Derrick James: Trainer of the Year

Derrick James moved to the head of the class in 2017

The job of a boxing trainer can be at times one of the most hectic occupations there is. It’s not just about coaching a fighter or giving them instructions between rounds, there’s so much more involved.

A trainer is a planning coordinator, a travel agent, a public relations representative, a motivational speaker and more all rolled into one and that’s before you ever put on a set of mitts. It’s for these reasons and many more we feel that the Trainer of the Year award it’s arguably the most important in the sport.

There definitely wasn’t a lack of quality candidates in 2017 either when it comes to TOTY.

Anatoly Lomachenko, the father of champion Vasyl, has used high-tech training methods to turn his son into one of the best technical boxers in the world. His son went 3-0 in 2017 and defended his WBO super featherweight title each time.

Brian McIntyre, the trainer of Terence Crawford, lead his fighter to historical levels this year when Crawford was able to become the first man in any weight class in over a decade to be an undisputed champion. A feat they accomplished together in August.

Robert Garcia, who has developed younger brother Mikey into a three-division champion and made it seem like Mikey’s 2½-year layoff never happened. Garcia has a larger contingency of fighters in his stable than either McIntyre or the elder Lomachenko.

As great a year as those three had it still wasn’t enough to propel any of them past our winner Derrick James. James won our fan poll as well as our Editor’s panel vote for the Trainer of the Year.

While James is perhaps best known for his work with boxing’s new boogeyman, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., he also trains WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo and WBSS super middleweight participant Robert Brant.

James, who himself was a professional boxer from 1992 to 2008, is more than just a trainer who devises game plans or yells at his fighter in between rounds, he is a teacher. This is apparent even with Charlo, who just joined James in the past few fights. Already a good boxer, Charlo now seems like an indestructible force at 154lbs.

James has been the architect behind the success of Spence since the beginning. He was able to lead Spence to a spot in the 2012 London Olympics as an amateur and now to being a world champion as a professional. Perhaps the most impressive thing is that there seems to be little doubt that 2017 was just the beginning for the teacher and his prized pupil.

Congratulations Mr. James.

By: Chris Henderson 

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