Bunce Diary: Derrick James and the ability to create magic from the corner – Boxing News

IT IS amusing to think what would have happened if Anthony Joshua had to choose between Angelo Dundee, Lou Duva, Eddie Futch or Richie Giachetti.

Joshua picked Robert Garcia last summer and Derrick James this spring, but what if the ancient quartet still worked, still growled, still taught fighters the way to the ring?

‘AJ' would have loved Futch, no doubt about it. Dove would have inspired him. Giachetti allegedly pushed him. Dundee would have talked his ears off. The four would all have seen the raw talent, all tried to polish the edges. They would have gone in search of better jabs, more head movement, a bigger right hand, a smarter head. They would have all believed in Big Lad.

“My lad,” Dundee would have said. Futch would have been reserved in praise, carefully choosing his words of wisdom to fit the product. Dove would have supported her husband to take down King Kong. Giachetti, known in his FBI files simply as The Torch, would have stood shoulder to shoulder and issued challenges. They were men who, in subtle ways, went to the trenches with their fighters. They came out swinging in defense of their men. Duva and Giachetti traded blows with people in the ring and outside the ring. Dundee was always shouting at injustice and Futch was smarter in his way of driving and defending his man.

All four would have changed the Usyk fights. I firmly believe that. Maybe James would have changed the Usyk flights. Perhaps. I know the activity, the advice and the rush in the corner at the end of a bad round, would have been worth the price of admission. Several versions of “you're blowin' it, son” seem to fit the bill.

Futch would have gotten really close, his words muffled by the small distance between his mouth and Joshua's ear. It is the divide where hard truths remain forever. Joshua would have listened and known that Eddie Futch was telling him the truth.

Dundee would have spoken and then looked across the ring. He would have reminded Joshua of all the work and their conversations and dreams. He would find that nerve to tickle. Joshua would have been up early bouncing, watching Usyk and Dundee still talking.

In Saudi Arabia's rematch with Usyk, Joshua sits in a high booth in his lone corner, arms draped along the ropes until the bell rings. It is unusual; Usyk is up bouncing and nodding at the last words from his corner for five or six seconds before the bell rings. It sends a message; it lets everyone know that Usyk is ready, Joshua is not.

Both Giachetti and Duva would have fallen, sprawled, jumped through the ropes at the end of a tough round. They like to meet their boxers; then the conversation begins. Both would have told Joshua that he was not hurt. Both would have told him. Their fighters were indestructible beasts in the ring. Manny Steward was the same. “This bastard can't hurt you. Now take out the fan and knock this bastard out!” Who will argue with such sensible reasoning? It's a chorus of faith from men who understand the cruel game. They were all masters of the 60 second save, they could all change and save a fight in that crucial and shrinking window of time.

All the best fighters – and some of the bad ones – have a story of a man in a corner who saves their career, lifts them, inspires them, insults them. It happens at all levels, not just in front of 90,000 with the heavyweight world title as the prize.

Dean Powell saved Derek Chisora ​​one night in Birmingham in a British title fight against Sam Sexton: Del Boy threw it, Deano used his sharp elbows to get in Del's face and read him the riot act; Sexton was beaten two innings later.

Dundee would have entered Joshua's head. Sweet Angelo would have found triggers in the boxer's mind. He would also, away from the glare, work on a little more fluency. Dundee was the king of the corner crunch, but he also had a deep understanding of the heart and mind of his fighters. Joshua needs it, it's no secret.

Can you imagine Duva screaming away, looking at the referee, the opposite corner, his fighter and the commissioner at ringside. Pigeon spitting venom like he was talking to a 19 stone pit bull. It would have shaken Usyk! I have those pictures of Giachetti and Larry Holmes talking, exchanging words and opinions during the fight break between rounds. It is a deep trust that you cannot buy; Joshua would have loved that devotion.

And Eddie Futch would have put Joshua through hell, holding his head in his hands if it was really tough and explaining the way out of the fight. He would have told AJ not to panic. It would have worked with wise and simple words.

“You see, with fighters, you have to praise them,” Giachetti said. “I tell them if they listen, if they pay attention and if we work as a team, we will be great together.” All fighters big and small must be able to listen, The Torch is right.

“I'm home,” Joshua told me when I asked him what it would be like to go out at the O2 on Saturday. Welcome home, just enjoy the night and the advice; James may just be part of a long tradition of good men working the corners as the art it should be.

The very best men in the corner can deliver magic and how do you fight magic?

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