By Keith Idec
Charles Hatley took exception on a conference call Wednesday to trainer Derrick James’ assessment of Hatley’s sparring sessions against Errol Spence Jr.
James – who trains Spence and Jermell Charlo, Hatley’s upcoming opponent – said the two most recent sparring sessions between Spence and Hatley weren’t competitive. That, James contended, is why they haven’t sparred again.
An agitated Hatley completely disagreed.
“I heard everything that was being said, which wasn’t true,” Hatley said. “I sparred Errol many times. We worked several times. Whatever [James] wanna say, ‘Man down,’ that definitely ain’t true. I’ve got footage of us sparring. I tell Derrick and I tell him, whenever they’d like to come back, hey, they welcome back whenever. They know where I’m at. And I never seen him again.”
Hatley (26-1-1, 18 KOs) is from Dallas and Spence is from nearby DeSoto, Texas. James, a retired light heavyweight/cruiserweight from Dallas, has a very different recollection of how Hatley fared against Spence (21-0, 18 KOs), the unbeaten IBF welterweight champion
“The first time I saw them spar it was pretty decent,” James said. “It was pretty decent, but the two other times after that – because they’ve only sparred two other times since I’ve trained him. And the first time was pretty decent. The last two times were like, as Errol likes to say, everybody knows his slogan, his motto [man down]. So that’s what it is. And that was it. We never sparred with him again because it was not so competitive. So it was like unnecessary.”
When asked by a reporter if Spence knocked out Hatley, James responded, “It didn’t go the whole way.” He later said during an exchange with Hatley, “They stopped it. You got stopped.”
Hatley disputed James’ claim and offered to release footage from those sparring sessions as proof.
“It wasn’t competitive?,” Hatley asked. “Ask [Spence] that. Ask him that.”
The 31-year-old Hatley then brought up the times when he had sparred against the 45-year-old James, who retired in 2008 with a record of 21-7-1 (12 KOs, 1 NC).
“I stopped you before,” Hatley said. “You know that. We used to spar you all the time. I done stopped you before. … I have that on tape as well. I got a lot of footage from Errol, too, a lot of footage. So yeah, you wanna say, ‘Man down,’ I could put that up. I’ll put it up whenever you’re ready.”
Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs) is scheduled to defend his WBC world super welterweight title against Hatley on April 22 in Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Showtime will televise the Charlo-Hatley bout before a main event that’ll feature former welterweight champions Shawn Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs) and Andre Berto (31-4, 24 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.