By Jake Donovan
Dierry Jean is generally a happy-go-lucky kind of gentleman, especially since having turned around his life in the past year or so.
It doesn’t mean he’s incapable of holding a grudge from time to time.
The 33-year old Montreal resident of Haitian descent hits the road for the second time in as many title tries as he faces Terence Crawford this weekend. HBO will televise the main event live from CenturyLink Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska (Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET).
The scheduled 12-round super lightweight title fight is the lone live fight on an HBO tripleheader. The local main event will be preceded on air by the exclusive replay of Gennady Golovkin’s 8th round knockout of David Lemieux (managed by Camille Estephan, who also guides Jean’s career) and Roman Gonzalez’ 9th round stoppage of Brian Viloria, both of which aired one week ago on HBO Pay-Per-View.
Crawford makes the first defense of his super lightweight title which he won in April after having relinquished his World lightweight crown. Jean has won four straight following a failed title bid versus then-140 lb. champ Lamont Peterson last January, also on the road in Washington D.C.
A press conference to formally announce the event was held in Omaha in early September. Jean (29-1, 20KOs) was set to make the trip until realizing he didn’t have his passport to travel from Montreal. His team went on his behalf, with an on-hand poster-sized portrait of the Haitian-Canadian the closest the local media and fans would get to see the visiting challenger.
His absence became the butt of an originally intended playful joke.
“This is Dierry Jean, for those who don't know what he looks like,” Top Rank VP of Operations Carl Moretti commented as he briefly held up the poster, before placing it on the ground in simulating a potential fight outcome. “This is what he might look like on October 24.”
The quip drew a hearty laugh from the crowd as well as Jean’s team. Not quite as amusing to the fighter’s handlers was when Crawford’s co-manager Brian McIntyre decided to take a black Sharpie to Jean’s image, drawing an X over his face in dismissing him as a non-factor.
“I'm sorry you have to come this long way,” McIntyre said to Jean’s team. “You're about to come get an ass whipping this time.”
Most fighters are able to take gym talk in stride. However, there’s spirited ribbing… and then there’s crossing the line.
“That was disrespectful,” Jean told BoxingScene.com, not harboring any ill will over the earlier incident still fresh in his mind but at the same time not the least bit amused by McIntyre’s antics. “They will pay for that. Terence is a great fighter and I respect him in the ring. But he will have to pay for the way his team chooses to act.”
With passport now in tow, Jean made the 1,300-mile trek from Montreal to Omaha in time to help kick off fight week heading into Saturday’s showdown. The boxer and his team are in good spirits, but have plenty of motivation for turning in career-best performance this week.
“He’s already had the best training camp of his life and I don’t say that to say that – this is a second chance for Dougie to look spectacular and he’s embracing the moment,” insists Estephan, who was on hand for said incident. “The way Terence’s team has chosen to act – I think that Brian is not a smart guy. He motivated us even more. I want to thank him for that.”
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox