"We are already in pretty good shape. We sparred 13 rounds yesterday with 2 guys, Jermell Charlo and Adrian Taylor, so we've been training for awhile...this is the perfect fight for him. The layoff is just the business of boxing. Kell Brook was injured in his last fight. It's not so much about when it didn't happen; the time's now. You can't stop time," stated Derrick James, world-class trainer of top welterweight contender Errol Spence Jr., who talked about the long-awaited showdown with IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook. Check it out!
PC: The fight is finally set between Errol Spence Jr. and Kell Brook. It's been a long time coming. How is everything going?
DJ: Everything has been going good, man. We've been working out and training since 2 weeks after the fight with Leonard Bundu. We are already in pretty good shape. We sparred 13 rounds yesterday with 2 guys, Jermell Charlo and Adrian Taylor, so we've been training for awhile.
PC: It will be an extensive layoff by May when the fight rolls around. Is there any benefit that you can think of from this layoff?
DJ: The best thing about the whole situation is your body needs rest. The fight sometimes is grueling, the training camps are grueling, and we approach boxing like this is our jobs. So we working out 6 days a week. And the workouts aren't always tough because it's about timing and reaction time, but that's the key. We don't have to spend the whole training camp trying to get in shape. We can train for Kell Brook and not for conditioning and things like that.
PC: You really like to break down your guys' opponents. Have you gotten into that stage of it yet with Kell Brook or is it still too far out to really break him down?
DJ: To be honest, since the fight has been announced, I haven't even looked at one video of him. I'm focused on Charles Hatley right now, but by the time we are deep into camp, I will be done looked at everything and see what it is that he does. You know people come up to me and tell me that he does this and he does that well, but in my eyes, it will be different. I've been conditioned to do this for 40 years, so my eyes are a little different, so I think anyway. So I'll assess it and break it down and see what it is that we need to do to be successful.
PC: When I sit back and think about it, you have a young fighter who will be coming off of the longest layoff of his career, going to his opponent's backyard while competing for his first world title. It almost seems fitting because a lot of the greats had the deck stacked against them for their first world title fights.
DJ: It's like a blessing to me. What I would say about the situation is it's a blessing because of the relationship that he has with England and going to the Olympics there and what happened there in London. He's focused on being a pro and a world champ and he's put the Olympics behind him, but it's still kind of in the back of your head. So this is the perfect fight for him. The layoff is just the business of boxing. Kell Brook was injured in his last fight. It's not so much about when it didn't happen; the time's now. You can't stop time. You have to start moving forward and getting everything ready. It's beautiful that we get to go over there to England and have the fight over there. It's the birthplace of boxing. It's lovely, man, and I love it over there. A lot of people from America are coming over, so it's going to be a great fight and a great time.
PC: You mentioned being in the process of studying Charles Hatley, who of course is fighting your guy Jermell Charlo. What can you tell us about Jermell?
DJ: Jermell is looking great. He sparred with Errol and Robert Brandt yesterday. It's going great. It's great to have those two young talents to spar with and to help motivate you and to push you. I always believe in sparring up from the competition that you're facing. You can't get better sparring than Errol Spence and Jermell Charlo. I think it's great and it's going to be a great fight. I know Charles Hatley is tough and he's going to come to fight. I've known him since he was a kid and it's nice to see that he's made it to this level.
PC: I'm sure you have known him since a kid, with him being from Dallas. It has to be a crazy feeling to be in the opposite corner knowing him so well.
DJ: That's what it is. I have known him his whole life. His uncle was in my class from kindergarten. His father and I sparred when I was younger. And I've sparred with his uncle a few times, but he was bigger. I know him. We grow up and fighters change and people change and this is just a point in life that we have reached. It's great that we have a guy from Dallas that's reached the pinnacle and fighting for a world title, but it's my job to make sure he doesn't win the fight. That's what I plan to do.
PC: I think you are one of the few true teachers left in this game. I really enjoy watching your work through your fighters and we will be in touch because you have a few guys up. Is there anything else you would like to add?
DJ: Thank you for the time. I love the way the American people are becoming fans of ours. But that being said, we are getting a lot of people that think we are going to lose or think that he's not ready. So we just have to stay focused on who we are and not listen to it. I see it, but you can't feed into it. That's life and social media has made everybody a Monday Morning Quarterback. Normally you could go to work and talk to people in the office and it will never be heard. You can say anything. But now, because of social media, everyone has the platform to give their personal opinion as opposed to when it was just office talk or barbershop talk. People read it, but you just have to be smart and not reply and not get into it and constantly stay focused on who you are and constantly keep grinding. They'll see who we truly are in May. You've seen us in the gym sparring 18 rounds. A lot of people have never seen that. They've never seen him spar heavyweights, so when they talk about taking punches and this and that, listen, he spars big punchers, big skilled guys, and you've seen that. So a lot of people don't see how hard he works and how many punches he throws, so they don't know. So thanks for the love and support from everybody and I'm like Obama; I'm out!
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]