So Much Going On With Charles Conwell Leading Into Fight Of His Life
It isn’t easy living and it is even harder being Charles Conwell.
Conwell was the youngest U.S. Men’s Olympian in 2016 and had to make an adult decision at a young age to get that point fighting 28-year-old men, at the mere age of 17-years-old, that saw him inevitably qualifying for the highest form of amateur boxing achiements. Now at 23-years-old, Conwell is facing situations that a bitter 30-year-old man whose life had beaten them up a few times, would make them cry.
Conwell, who has a young family, is undefeated and all of his fifteen professional fights, and with eleven coming by way of knockout, across 76 rounds of professional action will be fighting on the undercard of Jake Paul versus Tyron Woodley, this Sunday, August 29th, on Showtime PPV, against his third opponent of this card, Juan Carlos Rubio, an undefeated fighter from Mexico.
For Conwell, the card has been everything he has wanted in his career, a big event in his city of Cleveland, and brought on by an unlikely boxing hero of the modern era, Jake Paul, who is doing more fighters in Ohio, than any other fighter at the present moment.
“I think Jake Paul is great for boxing,” said Conwell about the man putting on the show. “Jake Paul takes the sport seriously and cares about the issues fighters face, and is looking to make a difference.”
It is the job of the boxing media to guide the moral consciousness of the boxing fans, and try to steer them on a path that they will be presented facts and then can make their judgment from there. The problem is, the boxing media has been bought up by large companies, tied to promoters, which has created a divide in a sport, not unlike big business throughout the world where consumerism has overtaken fandom, and even morality. No longer can you drink cola, you have to be brand loyal to Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Some people like MMA, but I bet most would say that they watch UFC, and for boxing, we know have fans of promoters and a few and far between who are fans of the sport as a whole.
Maybe that is why Charles Conwell has been boxing’s best-kept secret. His promoter, Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment, doesn’t have the TV dates he once had but has kept Conwell active, yet not being paired with a television network has shown how few-and-far between are the fight fans who watch the undercards, and enjoy watching a 2016 Olympian climb the ranks. The exposure Conwell has gotten – has been weird, to say the least.
Conwell is being defined by things seemingly outside of his control to this point. Conwell will forever be tied to one name – Patrick Day, in a fight that will forever be a chapter in his book.
Patrick Day, one of the most beloved guys in the boxing gym, and would lose his life due to injuries that took place in a fight with Charles Conwell, and Conwell was being asked questions will reporters hoping to hear answers like Jean-Paul Sarte gave on existence – over-and-over again. Not just was it a sad incident it also showed that people haven’t really followed the plight of Conwell as this question overshadowed technical questions about his upcoming fights, fight style and even positioning in the division.
“I feel I am very mature for my age,” said Charles Conwell. “I understand the sensitive nature of the subject, and want to respect everyone’s perspective, but also have to be extremely focused, as I have an 18-0 undefeated fighter ahead of me this Sunday.”
The event was traumatic for all involved. Day’s family, coaches, and Conwell, who now has a young family, and is one of the best boxers in the world, but has been forced to think deeply about what his talents can do to another person. I am not sure about you, but at 21-years-old, the same age Conwell was when the incident occurred, I didn’t have the ability to think deeply upon trauma and come up with words to explain the emotion, I felt – yet Conwell was being asked by the biggest media outlets in America to give statements with deep reflection over and over. Oh, and sometimes he was being painted as a murderer, an unfair label, something that can demonize a young man already going through post-traumatic stress disorder.
Conwell went from being an exciting prospect to being a fighter who only got one type of question asked to him, so of course, his narrative arch as a fighter would now be steered in a certain direction.
Conwell has fought four times since that night, each time wearing a patch that is a tribute to Patrick Day on his trunks, not once on a broadcast has that fight not been brought up as it is seemingly the crux for every story of Conwell’s fighting career to date.
Conwell, who has the nickname “Bad News”, seems to be like a Charlie Brown character with a rain cloud following over his head at all times. Just last week it was announced by ESPN’s Mike Coppinger that Conwell had pulled out of his fight on Ring City USA with a fake injury on the advice of his manager David McWater.
“I haven’t been focused on [the fake hand injury story] that, because ever since that story broke there has been a lot of outside noise and I am trying to stay focused on my fight,” said Conwell in an interview 24-hours before weigh-in. “I don’t have anything bad to say about [David McWater] and he helped get me to this point in my career.”
Jake Paul, one of the most powerful people in the world since the internet has turned into the global language, Paul has mastered marketing on the internet, is defending Conwell. Say what you want about Paul, but he has stood firmly behind the fighters, and stood up for Conwell, hours after the story was reported on ESPN.
