Derrick James, Head Trainer Of Errol Spence Jr., Reveals What Makes Terence Crawford So Great
By: Hans Themistode
No matter who is placed in front of him, Terence Crawford has systematically broken down his opponents. With the Omaha, Nebraska, native racing out to a spotless record through 38 career fights, many are under the assumption that only unified welterweight champion, Errol Spence Jr., will truly challenge him.
Following years of persistent and nonstop call-outs, the WBO welterweight titlist appears to be on his way to landing the one showdown he’s craved above all others.
This past Saturday night, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Spence Jr. wrapped his already gold laced waist with another world title. On the night, the Dallas product stopped a brave and incredibly durable Yordenis Ugas via doctor’s stoppage. With three of the four major world titles now in the powerful southpaw’s possession, Spence Jr. stated that Crawford is the only fighter he has any interest in fighting.
Unsurprisingly, Crawford smiled from ear to ear as he welcomed their highly-anticipated showdown next. Derrick James, Spence Jr.’s head trainer, openly admitted that he has yet to devise a specific game plan for Crawford. However, he did reveal that he has watched Crawford closely over the years.
If forced to list the one attribute that makes Crawford a great fighter, chances are, you’re likely to get countless answers from numerous sources. Nevertheless, the pound-for-pound star’s ability to fight as both an orthodox and southpaw fighter, his deleterious knockout power, and his otherworldly ring IQ – protrude to the top of most lists. That said, none of those previously mentioned attributes best describes what makes Crawford so deadly in James’ opinion.
“Terence Crawford is a phenomenal athlete,” said James during an interview with BoxingInsider.com. “Phenomenal athleticism. That’s what it is, his athleticism.”
While James is convinced that Crawford’s athleticism has brought him to the summit of boxing’s mountain top, he believes that simply using those God gifted athletic traits could become a fighter’s downfall.
“Athleticism is always fleeting, remember that.”
Despite James’ warning, Crawford appears to still be at the top of his game. After having his resume publicly chastised for the lack of big-name opponents, the multiple division titlist registered the most significant win of his career.
On November 20th, 2021, Crawford faced off against former two-time welterweight champion Shawn Porter. Although they fought on even terms early on, Crawford took over down the stretch. In the 10th, Crawford stalked his man, dropping him twice during the round before Porter’s father officially waved off their contest.
As Spence Jr. vs. Crawford draws closer, James isn’t expecting the now 35-year-old Crawford to get old overnight. In fact, the renowned trainer confesses that in terms of pure speed and ability to get off first, Crawford may have the edge over Spence Jr. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean James doesn’t have a trick or two up his sleeves in order to counter Crawford’s advantage.
“He’s very quick like a cat, his movement, very quick. Honestly, I think he’s been looking great, he’s looking phenomenal. Speed is phenomenal but it’s all about timing.”
Derrick James Believes It Could Be A Short Night For Yordenis Ugas If He Elects To Stand And Bang Against Errol Spence Jr.
By: Hans Themistode
Once Errol Spence Jr. and Yordenis Ugas agreed to unify welterweight titles, Derrick James knew it would be no easy task to formulate a game plan. Nevertheless, Spence Jr.’s longtime trainer believes that over the past few months, he’s figured Ugas out.
In just a few short hours, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Spence Jr. and Ugas will look to add even more championship gold to their already impressive collection.
Since suffering back-to-back defeats in 2014, and moving his then record to 15-3, Ugas has completely turned his career around. With wins in 12 of his past 13 contests, the former 2008 Olympic bronze medalist has firmly entrenched himself as one of the welterweight division’s elite.
Though Ugas is known for his come forward and aggressive style, the 35-year-old has a multilayered game. Amongst his many attributes, James believes that the counter-punching ability of Ugas has become something that he’s excelled at.
So, in an effort to negate one of the current WBA champion’s best traits, James reveals that he brought in additional help to aid in Spence Jr.’s preparation.
“I think that it was a good training camp,” said James to a group of reporters. “We had two really good fighters in the gym. Two really good counterpunchers. That’s really what Ugas does a lot of. He’s going 14 and 15 rounds so it’s good.”
