The trainer for up-and-comer Errol Spence Jr., Derrick James, says that he's happy with Spence's performance against Chris Van Heerden and suggests that he's ready for the top guys in the game. James says that while he's still fine tuning certain aspects of Spence's game, he already has the skills and experience to compete at the top of the sport.
"If you think about it, he's doing everything that I want him to do. There is only a couple of small things I want him to do different; couple of steps here and there. People say his shoulders are square, he's not a fast puncher, and he keeps his hands stationary. People say a lot of things, but that's because they are inexperienced in what we do. My guy is in position to punch at all times. You take one step and your whole body goes with you, but you're still in position. You can't punch when you're trying to cover up. We focus on a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff we do a little different, but you see it works and the better the competition, the better you will see Errol look," James told FightHype.
James went on to say that Spence's experience in preparing for the 2012, sparring some of the best professionals in boxing with different styles, have assured him that Spence has both the talent and know-how to step in the ring with anyone out there.
"But you gotta remember, he sparred with Floyd Mayweather. For the Olympic Games, his sparring partners were Lamont Peterson, Adrien Broner, Shawn Porter, and Jorge Linares. Each one of those guys were ranked #1 in the world at that time except Shawn Porter and he eventually became a world champion...Getting those guys in the room at the same time would be hard, let alone having them to spar with for 6 to 8 weeks is amazing. He grew from that and it made him an intelligent fighter and a patient fighter. He has an understanding of the game from that. Look at the 4 different styles you get. Shawn Porter is a rough and rugged guy, Adrien Broner is a smart and fast, slick guy with a little power, Lamont Peterson is a defensive wizard, and Jorge Linares is a guy that is an amazing boxer. To get those 4 guys sparring with you, how can you say he's not ready for anyone."
There's little question that Spence has the experience that few other fighters with only 18 fights has, and he's certainly one of the most interesting prospects I have on my radar. Just a couple of years ago, Spence was famously thrown out and quickly welcomed back into a Mayweather training camp after giving Floyd a black eye during a sparring session. That instance generated a good amount of buzz for Spence as a prospect. But like most things, no matter how good he looks, we won't know for sure until he gets his first big test on a big stage -- which doesn't appear to be too far off.