Interviews

Published on September 28th, 2019 | by Percy Crawford

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Errol Spence Jr. Trainer, Derrick James On Shawn Porter Clash: “This Is The Fight They Never Really Wanted!”

Derrick James has arguably the best welterweight in the world in, Errol Spence Jr. They are looking to put his talents on full display on Saturday night against, Shawn Porter.

Trainer Derrick James has over 40-years in the sport of boxing under his belt. His dedication to the sport is put on display every time one of his fighter’s enter the ring. His boxing knowledge shows in his fighter’s approach and consistency in the ring. In 2017, James was named “Trainer of the Year,” by Ring Magazine. He currently trains top welterweight, Errol Spence Jr. as well as top junior middleweight, Jermell Charlo. James will be in the corner of undefeated (25-0) 21 knockouts, IBF champion, Errol Spence Jr. on Saturday night when he faces, “Showtime” Shawn Porter (30-2-1) 17 knockouts. Both Spence’s IBF title and Porter’s WBC title will be on the line. The bout can be seen live on PPV from The Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Derrick James pulled no punches in my recent conversation with him to discuss Saturday’s mega-fight!

Saturday night is the big fight, your fighter, Errol Spence Jr. will be facing Shawn Porter. Do you like what you have seen from him in camp?

Derrick James: Training was great. I was pleased with what I saw. I like the way he got his weight down and how he trained his body. I liked the grind. The grind in the gym was crazy because it was 110 degrees to 115 degrees in the gym. He pushed through it which was great.

Errol seems to go through a full body transformation where if you see him at a fight, he’s big and then a month into camp he’s already slimmed down. Is that just something he has down to a science or something you guys work on?

Derrick James: It’s just a level of discipline. When he’s committed he’s committed. You can’t be in that zone all the time because you would go crazy. You would be burnt out. So, I think that, when it comes to fight time and business time, he knows the situation. He’s in it. That’s the dope part about it, he has the ability to pop in and pop out. You don’t want him to live like that 100%. It’s too hard. You pop in and out. You can workout and train, but to be small like that all the time… nah man. Let him be himself.

Shawn keeps talking about reverting back to his old self, Errol being a southpaw, sometimes heads can come together. Is that something you have worked on offsetting and will you warn the referee to be aware of it pre-fight?

Derrick James: I mean we might talk about it pre-fight, but I’m not too concerned about it. I know it’s a possibility; even with a guy who is not known to be a head butter. We just gotta stay focused on our situation. We can’t let that play into our mind. For them, I think it’s about games and posturing. Just to have that on our mind would be a whole nother situation to think about. If you think about this, if we were weak minded and not on our own strategy and gameplan, he would be focused on that and if, Shawn got close he would just kind of shutdown. That could be something that they would possibly want. We’re not really into that. We are more focused on what we are going to do and not so much about what, Shawn is going to do. We know what the possibilities are and what the fighter could do. We know every motion he makes, but it’s all about what we can do.

Shawn seems to be a little bit out of character for this fight. He’s talking a lot more, seems to be a little angry in the buildup to this fight. What do you make of that?

Derrick James: I think that, he’s been the champ before, but he’s never been on this level before. He’s never fought on PPV before. So, what they are doing is, they think, this is what you do when you get on that level. This is why I think they are acting like this. They are out of source because they never been here before. Errol is younger and have less fights, but he’s been on this stage before. So, that’s the difference. What you’re seeing is a guy who is a fish out of water because he’s never been here before. That’s what you’re seeing.

You haven’t really engaged, Kenny Porter throughout the press lead up to this fight. He’s definitely been talking. Why are you not playing into his trash talk?

Derrick James: We never really talked like that, so I’m not going to talk to him now. We’re cordial, but I haven’t really spoke to him because I saw a little bit of the show and I don’t like how he belittles and demean his son. I don’t get down like that. I don’t think that’s necessary. I have my idea and my perspective on what kind of guy I think he is. And he’s never going to talk to me because I’m a boxing guy. I’m a real boxing guy. I fought pro and fought amateur and did all of this and did all of that. He is a guy that didn’t do that. They don’t like to interact with people like that. The guy who knows nothing who has a desire to know everything will want to hang out with a guy with experience. The guy who knows nothing but pretends to know everything will not want to hang around somebody who is experienced and knows what he’s doing, and that’s what it boils down to.

