Dallas-based trainer Derrick James says the sparring he sees in the gym between stable mate world champions Jermell Charlo and Errol Spence is best thing going in the sport of boxing right now, though none of us get to see it.
“It’s better than watching any other fights on Showtime or HBO. It smashes Golovkin vs. Canelo. You see Charlo and Spence sparring together, and you would rather watch them sparring than any other guys fighting. “
Charlo, the WBC junior middleweight titleholder and Spence, the IBF welterweight champion, have worked together for two years now. In 2015, Charlo left trainer Ronnie Shields at Plex in Houston to work with James, who already had then elite-level prospect Spence in tow.
James says the level of technical skill the two display against each other is unparalleled, but wouldn’t say which fighter, Charlo or Spence, gets the better of the action when the two square off.
“I don’t talk about that, man,” said James. “They’re both helping each other get to the next level. You just saw what they both did against their last opponents. That’s from working with each other to be honest. It’s phenomenal to have those two guys working together to push themselves to the next level.”
Charlo faces rising star Erickson Lubin on October 14 on the undercard of WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara’s title defense against Terrell Gausha. The tripleheader will be televised by Showtime and also includes IBF junior middleweight titleholder Jarrett Hurd’s bout versus Austin Trout.
Charlo-Lubin is the most intriguing of the three bouts on paper. Lubin is a highly touted, undefeated prospect who skipped potentially representing the United States at the 2016 Olympics to focus on a professional prizefighting career. He’s fast tracked himself to a world title shot at the tender age of 22 and plans making good on the opportunity.
But Charlo, 27, has looked as formidable as ever under James. The trainer told NY Fights Charlo has become a more complete fighter over recent bouts and that he expects the best version of Charlo ever on October 14. That could mean real fireworks. Charlo has become an aggressive boxer-puncher, and he’s knocked out his last three opponents.
“It happens because of the fact that we work a lot on defense,” said James. “He doesn’t have to move so much and he can be aggressive. He can come with his hands up and walk his guy down. He can be a more offensive boxer.”
James said Charlo’s soaring level of confidence as a fighter is helping him rise to the next level. He believes his fighters, Spence and Charlo, will be pound-for-pound list mainstays in the near future.
“I think that comes with the level of confidence he continues to get. He works with Spence. They spar a lot together. I think working with him brings that out of him. It takes him to another level. In this fight [against Lubin], there will be a little more diversity in his game plan. He’s going to show really how good he is.”