*Following his 8th-round knockout of Jeison Rosario, Jermell Charlo became trainer Derrick James’ second unified world champion.
If Derrick James wasn’t already the best trainer in boxing today, he has firmly placed himself in the top ranks this year. Based in Dallas, James trains two unified world champions: welterweight Errol Spence Jr. (26-0 with 21 knockouts) and junior middleweight Jermell Charlo (34-1 with 18 knockouts). A former fighter himself, James’s knowledge of the sport is on full display every time one of his pupils steps in the ring. And on Saturday night Charlo joined his stablemate Spence as a unified world champion.
James is the only active trainer to have two reigning unified champions, making a strong case for him to nab the coveted Trainer of the Year award a second time. (Ring Magazine and Yahoo Sports awarded it to him in 2017.) Consistency is key in the Derrick James stable; Spence and Charlo’s combined record of 60-1 with 39 KOs is straight-up evidence.
James opened up about the most recent win, and much more, during our recent conversation.
Percy Crawford interviewed Derrick James for Zenger News.
Zenger: Congratulations on Jermell Charlo’s victory on Saturday. He didn’t just become the second unified champion under your tutelage, joining Errol Spence Jr., but he looked spectacular.
Derrick James: Another champ is beautiful, but I gotta let it go. I’m happy about it, but I gotta let it go. It happened. It’s over. I feel accomplished. I did it, but I can’t live in it forever. I think when it’s all said and done you have to accomplish it, appreciate it, be happy and then keep moving forward.
I gotta get ready for Errol’s camp, so I had a day to really celebrate it and I gotta get ready for my other guy. But you can never get away from that feeling. It’s there, how good it felt to be successful. To help somebody obtain their personal goals is beautiful. You’re in it. Even though you’re moving forward, you’re in it.
Zenger: Your two world champions are in arguably the toughest divisions in boxing, welterweight and junior middleweight, so I’m sure you’re keeping the celebrations at a minimum because the next tough challenge is already looking at your guys.
James: Right! What’s funny about this fight is that we actually fought the man that beat the man that beat the man. You fought the guy who really truly deserved that spot. He beat that guy that beat that guy, so it’s beautiful.
Zenger: What did you see in Jeison Rosario as an opponent heading into the fight?
James: One of the things I saw was that—I’m watching him, and he keeps his hands up high so it’s hard to get in there. That’s why you see Jermell throwing wider shots, to throw the punches around the guard. But then at the same time—you keep throwing punches around the guard, keep throwing punches around the guard—so then he gets smart enough to say, “This dude is going to keep doing the same thing over again.”
So then in the 6th round Jermell threw a short left hook, not a long wide one, but a shorter one, and that’s how he caught him the second time and put him down. He was a tough guy. When you watch him you really don’t see anything because it’s hard to get around those hands. He has good defense with his hands up and it’s hard to get around that. But that was the thing: We had to get around it so we had to punch around it or get him to open up in the middle. He wasn’t doing that. But he adjusted just enough to those wide shots to allow Jermell to catch him with a short left hook.
Zenger: You were a fighter before, so you know what it’s like to be in there. Many are saying that the body shot didn’t look hard enough to have Rosario convulsing on the canvas. To me, it appeared he was doing whatever it took to try and catch a breath after the shot to his midsection.
James: To be honest, I’ve been in boxing for, like, 42 years and I’ve never seen anything like that. He caught him by surprise. He threw the jab up top and then this strong power jab to the body. I have never seen anything like that. Like you said, it looks like he was convulsing or having a seizure. I heard someone say he tried to catch his fall. Yeah, because he wasn’t knocked out. He was coherent. He was awake. He kind of passed out when he was on the ropes. A lot of things were going on with him. I’m just happy he’s okay, man.
Zenger: I think people underestimate what the body would do to attempt to catch a breath. It’s almost like drowning or being asleep and someone puts a pillow over your face. He had that type of reaction just trying to breathe.
James: You know what, now that you say that you might be right about that. He got his right in the middle of the stomach, man. The thing about it: Body shots hurt, head shots don’t hurt. I didn’t think about it like a person drowning, but that’s right.
Zenger: Where does that put Jermell in the division, in your opinion?
James: Well, that was the two top dogs in there fighting on Saturday night, and he won. It’s almost like there was a tournament going on and nobody knew about it. He was able to get his title back and get his shot. It was a beautiful night.
Zenger: Did you see a change in Jermell after the loss to Tony Harrison?
