The trainer to Errol Spence is Derrick James and he told me he guarantees his kid wins tonight at Barclays Center.
The 19-0 Texas hitter (pictured above, with easy grin, at Friday weigh-in) has sparred rounds with Floyd Mayweather, heavily before his fight with Robert Guerrero, and also Adrien Broner and Adrian Peterson and Shawn Porter. So maybe he hasn't had name wins, but, the trainer noted, gym is school.
Tonight, Spence fights Long Islander Chris Algieri (21-2) of Long Island and James says a win over him is most meaningful. “He's not going to give up, and a win shows how good Errol is,” the trainer said.
James, 44, was a pro from 1992-2008 and went 21-7.
I asked his prediction and said Spence would win “without a doubt.”
He'd say the same if Errol were matched against Floyd Mayweather, he told me. “With anybody! I know my guy. He's a winner, not a loser!”
And while he acts the nice guy, has a sweet smile, James says Spence has a properly nasty side.
Spence has sparred with a heavyweight, an elite amateur, and that kid reported Spence hit him harder than any heavyweight has. I asked him when he last had the urge to fight? “When did I retire? 2008? 2008,” James said, chuckling. “Now I fight with my mind, my intellect.”
We talked about “name” trainers and how maybe a James might get overlooked because he lost some as a pro. He thinks Nacho Beristain is the BEST in the business, and noted that his kid has beaten a Beristain fighter (Alejandro Barrera last time out) and a Freddie Roach fighter (Chris Van Heerden) the time before. Name trainer John David Jackson will be cornering Algieri, for the record…
The message: lot of great trainers out there, the fighter makes the teacher look better.
And if Spence keeps the hands high, jabs a lot, fights smart, the teacher said, he should win…and the teacher should look smart tonight, at Barclays Center.