Shawn boxed more in his fight against, Danny Garcia, he definitely boxed more in his fight against, Yordenis Ugas. That’s far fetched from his usual brawling style. What Shawn Porter are you expecting on Saturday night?

Derrick James: I’m expecting every one of those guys. I think at every point of the fight, he will do something different. Because when that’s not working and that’s not working, he’s going to try something different. To go into an alley with guys who have machetes and machine guns and, and you’re bringing a butter knife. It’s something different. That’s what he’s talking about. I think it’s going to be all of those things. I think he’s going to have to try and box and then he’s going to try to come forward because that’s all he can do. I think he’s going to try to prove us wrong and show he is a good boxer. I think he will have to admit, I can box this guy, I gotta fight him. I think there will be stages in the fight where he will have to revert to different things; just like us. We will have to do particular things and different things also. The fight could have stages and it can be within one-round or four or five-rounds. I expect the Shawn Porter that we have always seen. This leopard will not be changing it’s spot.

Errol seems to be annoyed by Shawn and his father. More annoyed than I’m accustomed to seeing him. Is that because this fight took so long to materialize, is it because both Kenny and Shawn are doing a lot of talking?

Derrick James: I think that it’s everything. He hears what the father is saying. He sees the clown act that these guys are putting on. He hears it and even thought he may not reply to it, he hears it. You see the jealousy there. You see all of those things from my perspective and what I see. So, you just take it for what it is. Somebody who wish they were you. They knew you were coming all along. They knew we were coming to the party, but then once we got here, they didn’t like how they had to play the back. So, now they are trying to fight for their situation. This is the fight they never really wanted; I believe. A couple of years ago, they talked about it. “We’re not worried about, Errol Spence.” Said he’s not this and not that. We have the IBF belt, once he got the WBC belt, it’s a business, it’s about money and about dollars. They came to us and talked Shawn into it or whatever and it’s here now. Errol is not really annoyed, he’s tired of seeing people who are corny, try to make jokes. I think his daddy is just digging a grave because his daddy isn’t throwing any punches on Saturday night.

I see you have a website. You are finally branding your brand and I think it’s awesome, man. tell us about the website.

Derrick James: It’s like this, I have ideas. From my own perspective, I have profound thoughts about different situations and ideas, and I feel like, it’s finally time to promote it. I never had a website or anything, but it’s time to promote it. I’m in the branding stage; always branding. I Am My Greatest Competition.” I’m not competing against any of these guys. I don’t care what they have or what they do. I compete with myself and everybody else should do the same. Not worry about other people. Focus on themselves. I have a couple of other things I have been trademarking. Another thing that I have is called, “3 Dreams.” I say that, everything that I do falls under my 3-dreams. I’m living 3-dreams. Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream, I’m living my ancestors’ dreams and I’m living my haters dream. So, those are the 3-dreams I’m living right now today. No matter if you’re black, white, orange or yellow, everybody is living, Martin Luther King’s dream because this is the dream he had for America in a sense. We are living our ancestors dream because when they came to America, they had ideas to be whatever. For us as black people, never knowing that we could not be slaves. I put my best foot forward. And everybody that don’t like me, I’m living their dream too. We are living, 3-dreams, man.

I always appreciate your time, best of luck to you and Errol. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Derrick James: Just follow me at derrickdjames1 on Instagram or go to my website, www.derrickjamesboxing.com. Just trying to be the best we can be. Every step I take, I represent my ancestors, I represent the people who came before me and for me my whole thing is to make change. I changed the trajectory of what we were brought here for. So, now it’s just constantly keeping my son near me and getting my daughters ready. I’m just trying to inspire people. If I can inspire people, I’m happy with that. If I can keep inspiring people and motivating people, that’s a blessing. Also, rest in peace to, Andre Emmett. What a shame for that young brother to go out like that.

 



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