I sparred undefeated junior middleweight Jermell Charlo earlier this month and lived to tell the tale.
Charlo, age 24, is one of the elite fighters in boxing today. He's been fighting since he was a kid, and he's on the way to competing for world championships.
The first time I stepped into a boxing ring for live action was against Charlo. I hadn't thrown a punch at anyone in more than 15 years, and no one had punched me during that time span, either. And all that was schoolyard stuff. I had never boxed in my life.
I was in big trouble.
But I had done the best I could do to prepare for the fight. I had trained for six weeks alongside Charlo and the other fighters at Plex in Houston. I had gotten into the best shape possible. I wasn't going into things without giving myself my best chance.
It's hard to describe the feeling of stepping into a boxing ring knowing full well you have no chance to win. But I did it, and I did it for a good reason.
Charlo and I raised over $9,000 for a kid in need from my hometown of Tyler, Texas. Corbin Glasscock, age six, went to see the doctor in October with a sore arm. Instead of being sent home with a cast or a sling, doctors diagnosed Corbin with bone cancer and gave him a 50 percent chance to live.
So every punch I threw and missed at Charlo had purpose. Every punch he landed on my jaw or temple and every time he dug his knuckles into my ribs was for something good.
Charlo took it easy on me. As soon as the fight started, he sized me up and had me beat. Oh, I was trying. I did my best. But it didn't matter. Charlo was too good.
But he knocked me around enough to leave me in excruciating pain for more than a week after. My ribs hurt the next day. My nose and chin the day after. For three days beyond all that, my neck, shoulders and back caused me more pain than just about anything ever.
But it was all worth it. Because Charlo beat me up for charity, and we did a good thing together for a good kid.
Kelsey McCarson is a boxing writer for Bleacher Report and TheSweetScience.com. You can contribute to the fundraiser for Team Corbin at GoFundMe.com. All money collected goes to Corbin's medical fund.