Trainer Derrick James is one of the new batch of boss trainers, being that he has Jermell Charlo and ErrolSpence under his umbrella.
The Texas-based tutor came to Brooklyn on Thursday, to be there for his guy Jermell, who’ll be facing Tony Harrison on Dec. 22 at Barclays Center. That tango is part of card topped by a Jermall Charlo title defense against Willie Monroe, and the middleweight get top billing because ‘Mall won a coin flip at the presser.
I chatted with James, who tied Brian Custer for Best Dressed honors at the media event, and asked about the Harrison scrap, as well as other matters of the sweet science. “Harrison is a great fighter, he’s a guy that’s gonna show up,” he said. He thinks Tony is an A fighter to start and maybe finishes a B, meaning his guy can break Tony down. James said that he thinks it entirely possible Harrison has grown, learned from losses, and so they will train for A grade Tony.
And to other matters….
We talked about the new boxing reality, and how Bob Arum is as per usual not being shy about casting shade. He called Al Haymon a “cancer” …
..and James didn’t want to step into that kerfuffle. he did allow that using the “C” word in such a fashion isn’t his way. “I think it’s beautiful,” he said, it’s great for ESPNs, and DAZN and Arums and such to be able to spend money. “Mr. C,” Haymon, his entry has lifted up the pay rates and that is a good thing for these athletes, who didn’t used to get such a big piece of the pie.
He thinks in 2019 his guys will be busier, what with Fox signing that deal with PBC, and Showtime re-committing to PBC. I told him I want to see Spence fight all the time, sooner rather than later. Does the inactivity frustrate him? Nah, he said, because he uses the time in the gym with Spence to help the kid improve. “Everything is about maturation, we use this time to get better, he said. Yes, he too wants him to fight often, because, hello, he gets paid when the kid fights. Does Spence get frustrated? “We don’t talk about it,” he said. But I saw him Tweet about needing a fight? “I’m not on Twitter,” the ex pro pugilist stated, defending adeptly.
“I have no control over that, I’m just the guy who’s getting him ready,” he said.
He said that Spence is best matched with Jermell Charlo, doing work in their gym. “I don’t see any of those guys giving him trouble,” James said. Spence will be sticking at 147 until he collects all the belts, he relayed.
My three cents: I can only wish I had James in front of me a couple hours later than I did…I wouldn’t expect him to say that he thinks Mikey is a coinflip fight, I will say that. He will give Garcia props for being tough and talented, but he will be thinking the same as the vast majority of us, that Spence is too damned big for Garcia, who will be taking up some weight lifting to gain musculature.
HERE IS THE RELEASE WHICH WENT OUT ON THE CHARLO PRESSER:
BROOKLYN (October 25, 2018) – Twin brothers and world champions Jermall Charlo and Jermell Charlo took part in a press conference in Brooklyn Thursday to announce their fights that kick off a new season of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes live in primetime on Saturday, December 22 at Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
With twin titans entering the ring in back-to-back fights, a coin toss was conducted at the press conference by legendary heavyweight Gerry Cooney to decide who would be the main event. With a call of heads on the WBC commemorative coin, Jermall won the right to enter the ring last on fight night as he takes on Willie Monroe Jr., while Jermell will battle Tony Harrison.
The PBC on FOX and FOX Deportes broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the show, which is being promoted by Lions Only Promotions and TGB Promotions in association with DiBella Entertainment, go on sale Friday, October 26 at 10 a.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center starting Saturday, October 27 at noon ET. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from the Barclays Center GEICO Atrium:
“I got a good chance to see Monroe up close when I commentated his last fight. He looked good and I knew this was a possibility. I’m excited that it’s here and I have someone to perform against.
“Monroe has tested himself against some of the best fighters in the world and that motivates me even more. He’s faced the fighters that I want to get in there with, so I see this as an opportunity to measure myself against their performances.
“This is our first show with Lions Only Promotions for me and my brother and we’re really excited to have the opportunity. We’ve worked hard to get this thing going and we’re ready to show everyone all we can do.
“We always dreamed of fighting on the same card like this with each other. We love winning together. It’s been like this all of our lives and it’s another chance for us to show-off together on December 22.
“I’ve worked so hard to make it to this point where I’m able to be in this position. I promise on December 22 I’m going to bring something explosive that Willie Monroe is going to remember for the rest of his life. The Charlos have their own show. Mama, we made it!”
WILLIE MONROE JR.
“I’m glad that Jermall took this fight. He was commentating my last fight and I knew then that this was a fight I definitely wanted a lot. I’m going to take the most of it and leave no doubt that I deserved this chance in the first place.
“My team has really stuck through with me and now I’m at such an exciting time in my career. I know that I have the tools to get the job done on December 22. It’s my second time fighting at Barclays Center and I know none of the bright lights are going to affect me.
