By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jason Galarza has heard about how much Errol Spence Jr. helped teammate Jermell Charlo prepare for his fight Saturday night against Erickson Lubin.
Galarza, Lubin’s trainer, doesn’t think those sparring sessions will make much of a difference when Lubin challenges Charlo for the WBC super welterweight title at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (Showtime). While respectful of the talented, undefeated Spence, Galarza doesn’t feel the powerful southpaw could’ve provided Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) with the type of work necessary to get the Houston native ready to beat Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs), also a hard-hitting, left-handed fighter.
“The situation with Charlo is he’s trying to catch a new groove with Derrick James,” Galarza said, referring to Charlo’s trainer. “It’s gonna take time to build that relationship. It doesn’t happen within two or three fights. A lot of people are saying Charlo got some great sparring with Spence for this fight. OK, there’s a possibility he did. But he used Spence for sparring for [John] Jackson and he was down in that fight.
“It won’t really make much of a difference. They’re two difference fighters. Erickson is different from Spence, a different type of fighter. He’s more of a pick-your-shot power puncher and Spence is more of a walk-you-down type of fighter. So they’re different.”
Dallas’ James, who also trains Spence, began working with Charlo before his sixth-round technical knockout victory over Joachim Alcine nearly two years ago in Houston.
Charlo’s victory over Jackson marked the second time James worked his corner. Charlo was down by the same score, 69-64, on all three cards before he knocked out the right-handed Jackson in the eighth round to win the then-vacant WBC 154-pound crown in May 2016 in Las Vegas.
Nevertheless, Galarza figures Charlo hasn’t had as tough a time with any of his opponents as when he spars against Spence (22-0, 19 KOs), the IBF welterweight champion.
“Derrick James said in one of his interviews you’re either gonna learn or you’re gonna get hurt in camp,” Galarza said. “And I believe he probably took some wear and tear in camp with Spence. That’s what my true belief is.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.