Bronx Champion Del Valle Helped Groom Badou Jack • Latino Sports

Boxing

Bronx Champion Del Valle Helped Groom Badou Jack

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New York, NY – Lou Del Valle knows something about what it takes to be a world champion. A former New York City Golden Gloves champion propelled himself and became a WBA light heavyweight champion.. He would lose to Virgil Hill the USA Olympian before the hometown fans in Grand Forks North Dakota.

Then, Del Valle, a tough kid from the Morris Park section of the Bronx was still learning the ins and outs of the fight game. He would also take on Roy Jones Jr. at Madison Square Garden in July of 1998 and lose a bid for another title but he took care of business and knocked Jones down in that fight before losing a unanimous decision.

“I remember like it was yesterday,” Del Valle said last week. He was by the side of his world champion Badou Jack the super middleweight champion who defending his title Saturday night against James DeGale in a unification bout at Barclays Center that was televised on Showtime.

But because boxing is a nasty business, Jack got a draw and he could have got the win. Del Valle and promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr. were not content with the decision of judges at ringside and claim DeGale should have been disqualified after spitting out his mouthpiece five times during the 12-round fight.

“No points were taken away and they always screw us here in New York,” Del Valle said a day after the fight. “What fight were they looking at.” Mayweather said coming back to promote in New York is not the plan as he wants to make boxing better. New York State Athletic Commission rules say a mouthpiece that is spit out of the mouth of a fighter are grounds for disqualification after more than two warnings.

DeGale, according to DelValle and Mayweather and seen when reviewing the fight, spit out the piece more than three times and there was no warning. They are not claiming a fix, contending foul play and the NYSAC not abiding by the rules.

Jack got off to a slow start after getting knocked down in the first round. He would listen to his trainer and go to the body and punish his opponent. In essence it was two different fights in one as Jack got his knockdown in the final round that went in is favor, 10-8.

There will be no rematch. Mayweather calls the shots and Del Valle goes along for the ride as Jack is not comfortable his weight and moving on to fight at light heavyweight. So Jack is still champion and Del Valle will remain in the corner and add to his credentials.

That was a memorable fight with Jones. At the time, Jones was considered by the boxing experts as the best pound-for-pound champion and DelValle was the perennial underdog. But the kid from the Bronx who turned to boxing to get off the streets defied all odds.

He gave Jones the fight of his career. But this was Lou Del Valle that night in the Garden at his best and now he his knowledge of being a champion and what it takes to be there.

“My trainer Lou Del Valle is the reason that I’ve improved so much,”said Jack, 20-1, 12 KO’s. “I brought him back in after my loss and he’s helped get me to where I am right now.”

And for a fighter who arrived from Stockholm Sweden with no instincts it has been a journey. As it is in boxing, just like it was with Mike Tyson and the late Cus D’Amato, the fighter and trainer were meant to be with each other. They met in Fort Lauderdale Florida when Del Valle was training other fighters after hanging up the gloves and started his other journey.

It has become a journey for Del Valle and a good one. Jack, 23-years of age has the instincts that Del Valle used in his championship fights and after his only loss to Derek Edwards almost three years ago it was back to the drawing board.

“What I do, I make fighters,” says Del Valle who was known as “Pretty Boy” in the ring and managed to get what he wanted.

In essence, he knows boxing and comes from that old school way of training and using strategy that can keep the titles with his champion.

“I know how to teach them them the short route and not make the same mistake,” says Del Valle. “Training, conditioning, sharpening up, I know to prepare a fighter because I learned the hard way. I lost fights cause of not doing that. I’ve been successful from the good and bad and I learned.”

Sounds simple and for a fighter it is difficult to make adjustments. One trainer has another style from another, but when the right combination meets it leads to success and this very much sound like the old school theory that Del Valle comes from.

There will be as Del Valle says, “showing how to hurt and protect.”

They spend time together. Del Valle is now making his home in Las Vegas now that he is working for Mayweather as does Jack. What started in Florida does continue with talks, walks, running and occasional bike riding.

It just makes this journey for Lou Del Valle a little easier in getting to know his fighter, and so much a replica of what he he did when he trained his sister Melissa to a championship in the female ranks when they lived in Florida.

Mayweather has no doubts about this fighter-trainer and their relationship. He said, “I’m so proud of Badou Jack. The first time I saw him in the gym, I was curious about him. If a guy is willing to fly overseas and take a bus to the boxing gym to accomplish his dreams, that’s what makes a great fighter.”

And Del Valle knows that being in the right place and at the right time, well sometimes that’s how the sport of boxing works.

“I did not expect this to happen…the politics of boxing,” said Del Valle. “We got there fast because of Floyd Mayweather. This opportunity doesn’t come like that. All I did was tune him (Jack) up, sharpen him up. He knew how to fight. Good hands, footwork and movement.”

And Lou Del Valle knew the technique. Old school training that groomed Badou Jack into a champion with that tough battle Saturday night against a 30-year old puncher in James DeGale now with a 23-1-1, 14 KO record from London England.

About Rich Mancuso

Established sports journalist and educator. Contact Rich at [email protected]

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