Boxing Chordale Booker unveils his “Go The Distance” Foundation
STAMFORD — It was a full circle moment, by design, for Chordale Booker.
The last time that Chordale Booker was at Trailblazers Academy in the Cove section of Stamford, he was 12 and it was Rogers School. Booker was on the basketball courts in back and he was being arrested.
Now 15 years later at age 27, the undefeated professional boxer from Stamford was on stage in the auditorium of Trailblazers Academy speaking to a capacity crowd of students ranging from 11 to 17 years old.
Wearing a “Blood, Sweat, Respect” T-shirt, Booker was announcing the launch of his non-profit, “Go The Distance” Foundation.
He doesn’t want the assembled boys and girls to encounter the same obstacles in life as he did.
“The kids respect what I do. That’s why I feel a big responsibility to make a change,” Booker said later. “The love they give me is everything to me. I feel I can tell them things and they will receive the message.”
Booker has spent years working and mentoring at-risk kids in the programs set up at Revolution Fitness and Training Gym — first at 860 Canal St, currently at 579 Pacific St. — under the 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation of his trainer Ahmad Mickens, the owner of Revolution Gym.
Now Booker (12-0 in his professional boxing career) is ready to make his own mark with Stamford youth.
“The No. 1 thing I want to do is break down the barriers between at-risk youth and the police. I don’t want our kids to think they can’t have a conversation with a police officer,” Booker said. “I want to create a place with an atmosphere where we can create a dialog and conversation with both points of view.
“It was significant for me to introduce the Foundation here. To go back to the place where my life journey started,” Booker continued. “And to show that I was able to change my life.”
The students viewed the 20-minute documentary film on Booker’s life “The Boxer.”
They saw the turning point in Booker’s life. Where current Stamford state Superior Court Judge Gary White chose to sentence Booker to three years probation instead of a mandatory 13-year jail sentence for drug dealing.
Although it had nothing to do with the decision, Booker found out during his boxing career that White was a judge for USA Boxing at events across the country.
“Whenever I see Judge White I thank him for saving my life. When I got arrested, I thought my life was over. I had a number of friends that went to jail,” Booker said in the film. “I sold weed in middle school. I started selling drugs at age 12-14 because I wanted to buy a special pair of Nike sneakers.
“My family was crying at my arraignment. They looked so beaten down,” Booker continued. “They looked like the ones going to jail.”
Here in 2018, life is good for the 5-foot-9 Booker, a standout basketball player at Stamford High and runnerup in his weight class at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials.
His management team of Don Povia and Shannon Judd have made the “Go The Distance” Foundation a reality.
Booker, a southpaw, will attempt to improve his Super Welterweight pro boxing record to 13-0 Saturday in Charlotte, N.C. where he’ll face Jason Wahr. Wahr has lost four of his last five fights.
“Hopefully, it will be warmer in Charlotte,” laughed Booker, who last fought in September. “The task is to fight and keep things rolling. My journey continues toward the world title.”
The happiest person in Booker’s camp is his mom, Sheryl Morrison.
“The nicest thing for me has been the inspiration and drive I’ve witnessed from a front row seat on Chordale’s journey,” Morrison said. “It’s so wonderful to see the young man he has become. He’s become a role model in my eyes. Boxing is tough. You will get hurt. But Chordale has drive, passion and the heart of a lion in the ring. More importantly, he remains compassionate outside the ring.
“He doesn’t want other kids to have the struggles and make the same mistakes he did in his youth,” Morrison continued. “He’s blossomed into a great human being. The sky’s the limit for Chordale.”