As previously mentioned, Ugas has worked diligently on all facets of his game. But, despite adding several wrinkles, the proud native of Cuba has used his size and overall strength to bully his opponents into submission. In his most recent trip to the ring, Ugas registered the impressive victory of his career, a 12-round unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao on relatively short notice.
During their action-packed chess match, Ugas not only made Pacquiao miss and subsequently pay, but he also imposed his will while muscling the smaller Pacquiao.
In the case of Spence Jr., James smiles when asked if he believes Ugas will plant his feet and fight fire with fire in the middle of the ring come later tonight. If, for some reason, the Cuban star elects to go Mano e Mano, James is convinced that the three judges watching ringside will be given the night off.
“It’s not going to make the 12th round. I’ve seen him spar big guys and shoot those shots, and in two rounds, they’re depleted. So if that’s what he wants to do, it won’t make it to the 12th round. There’s no way.”
Derrick James On Gennadiy Golovkin: “He’s 40, He’s Still Fighting? Why?”
By: Hans Themistode
Gennadiy Golovkin once stormed through the middleweight division with ease. During much of his 20s, he wasted no time in putting his opponents out of their misery. Once Golovkin reached his prime years, following each of his fights, his gloves, boxing trunks and even the ring itself would be soaked in the blood of his opponents.
Known for the savagery of his beatings, Golovkin has slowed since then. With two hard-fought meetings against Canelo Alvarez in 2017 and 2018, the latter resulting in a highly disputed majority decision loss, Golovkin has spent more and more of his time watching the action from the sidelines.
Having competed just three times since 2019, dust has piled up considerably on the birth certificate of the soon-to-be 40-year-old. But, regardless of his age, Golovkin continues to carry on.
In exactly one week, Golovkin will attempt to unify titles against WBA champion, Ryota Murata. With Golovkin turning 40 one day prior to their April 9th showdown, Derrick James finds it pointless for Golovkin to continue fighting at his age. While the world-renowned trainer points a blaming finger in the direction of several for pushing the aging veteran in the ring, he believes that if something unfortunate happens to the future Hall of Famer, he should shoulder most of that blame.
“He’s 40, he’s still fighting? Why? Why is the manager still negotiating a fight if he’s 40-years-old unless he really needs something. This is the thing about these 40-year-old guys,” explained James during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “If you get in the ring, it’s on you for whatever happens to you. Be mad at the promoter, be mad at his management, be mad at his wife or his family for him getting in the ring, that’s on him.”
Despite the feelings of James, there appears to be no end in sight for Golovkin. In addition to his upcoming bout against Murata, he’s already tentatively scheduled to return to the ring in September against Alvarez. Provided, of course, he takes care of business against Murata and Alvarez is successful in his light heavyweight venture against Dmitry Bivol on May 7th.
Since given no choice but to swallow the split decision draw and majority decision defeat against Alvarez in their unforgettable contests, Golovkin maintains that he was given the short end of the stick.
If all goes well in their preceding bouts, Golovkin will be granted his wish of facing Alvarez once more. However, as their third collision seems inevitable, Alvarez has been the subject of unwanted backlash. With the Mexican star smack dab in the middle of his prime and Golovkin on the back end of his career, many view their possible clash as a one-sided mismatch in favor of Alvarez.
But, regardless of that notion, James believes that absolutely no vitriol should be aimed in the direction of Alvarez.
“You can’t be mad at Canelo for taking care of what he needs to do.”
Derrick James Shakes His Head At Possible Errol Spence Jr. Vs. Jermell Charlo Showdown: “I Don’t Want To Think About It”
By: Hans Themistode
As one of the more well-respected boxing trainers in the world, Derrick James has relished in his role of molding and creating world champions.
With both Errol Spence Jr. and Jermell Charlo currently on the cusp of becoming undisputed titlists at 147 and 154 pounds respectively, James beams with pride whenever the pair are brought up in conversations.
However, while James believes both fighters are worthy of pound-for-pound recognition, he could be forced to pick a side.
