The most anticipated fight in boxing is far from official, but Derrick James is already preparing his charge–and himself–as if it is just around the corner.
James, the longtime trainer of WBC, WBA, and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., indicated in a recent interview that he plans to put his fighter through an especially grueling training camp for a potential 147-pound unification showdown with Terence Crawford, the WBO titlist.
Various reports have suggested that Crawford of Omaha, Nebraska, and Spence, Desoto, Texas, will meet later this year in a fight that has been percolating for nearly half a decade. Both fighters have publicly stated their desire for the fight after Spence unified three welterweight belts with a 10th-round stoppage of Yordenis Ugas in April.
James refrained from saying how far negotiations progressed, but he was nearly giddy with anticipation at the prospect of Spence becoming an undisputed champion. James is also the trainer of 154-pound unified champion Jermell Charlo.
“Listen, I’m just as anxious, I can’t wait,” James told Brian Custer during Showtime’s broadcast of the Mark Magsayo vs. Rey Vargas featherweight title bout. “This is the thing about it. I always want what my guy wants. If my guy wants that, I want that for him. That’s all I have to say. Because I cannot wait.
“I’m training for it already, working out for it already. We’re gonna push it. He’s (Spence) gonna have to bring it, because I’m telling you he’s gonna have to be able to push it to the next level because that’s where we’re gonna be.”
James, a former fighter, indicated that what sets himself apart from other trainers is his ability to keep up with his fighters at a high physical level.
“I train for the training camp for the fighters just like they train,” James said. “For me I want to be better. I gotta keep getting better.”
James added that he has already started his own pre-training camp workouts.
“I’ve been working out,” James said. “I worked out this morning. I’m telling you it’s on. I’m ready to go.”