“We said hand because that’s the hardest to prove, I didn’t really think twice about it. I just said all right,” said Conwell in the ESPN interview to Mike Coppinger. “I asked if I can fight on both cards so I can get both of the money. He says ‘too close to it and don’t want to risk injury so we’re going to just do the one fight.’ I was just following the advice from my manager.”
McWater responded in the same story with the following.
“We could have pulled out for any reason,” McWater said to Mike Coppinger of ESPN.com.
Now allegations are a tricky subject. We deal with facts on this page, so we take heed of the statement, but since it has not been proven, we can not assume anything as allegations have serious consequences in all aspects of life. What it does say is communication with Conwell and his manager seem to be not good, and one step beyond, a statement released after Isaiah “Z-Wop” Steen’s last bout, a great win on ShoBox, stated that Otha Jones II, would be taking a major role in Steen and Conwell’s career from this point further. Steen is the half-brother of Conwell, and a good dancer might I add.
This comes on top of Diego Pacheco filing a lawsuit against the same management company, as well as Tim VanNewhouse who was one of the marquee guys in the company leaving, and now Conwell at the very least making accusations of bad advice as the allegation states Conwell pulled out of the said fight date under the understanding that he would be on the Teofimo Lopez versus George Kambosos Jnr fight. Conwell’s manager also manages Teofimo Lopez, and that bout fell apart last minute due to Lopez testing positive for COVID-19.
“Hard times bring people together,” said Conwell reflects on the struggles his family has faced in the wake of a natural health crisis that shut down the U.S. economy. “When you have a good support system, a good base at home, they will understand…they just try to be as supportive as they can.”
It is clear something is occurring, but the greatest truth-teller is time, which not just heal all wounds, but also reveals intentions and directions. It is clear with this information coming out, Conwell is unhappy. The 2016 Olympian, has been relatively low-profile compared to his other peers, and with a young family, and missing out on two paychecks, the economic strain seems to have grown thin, and Conwell lost patience.
Furthermore, Conwell can really fight. I think he is a generational-type fighter, and for him to be so inactive this year, is frustrating as he could rule the 154 lbs division if everything were to fall into place.
In the end, Conwell feels the financial brunt, strain, and scorn. A young man, who has had to endure a lot, and seemingly feels like a pawn in a boring, and cutthroat boxing business industry, as my hope is this doesn’t make him bitter towards his passion and craft of boxing. Conwell had high hopes for himself and is seeing his Olympic peers such as Claressa Shields, Shakur Stevenson, and Teofimo Lopez become millionaires, and now you can see he wants a chance to get the spotlight put on him, as Conwell achieved more than enough as an amateur and now has a solid professional record fighting in his fifth ten-round bout as a professional.
Am I a fan of this being in the public eye – no! I believe everything should be done in a private capacity, the public often makes a mess, of an already messy situation, but I am also not feeling the effects of inactivity while approaching my prime as a pro athlete who is looking to create a solid foundation for his family. COVID-19 shutdowns have put everyone into an economic strain, but for boxers and entertainers, the strain is felt far and wide, as activity was the only crutch for lower financial gains as more fights created a bigger budget to work with.
The fighters give so much in the fight game, rights, likeness, health, as promoters and managers, hold so much leverage with fighters such as the distribution of fights establishes legacy, monetary value, and the history as well context they are remembered in. For better or worse I nearly always stand with the fighters since the fighters get used-and-abused, often for not enough to retire on.
“We need to focus on one fight at a time more than ever,” said Conwell’s co-trainer, Roshawn Jones, who spoke to ITRBoxing exclusively via the soon-to-be-released ITRBoxing app. “Charles Conwell is the best 154 lbs fighter in the world, but now he has to prove it, and to accomplish his goal we have to block a lot of things out and have tunnel vision.”
The business of boxing makes me not want to be around boxing. It takes every seemingly good life lesson I learned in the gym, and reverts back to the high-school esque dynamics of the world I tried to escape from in my mid-20’s when I entered this world. It is favoritism, obsession with wealth, too many conversations with too few results, in short, the business of boxing is like going to a high school science fair assembly. You might see a couple of interesting things, but for the most part, you just are seeing things thrown together to make it work, just to get by, and that sums up professional boxing as a whole.
Conwell is on the brink of his biggest fight, this Sunday, as part of the Showtime telecast, on the Jake Paul undercard, and hopefully with an entertaining performance, Conwell can maybe continue to be featured on these cards put on by the Paul brothers who are breathing new life to the sport.
You can watch Charles Conwell fight tomorrow as the first bout of the Showtime PPV of Jake Paul vs Tyron Woodley, live from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sunday, August 29 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The SHOWTIME PPV is available for purchase now at SHOWTIME.com and via the SHOWTIME app,