Recently, Spence Jr. was asked whether or not he would be willing to move up in weight and face his fellow stablemate and close friend. Although initially, the Dallas native appeared hesitant, he revealed that if the right financial package came across his desk, he would likely put their friendship aside and swap fists with Charlo in the ring.
“I think so,” said Spence Jr. on the DAZN Boxing Show when asked if he would face Charlo. “If it makes sense money-wise.”
Ultimately, James is crossing his fingers in the hopes that the pair never officially square off. In terms of who he believes would win, James was unable to give his opinion. In fact, the prestigious trainer refuses to even allow the thought of a Charlo vs. Spence Jr. showdown cross his mind.
“I’m not thinking about it,” said James during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “It’s not a thought of mine. I don’t want to think about it. Two of my guys fighting each other.”
In the end, James will cross that unwanted bridge when the time is appropriate. In the meanwhile, he continues to help both fighters with their upcoming bouts.
In the case of Charlo, the Houston native is in possession of three of the four major world titles at 154 pounds. Come May 14th, in Los Angeles, California, Charlo will attempt to become the division’s first undisputed champion since Winky Wright in 2001 when he takes on WBO titlist, Brian Castano.
Spence Jr., on the other hand, is hoping to join the three belt club in just a few more weeks. The powerful southpaw will officially take on WBA 147 pound champion, Yordenis Ugas. Should he become successful in their April 16th unification bout, Terence Crawford and his WBO trinket, will be the lone other titlist at 147 pounds.
Derrick James Believes Caleb Plant’s Skills Could Be On Par With Canelo Alvarez
By: Hans Themistode
Derrick James has nothing but the utmost respect for Canelo Alvarez. The long-time trainer has witnessed firsthand on several occasions the sort of damage the Mexican product can dish out in the ring.
However, with the unified super middleweight champion merely days away from attempting to become the division’s first undisputed titlist when he takes on Caleb Plant, James is struggling to make a prediction. On paper, Alvarez would appear to have the edge. Having won world titles across four separate weight classes, Alvarez is etched on to most pound-for-pound lists as its top man.
Regardless of his lofty placement, James isn’t counting Plant out. Not only does James believe Plant can go toe to toe with Alvarez in the skills department but the former Trainer of the Year runner-up is also convinced that Plant won’t be unnerved.
“I think Caleb Plant won’t be afraid of him for sure,” said James during an interview with Little Giant Boxing. “He will not be afraid of him. Not saying all the other guys were but I think they couldn’t match his skills and abilities. I think Plant might be able to match that.”
Currently, James and his opinion are in the minority as Alvarez is pegged as a significant favorite. Not only is the Mexican star expected to win but a feeling of apprehension has swept over the event as well. While Plant has worn his IBF world title for well over two years, the 29-year-old has yet to face someone the caliber of Alvarez.
Having faced the likes of Mike Lee, Vincent Feigenbutz, and most recently, Caleb Truax – Plant is mostly viewed as lacking experience against top-tier competition. In the case of Alvarez, the now 31-year-old has built his name and reputation off the backs of several great fighters.
Since losing a majority decision to Floyd Mayweather almost a decade ago, Alvarez has gone on to beat the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Daniel Jacobs, and Gennadiy Golovkin. Most recently, Alvarez was last seen in the ring putting an end to the career of former multiple division titlist, Billy Joe Saunders.
After spending years agitating Alvarez, the two officially squared off at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas, on May 8th, earlier this year. Saunders boxed well at the start, tagging Alvarez with several hard shots while boxing on the outside. Nevertheless, the British native would eventually succumb to an eighth-round stoppage defeat, thanks to Alvarez crushing his right eye socket and orbital bone.
With Alvarez and Plant coming to blows during their California press conference, Alvarez has promised to end their showdown in similar fashion. In spite of those threats, James has carefully juxtaposed the skillset of both men. After doing so, he expects a competitive and close matchup.
“Canelo is a phenomenal fighter. Caleb Plant is a very skilled, very athletic, very technical fighter so it should be a pretty good fight.”
Derrick James: “I’m Happy For [Yordenis] Ugas, This Is His Opportunity To Be Great, He’s A Phenomenal Fighter”
By: Hans Themistode
Everything was going right according to plan, up until it wasn’t.
