Karl Dargan’s first loss as a professional boxer in 2015 hit him hard. He ended up at a crossroads in life, considering his future in boxing. Meanwhile, he found success and love outside the ring in the music industry and on reality TV, eventually marrying “Love & Hip Hop” and “R&B Divas” star and recording artist Lil’ Mo.
It seems the self-imposed break was precisely what Dargan needed to reboot his career and regain his hunger for the ring. He resumed training in Philadelphia with his uncle, the respected trainer Brother Naazim Richardson. Dargan makes his return on Saturday, August 4, on the undercard of the Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev versus Eleider “Storm” Alvarez main event at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City on Saturday, August 4.
The fight card will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Dargan (17-1, 9 KOs) will face veteran Jonathan Perez (37-22, 29 Kos) of Colombia in a six round lightweight division contest.
Dargan chooses to look at his break from boxing as a benefit. “I’ve been in boxing 26 years,” said Dargan. “When you’re elite, you take things for granted. When something you love is taken from you, it gives you a whole different view.
“I don’t look at being off as a negative thing. I look at it as a positive thing. My body hadn’t had any rest in 26 years. With the time off I had, I enjoyed my family and rested up, and regained the hunger. When I was off, I didn’t follow boxing. I was keeping it off my mind. When I came back to the gym, it’s almost like it’s brand new again.”
Before Richardson agreed to train his nephew again, he assessed whether he was truly ready. “He checked off the physical, he had a great rest on his body. But I started checking his mental aspect, where his desire is. Does he want this?”
Richardson says Dargan proved to him that he does. “Sometimes, you’ve got to reboot. I feel as though he can beat the odds. But he’s got to understand, there is no time to waste.”
Dargan has rededicated himself, returning to his home town of Philadelphia to train. He credits his wife for taking on all the burdens at home to allow him to train without distractions. “My wife handles this so very well,” said Dargan.
Dargan’s fans and supporters are eager to see his return to boxing. “It’s dope! After all that long time, my fans and my friends are actually excited to see me get back in the ring. A lot have followed me since I was a kid. They’ve always shown me support. I’m appreciative.
“People come up to me and say, ‘we miss you in the ring!’ They don’t know how much I missed them. We all have adversity in life, it’s all how you deal with it and what you do afterward. I haven’t been this excited and hungry since I was a kid,” said Dargan.
Richardson said Dargan isn’t much different three years on as a fighter. “In a division like his, it’s all about timing, and you have to find that.
“Our top priority is to win. The second thing is to win without getting injuries. The third thing is to look good. But the top priority is the W. If he’s not cut or injured, we’ll put him right back in. I feel as though he can beat the odds.
“God makes his own plans,” said Richardson. “This could turn out to be the best thing for him. Since he was seven, he boxed consistently at the highest level. But I have no problem telling him the truth. In this sport, it can save you. In the streets, we have a saying. We’d rather get caught by the police with a gun than caught by my enemies without one. You’ll never have another chance to make another mistake.”