Chordale Booker: From a Jail Cell to the Boxing Ring

Booker discusses how boxing went from a form of physical therapy to a way of life.

By Maurice Peebles

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.

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