Trainer Derrick James had spent countless hours looking over the game tape. With unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., a fighter James has been training for several years now, preparing to take on future first-ballot Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao, James wanted to ensure that his man came out on top with the victory.
Just as the two began putting the finishing touches on an arduous training camp, James couldn’t believe his ears as Spence Jr. revealed to him that he was unable to fight due to a torn/detached retina in his left eye.
Immediately taking the place of Spence Jr., is WBA titleholder, Yordenis Ugas. Although James was devastated for his fighter missing out on a career-high payday and the biggest fight of his life, the long-time trainer couldn’t help but smile for Ugas.
“I’m happy for Ugas,” said James during an interview with FightHype.com. “This is his opportunity to be great.”
Ugas, 35, felt contrite when he first heard the news. As a former sparring partner of Spence Jr., the Cuban native was thrilled with his fellow welterweight champion getting the chance of a lifetime.
After wishing Spence Jr. a speedy recovery, Ugas focused on the monumental task at hand. Currently, Ugas is pegged as a heavy underdog. Despite the overwhelming notion that Pacquiao will be too much, James isn’t quite convinced that things will be a walk in the park for the former eight-division world champion when the two clash this Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Having picked up wins in 11 of his past 12 contests, Ugas has successfully come into his own. His recent success, coupled with a long amateur career which consisted of 96 wins against just nine defeats, gives James all the more reason to heap high praise on the WBA titlist.
“Ugas is very tricky, very intelligent. He’s faced a lot of styles and he’s an Olympian. He’s a phenomenal fighter.”
Jermall Charlo Not Convinced Brian Castano Is The Best Fighter Jermell Charlo Has Ever Fought: “Tony Harrison Would Beat Him”
By: Hans Themistode
Most of the boxing world stood in awe of Brian Castano. Just last weekend, the current WBO 154 pound titlist took on unified champion Jermell Charlo at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Heading in, most observers gave Charlo the edge. While their contest would ultimately end in a split decision draw, there were plenty of onlookers who believed Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs) did more than enough to pick up the win.
Although Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) has racked up several high-quality wins over the course of his career, in the mind of many, Castano is a step above the rest of the competition he’s faced. For those who believe that’s the case, however, they’ll be immediately met with fulmination from current WBC middleweight titlist, and twin brother of Jermell in Jermall Charlo. Not only is he not convinced Castano is the best fighter his brother has ever fought but in fact, he believes he knows someone in the division who could defeat him.
“He threw a lot of punches,” said Jermall to a group of reporters following his brother’s split decision draw. “If you watch boxing you know. Tony Harrison would beat him.”
In back-to-back fights in 2018 and 2019, both Harrison and Charlo split a pair of meetings. Their first contest came in December of 2018. Despite being the heavy favorite, Charlo had significant trouble avoiding the jab of Harrison. That, in turn, resulted in the first defeat of his career, albeit controversial.
The two would do things again one year later but with vastly different end results. Charlo would score the stoppage win in the 11th after registering three knockdowns throughout the fight. Still, regardless of the explosive ending, Harrison was very much in the fight. At the time of stoppage, judge Tim Cheatham had it 95-94 in favor of Harrison. On the other hand, both David Southerland and Lou Mouret had it 96-93 in favor of Charlo.
With two close fights in the book between them, Jermall isn’t the only one who believes Harrison is a better fighter than Castano.
“I don’t think he was the best fighter he ever fought,” said Derrick James, trainer of Jermell. “He only had his way when Jermell stayed in one spot on the ropes. Other than that, he didn’t do anything. He’s not the best fighter he ever fought. I think Tony Harrison was probably better than him.”
Derrick James Believes Errol Spence Jr.’s Stellar Performance May Have Chased Manny Pacquiao Away: “When He Saw How Good Errol Looked, I Think He Changed His Mind”
By: Hans Themistode
Everything seemed all lined up for Errol Spence Jr.
Coming into his showdown against Mikey Garcia in March of 2019, the Dallas native had a surprising but welcoming guest sit ringside in Manny Pacquiao. On the night, Spence Jr. dominated Garcia, winning every single round.
