By Mike Coppinger
Junior middleweight prospect Denis “Da Momma’s Boy” Douglin was on the fast track in boxing. He has a great story – his mother Saphya is his trainer, hence his nickname.
He has the backing of a powerful adviser in Al Haymon. And he had an undefeated record.
This past February, on the untelevised portion of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, emanating from Salisbury, Md., Douglin, 23, was set for his first fight under Haymon’s guidance, a routine stay-busy fight for a rising prospect.
The opponent was lightly-regarded Doel Carrasquillo, a 38-year-old with a record of 14-17-1 heading into the fight.
Things didn’t go as planned, though, as Carrasquillo pulled off the upset, stopping Douglin in the third round. Douglin knows he took his opponent lightly, a mistake he vows to never repeat.
“I saw the guy fight a couple times, so I slept on him, it was a rookie mistake,” admitted Douglin of Marlboro, N.J. “It was just a big learning process for me, a learning experience. I slept on my opponent and as a result I got caught with a shot that I wouldn’t have got caught with if I was training.”
“So we’re just taking every training camp serious, every fight I’m training like it’s [against] a world champion fighter. I’m going hard, like I’m getting ready for [Floyd] Mayweather -- just going hard.”
Douglin (13-1, 8 KOs) returned for the first time since his loss, showing no ill-effects in out-classing Phillip McCants (9-3-1, 3 KOs) over six rounds earlier this month on the undercard of the bout between Paul Williams and Erislandy Lara in Atlantic City, N.J.
“It felt great to get back in the ring and knock some of that rest off,” said Douglin. “It was very important. It was detrimental to me if I lost back-to-back – I might as well get a janitorial job or something like that. So it was good, it was important.”
The silver lining of his loss isn’t lost on the Brooklyn native, though.
“That’s how Erislandy [Lara] got the fight with Paul Williams, because of his unimpressive fight with [Carlos] Molina, so I think [the loss] is definitely going to give me more attention. So I’ll just use it to my advantage.”
Douglin wants to stay active and informed BoxingScene.com that he expects to be back in the ring in early September, possibly on the undercard of fellow Haymon-advised boxer Andre Berto’s bout with Jan Zaveck.
“There’s no more breaks, I took a long break after my loss, so I’m energized,” said Douglin. “I’m ready.”
Mike Coppinger is a regular boxing freelancer for USA TODAY and Ring Magazine. He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, the Ring Ratings Advisory Panel and the Yahoo! Sports Boxing Panel. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger.