Like most of the boxing world, Derrick James came away pleased, if not in awe, of Errol Spence Jr.'s recent performance.
James, the longtime trainer of the welterweight champion (WBC, IBF) from Desoto, Texas, could not help but offer a glowing review of his charge’s dominant 10th-round stoppage of Yordenis Ugas earlier this month at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to collect the WBA 147-pound title, making Spence a three-belt titlist. That leaves Terence Crawford, the WBO beltholder whom Spence called out after his fight, as the only other remaining titlist in the division.
“I don’t know who beats that guy I saw on Saturday,” the usually hard-to-please James told FightHype.com. “I haven’t really seen anybody in boxing throw so many punches, some of them hard punches, break somebody’s ribs, break somebody’s nose, break somebody’s orbital bone.”
Aside from a sequence in which he was clocked with a clean one-two from Ugas that threw him into the ropes, Spence was in full control of the fight. By the mid rounds, he began battering Ugas with strafing body shots and pinpoint uppercuts that would eventually cause Ugas’ right eye to swell up; after the fight it was reported that Ugas had suffered a broken orbital bone.
The comprehensive beatdown was another reminder to James that while Spence may not be the flashiest fighter in the ring, his methodical approach is lethal in its right.
“You may knock someone out, but he is breaking them,” James said. “Ugas may never fight again. Unfortunately. That’s the difference.”
James also took aim at the legion of critics who questioned Spence after his two potentially career-ending injuries. Spence suffered a harrowing car accident shortly after defeating Shawn Porter in a welterweight unification bout in 2019. He came back to outpoint Danny Garcia in dominant fashion the following year. Then, last year, Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) suffered a retinal tear just a couple of weeks out from his scheduled meeting with Manny Pacquiao. One of the biggest talking points heading into his match with Ugas (27-5, 12 KOs) was whether or not Spence’s eye could hold up. James is convinced Spence has never looked more “vicious” in the ring than that Saturday.
“Nobody believed he was OK from the accident,” James said. “And then with the eye situation. The person that people wanted him to be is not that guy anymore. This guy in particular. He’s more vicious, more intent on being successful in not being deterred from his goal. That’s what you saw.”