The powerful southpaw’s eye-catching performance seemed to be just what he needed to prove to the future first-ballot Hall of Famer that he was a worthy opponent. However, according to trainer Derrick James, Spence Jr.’s lights out showing may have actually pushed Pacquiao away from taking the fight all together.
“Manny came to Dallas when Errol fought Mikey and he said he wanted to fight the winner,” said James during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “When he saw how good Errol looked, I think he changed his mind.”
Instead of taking on Spence Jr. (27-0, 21 KOs) as many assumed, Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) alternatively chose to take on then, WBA titlist Keith Thurman. Pacquiao would go on to drop the aforementioned Thurman before ultimately winning a close decision.
Since then, the Filipino native has been sitting idly on the sidelines. The reasoning behind his lack of ring appearances is mostly due to COVID-19 and the restrictions it places on live crowds from entering boxing events.
Pacquiao’s stretch of inactivity has recently led to the WBA stripping him of his world title and elevating then “Regular” champion Yordenis Ugas to “Super” champion status, while Pacquiao has been relegated to “Champion in Recess,” meaning, if and when Pacquiao does return to the ring, he would be given the first shot at Ugas to regain his world title.
However, Spence Jr. is currently in the midst of relieving Ugas of his newly won crown. On the Dallas native’s Twitter account, he seemed to indicate that since Ugas is in possession of the full title, he would love to unify against the Cuban native.
Pacquiao though, doesn’t appear to be in any rush to regain his championship status at 147-pounds. Several sources close to the situation have linked the 42-year-old multiple division titlist to lightweight star Ryan Garcia as a possible exhibition bout between the pair could be on the brink of becoming a reality.
While James would love it if his fighter was given the opportunity to face Pacquiao, he’s unsure when, or if, it will ever happen.
“I don’t know. I think he’s in the business to unify the belts so you never know.”
Derrick James Rips Terence Crawford’s Resume: “On The Pound For Pound List He Has The Weakest Resume, They’re Matching Him Like A Prospect Still”
By: Hans Themistode
Derrick James, trainer of unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., isn’t amongst those heaping praise on Terence Crawford for his latest performance. The WBO welterweight belt holder made it look easy in his fourth round stoppage win against former titlist Kell Brook last weekend.
Crawford, 33, struggled with Brook in the first two rounds before dropping and pounding him out shortly after. Following the win, Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) received loads of praise for his handiwork. Yet for James, although Brook was a former champion, he wasn’t the same.
“I watched the fight,” said James on Fight Hub TV. “But to be honest, I don’t know how to take it. Kell looked pretty decent but he was kind of shot and going in, they had to know that.”
Before James considered Brook a broken fighter, his champion in Errol Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KOs) fought the best version of him in 2017. Up until that point, it was by far the toughest challenge of Spence Jr.’s career but one that he passed with flying colors as he picked up the IBF title via 11th round stoppage.
The win by Crawford three years later isn’t viewed as impressive in the eyes of James. But even with the addition of Brook to Crawford’s ledger, it doesn’t compare much to whom Spence Jr. will be facing on December 5th.
“Even when you add Kell Brook to his resume, it still doesn’t add to what Danny Garcia has done. Danny Garcia has the deepest resume other than Manny Pacquiao and this is in boxing period.”
For James, resume and who you fight, along with when you fight them, is important. Because of that, he doesn’t believe that Crawford deserves to be considered the best fighter in the world, a distinction that has become the consensus in boxing circles.
“On the pound for pound list, he has the weakest resume. All of these other guys are fighting champions and they’re matching him like a prospect still.”
As of late, Crawford has received a ton of flak for the names plastered across his record. James struggles to remember any of the opponents that Crawford has fought during the course of his career. To the highly touted trainer, most of those names are unrecognizable.
“It’s apples and oranges. One guy has proven himself, the other guy tells you who his opponents are. With the Russian kid, Postol, we didn’t know who he was. They told us who he was. Then he fought the other guy after that, Indongo, we had no idea who he was. We still don’t know who he is.”