James: I think I saw the change in Jermell when we were getting ready to fight the rematch with Harrison, but not the one he pulled out of. When he had the sit down—we had this deal where we went to Fox Studios, and you watch the fight and tell them what you’re doing and what you think is going on. I think him watching the fight and watching himself and having to explain it, I think that was the change.
Then after he beat Tony Harrison, he went back and looked at that fight. I already had things I wanted to work on from the Harrison fight when he came back to camp, but then he had the same ideas that he wanted to work on. So it was beautiful, because he was already in shape when I got there, and we just built from that.
Zenger: One thing is for sure, with the pandemic, quarantine and limited travel and access to gyms, we are seeing which fighters have been showing discipline during these times, and the ones who aren’t. Jermell was in phenomenal shape for this fight. As a coach, you had to be both happy and proud that he stayed on track during these wild times.
James: It was beautiful because he was able to be focused and work towards his personal goals. Something like this presented to him on this level, to say you can be the unified champ, it’s amazing. He really appreciates the opportunity, and you saw—he made the best of it.
Zenger: Jermell made an interesting comment and I wanted to get your opinion on it. He talked about fighters of the past not embracing fighters of today. And not only not embracing fighters of today, but he says they are overly critical, and overanalyze them. Why do you feel that is if true?
James: Because I think that fighters cannot take themselves out of the equation, so they are always comparing fighters to themselves. That’s why most champions and ex-fighters can’t be trainers, because they always say what they used to do. They can never take themselves out of the equation. When the ego is there, man—it’s hard to genuinely embrace them.
Think about Lennox Lewis, right? He retired on his own accord. He left when he wanted to. He can embrace a fighter because, you know why? He was done with it. Think about all the guys who they typically ask about these fights. It’s usually fighters who can’t let it go. They didn’t go out on their own terms. They were pushed out. So you really can’t get them to embrace any of these guys unless it’s their guy. If it’s not their guy, it’s hard for them. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the nature of the fighter.
It’s just like being a trainer. For me to be a trainer, I had to realize, first of all, I can never reference myself. But I can show them a particular way of how I did something without referencing myself. Then you look at it like, you gotta take a backseat. To say these guys are great, you gotta take a backseat.
That’s not saying they are better than you were, but we have to admit that these guys are good, and they are great as well. Kanye West had a verse, which I don’t really like to quote him, but he said, “Old folks talking ‘bout back in my day, but homie, this is my day.” That’s the reality of it.
Zenger: I watched a video of you taking all the safety precautions in your gym and having things sanitized. Did that change things for this last camp, or did you let the sanitation team handle the cleaning and you were able to just do your thing in there?
James: We let them do their job. I’m not a guy that likes a lot of people in the gym anyway, you know that. But this is something that really and truly—you really can’t come in now! Corona is my friend in that respect. You can’t come in! And I like it like that anyway. You want to make sure everything is taken care of. I like Corona for that, but just for that. Unless you’re taking a test twice a week, then you can’t come into the gym. It’s all good.
(Edited by André Johnson and David Martosko)
The post With Two Unified Champions, Derrick James Makes Case for Boxing Trainer of the Year Honors appeared first on Zenger News.
The Weeknd Calls Out ‘Corrupt’ Grammys After 2021 Nominations Snub
*The Weeknd has called out the Recording Academy after he was snubbed for next year’s Grammy Awards.
His fans are giving the Grammys the side-eye after the singer received zero nominations, even though, as TMZ points out, his single, “Blinding Lights,” topped the charts and his album, “After Hours,” hit to #1.
The Weeknd responded to the diss in a tweet hours after the nominees for the 63rd Grammy Awards were announced on Tuesday.
“The Grammys remain corrupt,” he wrote. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”
The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) November 25, 2020
Meanwhile, TMZ reports that The Weeknd’s snub may have to due with him headlining next year’s Super Bowl, but Harvey Mason Jr., Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO, tells PEOPLE that’s not the case.
In a statement to the publication, he said “We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated,” Mason Jr. says. “I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration.”
According to TMZ’s report, Grammy officials gave The Weeknd an ultimatum between the two events, and after heated negotiations, they came to an agreement.
“We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the GRAMMY stage the weekend before,” Mason Jr. adds in his statement. “Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. But as the only peer-voted music award, we will continue to recognize and celebrate excellence in music while shining a light on the many amazing artists that make up our global community.”
“To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd’s performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process. All GRAMMY nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all,” the statement continues.
