Jerry Belmontes Splits With Trainer, Plans To Fight 4 Times in 2013

Jerry Belmontes is looking to be active in 2013

Junior lightweight Jerry Belmontes has officially parted ways with his trainer Derrick James. James is a Dallas resident and trainer of Olympian Errol Spence; James had trained Belmontes for his last two fights after Belmontes left his father, Sal Belmontes, who up to that point had trained his son for his entire career. The decision to let James go wasn’t made in haste, but was confirmed by Adrian Clark — Belmontes’ manager — in a phone interview with ThaBoxingVoice last night.

In that conversation, Clark made it clear that the departure was nothing personal and it had more to do with the direction Belmontes felt he should be headed as a fighter.

“They styles just didn’t fit, [Jerry and Derrick] didn’t click. The sparring in training camp [for the last fight] was very weak and they didn’t see eye to eye,” Clark told

Clark said that although the work James was doing with Belmontes was positive from a defensive perspective, offensively it wasn’t working.

“Defensively Derrick made Jerry a better fighter, but it was the offensive part of the camp that wasn’t there.”

Clark reiterated that there were no problems between the trainer and fighter from a personal standpoint. He spoke very highly of James and said Jerry was appreciative of the time he got with him. Clark said that James may have known the change was coming and it probably wasn’t a big surprise.

“There was no bad blood. Derrick did a great job with Jerry. He gave us a lot of knowledge both inside and outside of the ring.”

There is no official announcement as to who will be training Belmontes from here on out, but it appears more than likely that Jerry will once again be under the tutelage of his father Sal.

Belmontes was looking to fight once more in 2012, but it seems like January of next year is more plausible. Clark said that he would like for Belmontes to fight in his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas next. However, Clark was more adamant about his fighter taking a step up in competition and if that didn’t coincide with a Corpus Christi fight then they would weigh the options, more than likely in favor of a tougher fight as opposed to a hometown showcase.

Clark is a former collegiate basketball player and has overseen Belmontes’ career for the past few years; in fact, they just inked a multiyear deal in 2012 that will allow them to continue doing business for the foreseeable future.

In the many conversations I’ve had with Belmontes, he has talked positively about his relationship with Clark and has described it as a friendship on multiple occasions. In my conversation with Clarke last night, I found out that the strength of that relationship may stem from Clark’s own mini boxing career.

Clark fought as an amateur in boxing and participated in three Golden Gloves tournaments. However, he had no pipedreams of being a professional and acknowledged he wasn’t good enough to compete at that level. Instead, he said that the reasoning behind his venture into the amateur boxing scene was in hopes of being able to empathize with his fighters. Clark knew he would be dealing with the business side of boxing one day and he wanted to fight so that he could better understand boxing as a whole, as well as being able to relate to his fighters and better understand what they go through physically and mentally.

I admire that rationality, not just from a personal standpoint but from a boxing fan as well. Too often managers have made moves on the behalf of their fighters and it doesn’t always appear that the moves are in the best interests of the fighter themselves. This could be contributed to other reasons, but it could also have to do with the inability of a manager/promoter to recognize the fighters’ endeavors. I wish more up and coming managers would adopt Clark’s philosophy, but I digress.

Clark said that Belmontes is under a 3 year contract with Main Events in which he is guaranteed 4 fights a year — with a possible exception for this year being that the contract was signed a few months into 2012. Although Belmontes has a 4 fight minimum for 2013 and 2014, Main Events has said if they can get Belmontes more fights in a calendar year then they will.

As it pertains to Belmontes’ next fight, Clark said that there’re a few options on the table, but he’d prefer to keep in under wraps until he has all the ducks in line.