“I’m at a great time in my career. I have the opportunities in front of me and a path to making the most of it. It’s just time for me to show up. I know what I have to do against one of the top fighters in the world. We’re going to make it happen.”
“Tony Harrison is a great fighter and I’m happy to be up against him. There are a lot of great fighters in this division and he’s another quality one. He’s dropped 21 fighters, so we know he has power. I feel like I’ve faced the much tougher competition and I’m going to show it on December 22.
“I love Brooklyn and I’m excited to be on the first PBC on FOX show of this new deal. You can forget the critics because this is going to be a great fight. Me and Tony Harrison are coming to fight. It’s going to be two strong explosive guys leaving it all out there.
“It’s great to have our own Charlos card. We’ve already been in training camp working hard for this one. Now we’re going to lock in even more and I know we’ll be at our best on fight night.
“We’re driven by our legacy. Right now we’re going to keep increasing out levels in this sport. We know that the biggest fights are in our reach. We’ve always been competing against each other and trying to lift each other up.
“This is something big for the Charlo twins and Lions Only Promotions. We’re going to do what we always do, and that’s bring it on fight night with some heat and flavor. We understand that part of boxing. It’s going to be an exciting night for Brooklyn.”
“I’m excited to be back here at this spot fighting at Barclays Center again. I’ve been so resilient in this sport. I haven’t talked my way into this fight. I have been ready for any fight offered to me and it was no different with this fight.
“Sometimes there are things you have to do for yourself and this fight is one of them. In my heart I know I’m supposed to be here and I know what I’m capable of. Charlo is a true champion for taking this fight and he obviously has a great team around him. He applies pressure to himself to keep competing on this level each time and I respect that.
“We’re both very competitive and that defines us as fighters, so I believe that’s going to add up to make this a truly explosive fight. I was honestly surprised that he took the fight, and I commend him as an athlete. He knows the danger in this fight that he’s taking.
“I’ve been at this level before. I’ve taken my bumps and bruises. I’ve always came through as a true champion and all of it has led me to where I am right now. On December 22, I guarantee I’m going to show up and leave it all in the ring.”
RONNIE SHIELDS, Jermall’s Trainer
“It’s a pleasure to be here, especially with a great fighter like Jermall. I’m looking forward to fight night. Jermall trains so hard every day. He knows this is going to be a tough fight and he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I hope everyone comes out and enjoys the show, because Jermall is grinding each day to be at his very best. He’s a special fighter and he never cheats us in the gym. This is going to be a night you don’t want to miss.”
DERRICK JAMES, Jermell’s Trainer
“This is going to be a great fight. We know who Tony Harrison is and what he’s about. He’s very tough and he comes to win. I thought he was up on the cards when he faced Jarrett Hurd and now he’s going to challenge Jermell, so we could start to have a chance to see how everyone stacks up at the top of this division.
“We’re going to come in shape and be ready. This is going to help build us up to what’s next for us and what our long term goals are. Make sure you come out and see what we’re going to bring into the ring on fight night.”
TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions
“I’m thankful to everyone for being here for this announcement of a sensational show that will take place here at Barclays Center. It’s an honor to be here to kick off this FOX series on December 22.
“This is going to be another high quality card at Barclays Center. They were recently named PBC’s official East Coast venue and we’re thrilled to start that agreement with this fight.
“Both of the Charlos have fought at Barclays Center before, and Harrison and Monroe have also fought here, with all of them combining for a perfect record. There’s something about this building that brings out the best in fighters and we can’t wait to see what’s in-store from these great fighters on December 22.”
STEVE BECKER, Vice President of Production for PBC on FOX
“FOX Sports is very excited to be kicking off their new partnership with PBC live on FOX and FOX Deportes beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT with these exceptional fights. This is free TV on FOX and FOX Deportes and we’re excited to have these matchups step into the ring on December 22.
“FOX has a long tradition of covering combat sports and we look forward to continuing that and highlighting the stellar lineup of PBC boxers, as we start a new era of boxing.”
BRETT YORMARK, CEO of BSE Global
“We’re truly honored and thrilled to host the first PBC on FOX event as part of this new partnership on December 22 in Brooklyn. We are the new mecca of boxing and I’m very proud of it.
“Jermell and Jermall have both experienced incredible success in this building and I’m excited for them to co-headline this card. It will be historic for you and this building. We consider you members of the BROOKLYN BOXING family. I have a twin in the same industry as me, so I understand what it means to be recognized on the highest level with alongside your brother.
“Willie Monroe you’re a tough competitor and I’m confident you will put on another great show here. It’s also an honor to have Tony Harrison here with us and fighting back at Barclays Center. I look forward to seeing everyone on December 22. This is truly a holiday gift to all of Brooklyn and we anticipate a huge crowd.”
Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.