Not everyone in life gets a second chance. Sometimes the first big mistake is the last, the window of opportunity closes, and whatever life events were planned are sidelined by the reality of the repercussions. For these people "did" is often sadly replaced by "could've," "should've," and "would've".
Fortunately for Brooklyn-based welterweight boxer Chordale Booker, he is not one of these people.
Booker, 25, is a relative newcomer in the boxing world, but is undefeated and looking hard for opponents to boost him into contender status. But the real story is how Booker got to this point.
If you could please just give us a little background on who you are and how you got to this point.
Average kid, I was getting into trouble. Eighteen years old I got into trouble—gun charges, drug charges—and I just needed a better way out. So I decided to go to boxing as a kind of physical therapy. I didn't have to think about the troubles that I had. It was more of an outlet that turned into—I knew I wanted to be a professional fighter—but it turned into a real therapy for me. It was an escape from my everyday life. [The idea] of facing jail time. Me and dad were going through issues, me and my mom. So it was just an escape for me. And then it became my passion.
You got in trouble at 18 years old. What exactly happened?
I was outside with my friends, my brother, and we were actually just trying to have fun. They had lights outside at his basketball court. We were playing basketball, and a group of kids we had a problem with at the time, they were driving up and down [the street]. And one of my friends had just gotten shot. So my brother was like, "Yo, I need you to go...." So I ran, went and got a gun, came back, and my cousin already had one. They just pulled in and that's what led to the police coming. They saw the kids coming and they were trying to jump on top of it before something happened. Police stormed in and that was it for me. [Laughs.]
You're from Brooklyn, right?
I'm from Stamford, Conn. I was actually born in Stamford, but I relocated to Brooklyn for boxing. My whole mom's side of the family is from Brooklyn.
A photo posted by Chordale Booker (@thegift_7) on Nov 3, 2015 at 12:00pm PST
The borough has changed a lot. How do you feel about all the people moving into Brooklyn?
It's a lot more diverse. When I started coming out here for boxing, it was changing right before my eyes. They knocked down a hood to make the Barclays Center. And everything changed around that. They just started getting more people out and I seen a lot more different people coming in. A good change, but for some people it's bad because they lost their homes.
It seems like a lot of kids could use boxing as a therapy or hobby to keep them out of trouble. For kids who are naturally aggressive and already fighting, do you think that boxing should be a more common outlet?
Absolutely. The reason I feel that way is—when you get to hit something there's a different satisfaction than making a hoop or kicking a ball. Like, that feels good. [Laughs.] You needed to let that out and you got it out. I think that's why a lot of people play football.
People think somebody's great just because of the media or a video. I want people to keep creating these monsters, and I wanna fight them. And I wanna win.
It always amazes me that boxers can fight each other one day then joke afterwards.
Well, you gotta be honest. I think boxing is an honest sport. You're getting punched in the face, you can't lie like you can about laying up a ball or getting a touchdown. I'll punch you in the face. You'll know if I hit you! [Laughs.]
Where did "Mr. Get It Done" come from?
I think that came before boxing! There was this kid, he was big, and everybody was scared of him. He kept bothering me every day but I was like, "Man, I gotta stay on the basketball team. This is my last year, we're gonna win the [FCA state] championship this year." So as soon as the season ended, he was talking and I was like, "Today's the day. I'm beating him up." So I catch him in the hallway, my brother's like, "You sure you wanna do this?" [Laughs.] I beat him up through the whole stairwell, then got into a fight with his friend. My brother was like, "You're Mr. Get It DONE!" I was so angry; he bullied me the whole season.
What's the next immediate goal in your career?
I definitely want a big fight in the near future. At the end of 2017, I want to have a fight that people know me for. Put somebody in front of me who people know and think will beat me. And I wanna be able to beat them and show people, "Look, this is why I'm going to be the next big star." The media and fans create monsters. People think somebody's great just because of the media or a video. I want people to keep creating these monsters, and I wanna fight them. And I wanna win.