Derrick James Discusses Charlo vs. Spence - 'Elite Level' Sparring

By Peter Lim

As ringmaster at R&R Boxing in Dallas, trainer Derrick James has been privy to some brilliant action over the last three years – sparring sessions between Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) and Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs). Both are world titleholders, Charlo at junior middleweight and Spence at welterweight.

It is a blending of elite pugilistic skill sets, James said, tantamount to watching two pound-for-pound best fighters duke it out in a super fight.

"Everyone that I watch fighting on television is a letdown,” James said. “You see this high-level sparring and they're not going pitty-pat; they're really going at each other. It's the highest level of boxing I've ever seen."


Charlo could not have asked for a better sparring partner than Spence in preparation for his Oct. 14 title defense against Erickson Lubin (18-0, 12 KOs). Not only is Spence a southpaw like Lubin, he is being touted as a future Hall-of-Famer who can box, bang and brawl.

"Erickson Lubin is a very smart young powerful puncher,” James said. “The keys to victory is for Jermell to stay very focused, use his jab, use his intelligence and sometimes even use his physicality."

Spence and Charlo have forced the best out of each other in sparring, according to James.

"(Spence) brings out the dog (in Charlo). He makes him tighten up on his defense, he makes him work on his counter punching and he makes him bring out all the skills he has and he makes him the best Jermell Charlo he can be," James said.

"(Charlo) keeps (Spence) sharp. He keeps him on his toes. Jermell's very fast, he hits with a lot of power and he's very smart. Both fighters have to be very sharp and very keyed to each other all the time."

Unfortunately, the public will probably never witness the scintillating fireworks that’s produced when these two prizefighters collide. Charlo and Spence will not trade punches for money no matter how intriguing the matchup, James said, as long as he’s in charge. There will always be other lucrative matchups for each of them. 

"No, I wouldn't (allow it)," James said. "I wouldn't let them fight each other. There's no need for that."

Read prediction for Charlo vs. Lubin at:

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Kigali on 10-14-2017

[QUOTE=IBOX4LIFE;18135453]It's funny how folks still try this narrative when Paul Williams, himself, came out and said there was never a duck by Mayweather that fight was never really there. #The_Punisher[/QUOTE] Cotto said the same thing. He admitted that he never…

Comment by IBOX4LIFE on 10-14-2017

[QUOTE=factsarenice;18134951]Spence is a giant WW, still just young enough drop 20lbs to make WW. His body can take it for one maybe two years and making 147 will be too much. He's another Paul Williams. Thurman will likely take the…

Comment by IBOX4LIFE on 10-14-2017

[QUOTE=Edward90;18134922]People better recognize how good James is as a trainer. If Charlo wins and Brant beat Braehmer, he should be trainer of the year...[/QUOTE] I can agree with this 100% and honestly there isn't a close second.

Comment by factsarenice on 10-14-2017

[QUOTE=T.M.T;18134422]This is why Spence is so dangerous at 147. He spars with the bigger and stronger top level guys[/QUOTE] Spence is a giant WW, still just young enough drop 20lbs to make WW. His body can take it for one…

Comment by factsarenice on 10-14-2017

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;18134797]That's the benefit of being part of a good gym or fight team. Top level fighters can keep each other sharp.[/QUOTE] And they never have to fight each

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