"I just want to see him constantly grow and show the world what I know from what I see on a daily basis and the same thing that made Floyd Mayweather talk about him 3 or 4 weeks ago. Everybody in the gym saw what he can do. It's not like he is this guy that can just punch or is a bully or has great defense. He has a lot of attributes and I just want it to be seen by everybody. When I look at boxing, there are guys that can punch or just box, but he, in a sense, is the complete package....a lot of the opposition is not willing to step up, but we want to fight bigger and better names and we will see what happens. I just want him to constantly grow to where people say this guy is who everybody thinks he is," stated Derrick James, trainer of fast-rising welterweight Errol Spence Jr., who talked about their recent victory, their future plans, and much more. Check it out!
PC: Congratulations on Errol's win the other night. It wasn't a long night, but I'm sure you are pleased with his execution.
DJ: Yeah, the fight was short. That's not our fault; it just happens that way. I was very pleased with it because he started every conversation in his post-fight interviews by explaining what he done. It was great because it showed his intellect and intelligence and that he is aware of what's going on in the ring. He said, "The guy kept dipping every time I would throw a jab," so he said he threw the punch where the guy was gonna be as opposed to where the guy was. So it takes presence of mind to be able to do something like that. Even though the fight didn't go too long, for you to pick up a pattern that fast in the 1st round and figure out what the guy is doing, it just shows his depth and intelligence, and the better opposition we get, the more you will see more of his intellect and his intelligence, and like I said, I was very pleased with his performance.
PC: He showed a lot of patience with waiting on the knockout. A lot of young fighters, who hurt a guy or drop them, go nuts and punch themselves out. I actually thought Charles would see round 2 and Errol caught him with a good shot.
DJ: Well, you know, that's the key to everything because as a fighter, when I fought, I feel like if I caught a guy early, I knew I could get them, so I didn't rush it. And for him, I try to teach him about composure and he learned from the Lartey fight. He really wanted to get Lartey out of there, but like I told him, if he had slowed down his punch count and made each punch significant as opposed to throwing a lot of punches, he would have got him out of there. There was no way he could have got out of the fight. But with this guy, he slowed his pace down and just set him up behind his jab and everything was able to fall into place, man.
PC: He is progressing well. Where would you like to see him at the end of the year?
DJ: The thing about it is we have tried to go after different fighters and different fights and we had guys on the list who just recently fought for a world championship. The thing about it is that I just want to see him constantly grow and show the world what I know from what I see on a daily basis and the same thing that made Floyd Mayweather talk about him 3 or 4 weeks ago. Everybody in the gym saw what he can do. It's not like he is this guy that can just punch or is a bully or has great defense. He has a lot of attributes and I just want it to be seen by everybody. When I look at boxing, there are guys that can punch or just box, but he, in a sense, is the complete package. I never compliment him, but if I'm not saying something is wrong, that means it's right. I wanna see him just constantly grow, man, and a lot of the opposition is not willing to step up, but we want to fight bigger and better names and we will see what happens. I just want him to constantly grow to where people say this guy is who everybody thinks he is.
PC: From the several conversations I have had with Errol, it seems it wouldn't be a problem keeping him grounded and humble. Is that accurate?
DJ: Well, you know what it is? We've been together for about 6 years and when I first started training him I talked about humility. I think that winning is enough. I haven't mentioned it since, but when we first started boxing, I told him that winning is enough. You beat this guy, you don't have to taunt him. You don't have to humiliate him; you have already won. So with that, and I also think that's a part of his nature and who he is. As a trainer, why would I want to work with somebody that didn't know how to play his position? If he was a butthole before he started to train with you and then you make him better, you won't be able to tell him anything by the end of the day. He had a great disposition and he is a good all-around guy and he's pretty funny too, so he's good to work with.
PC: Another fighter out of Dallas that you used to work with, Jerry Belmontes, has a big fight coming up on Saturday against Omar Figueroa on Showtime. Do you like Jerry's chances in that fight?
DJ: I'm close with his camp and his management and I look for Jerry to win this fight. I think it's something that he really needs. I look at it like, he's been with 2 different promoters in the past 2 ½ years and he fought like 6 times. This will be his 7th fight. So think about it, 2 different promoters and now he's fighting for the world title. It's a great story; an amazing story. His manager [Adrian Clark] is only like 27 years old; this guys is working. A lot of people are talking; this guy is working. He got his guy a world title shot and I'm happy for them and I do really believe he will be able to beat Omar Figueroa.
PC: What is the boxing scene like in Dallas, Texas right now?
DJ: We have a lot of good fighters here locally. We have Charles Hatley; we have Hector Vazquez. We got several young, up-and-coming guys that's developing. We have a lot of guys get called out to go do sparring in big camps. We have all styles; older guys, tough guys, and gritty guys and fast guys. We spar on a daily basis out here. I believe in everybody helping everybody. If we have guys and we put them on or whatever, that's fine. We really wanna see everybody grow. We have a lot of good fighters here locally and if we can help you and you really, really want it, then hey, you will see a lot of other fighters emerge and grow up faster.
PC: I wish you and Errol Spence the best of luck and all of your other guys as well. Is there anything else you want to say?
DJ: I have another fighter fighting this Saturday. We just want to wish everybody well and thank everybody for all of the support and just continue success. I appreciate everything, man, and thanks for the interview.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]