27 More Black Ex-Franchisees Join Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against McDonald’s
*MIAMI – Twenty-seven new plaintiffs, all former Black McDonald’s franchisees, joined an ongoing federal lawsuit against the fast-food chain claiming the company engaged in systemic discrimination and denied them the same opportunities as White franchisees.
The new amended complaint now has 77 named plaintiffs in the lawsuit originally filed by 52 Black former franchisees on Sept. 1, 2020.
The claims now include nearly 300 stores with compensatory damages that average between
$4 million and $5 million per store, exclusive of punitive damages.
The plaintiffs allege McDonald’s sold itself as a recruiter and developer of Black talent, profited from its Black consumer base and maintained a two-tier system that pigeonholed unsuspecting Black owners and assigned them horrible locations guaranteed to fail.
This suit comes on the heels of a federal class action lawsuit filed October 29 by current Black franchisees.
“McDonald’s is now fighting a four-front legal war. They are being sued by current and former Black operators, Black employees and senior executives,” said James L. Ferraro, the lead attorney for both the current and former franchisee lawsuits. “As the pool of plaintiffs grow, there will be more pressure on the company to dispense with the public relations ploys and focus on how it can help its Black employees and franchisees.”
At the same time there are calls for state pension funds to drop McDonald’s stock. States like New York, California, Ohio and Florida have massive investments in McDonald’s. In Tennessee, Rep. Joe Towns has requested Treasurer David H. Lillard to divest the state’s holdings and reallocate the money toward companies “practicing good corporate citizenship.”
Ferraro said all these challenges are coming together because the company has turned a blind eye to obvious racial problems while promoting its public image.
McDonald’s once boasted a high of 377 Black franchisees in 1998. That number now stands at 186 even though McDonald’s has increased its stores from 15,086 to 36,059. The cash flow gap for Black franchisees more than tripled from 2010 to 2019, per National Black McDonald’s
Operators Association (“NBMOA”) data.
Plaintiffs’ average annual sales of $2 million was more than $700,000 under McDonald’s national average of $2.7 million between 2011 and 2016 and $900,000 under the national average of $2.9 million in 2019.
The lawsuit claims McDonald’s was ruthless in steering Black operators toward the oldest, most decrepit stores in the toughest neighborhoods routinely rejected by Whites franchisees. This severely limited opportunities for expansion and growth, and far too often set in place a chain of events – low cash flow, decreased equity, debt and bankruptcy – that led to financial ruin.
The plaintiffs argue McDonald’s violated federal civil rights laws by:
- Excluding Black franchisees from the same growth opportunities found at safer, higher- volume, lower-cost stores offered to Whites.
- Retaliating against Black franchisees for rejecting strong-arm offers to continue operations in crime-ridden
- Denying Black franchisees meaningful assistance during financial hardships while White franchisees were routinely given such
- Failing to provide any legitimate business reasons for repeated denials of franchise opportunities over many
- Unfairly grading the operations of Black restaurants, which resulted in poor internal reviews, effectively pushing Black franchisees out of the McDonald’s system by denying them the eligibility for growth and favorable franchise
- Providing misleading projections which induced Black franchisees to purchase undesirable franchises.
The amended complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. To download the complaint, click here.
Duchess Meghan Opens Up About Miscarriage: ‘I Tried to Imagine How We’d Heal’
*Meghan, Britain’s Duchess of Sussex, revealed in an essay published in the New York Times on Wednesday that she suffered a miscarriage in July.
The former actress and wife of Prince Harry said the moment occurred while she was caring for her son Archie.
“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,” Meghan wrote, describing how she felt a sharp cramp, and dropped to the floor while holding her son.
“Hours later, I lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband’s hand. I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears,” she wrote. “Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we’d heal.”
Meghan added: “Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realized that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, “Are you OK?”
“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,” Meghan Markle writes about her miscarriage. Today, we are sharing an essay by the Duchess of Sussex about the loss that she and Prince Harry suffered earlier this year. https://t.co/xCJbgPgufq
— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) November 25, 2020
“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,” she wrote.
“In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning,” Meghan continued.
The duchess is receiving an outpouring of love on social media, with author Elizabeth Day writing on Twitter: “Chrissy Teigen and the Duchess of Sussex speaking openly about something that historically has given women so much pain, shame and trauma, is a game-changing step.
“I, and countless others, am so grateful to them. Beyond that, I simply want to tell them: I am so, so sorry.”
Prince Harry reportedly told the royal family about his wife’s miscarriage in the summer and they were “very supportive,” a royal expert says, Newsweek reports.
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