight in Hatley’s house, er, AT&T Stadium. Charlie would’ve saved them airfare and maybe even put on a better show than Smith.
More recently he barged into the ring after Jermall Charlo’s recent IBF title defense, clueless to the fact that he was antagonizing the wrong Charlo.
Neither of the brothers much appreciated the lack of respect and Jermell has assured everyone he’s going to make Hatley pay for that exhibition.
Sounds like the mixings of a good fight. Jermell lives in Houston and recently has been working out in Dallas at Roger Rodas’s R&R Boxing Gym.
Have they passed each other on the street?
“I haven’t seen him, crossed paths or anything. I’m sure he’s trying to duck me,” Hatley said.