Hopkins and Webster after their first training session together (Photo courtesy of Team Webster).
Written by John Archibald, Resolution Sports
WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Begins Preparation for Chad Dawson
Camp started on Monday night for WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 34 KOs), who is now under preparation for a title defense on October 15th against Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs). One new face invited by Hopkins to the gym, which was held in an undisclosed location, was New Jersey native Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster (10-0, 6 KOs), a fast rising southpaw prospect who stands six-foot-four and looks to ready Hopkins for the long body frame of Dawson.
“When we were pulling up to the venue, I got so nervous that I felt like I had to throw up,” Webster admitted about arriving at camp on Monday evening. “I’ve never felt like that before. I’m always anxious and ready to get in the ring with whoever it is. My trainer, Denny Brown, kept telling me ‘Be who I know you can be, and you’ll be fine.’ I just know how big of an opportunity this is, and I want to make sure I make the most of it.”
Once opening the doors to the gym, Webster soon found himself face-to-face with Hopkins himself, who gave the Glassboro resident a good look.
“When we walked inside, Bernard looked at me from head to toe and said ‘Man, you’re long,’” Webster reflected. “Then they wanted to see me work out, so I did my work out. By the end of that, Bernard was talking to me like we were best friends. He told me just to be myself and to let my hands go.”
Webster began taking this huge opportunity with complete seriousness as soon as the invitation was extended to him earlier this month, and he entered the camp on Monday with a sincere focus in mind.
“Bernard wants to beat Chad Dawson, and I’m there to help him beat Chad Dawson,” he stated. “I’ve been watching footage of Chad from when he was a killer at the beginning of his career so I can emulate those same things for Bernard in the ring.”
And for anyone that questions the ability of the 46-year-old Hopkins, who is the oldest world champion in the history of the sport, Webster was quick to squash any of their doubt.
“As far as Bernard’s age and anyone who thinks he’s aging, I can’t see it,” he confirmed. “For me to be in front of him, man-to-man, and to see him move around and get down with the younger guys – well, let me just say that he doesn’t have any problems keeping up, and he can step on the gas anytime he feels like it. On behalf of Team Webster, I wish him nothing but luck against Chad Dawson, and I think he’s going to bring that win home. He’s a chess player, and you can’t bring checkers to chess.”
In terms of his own life and professional career, which has handed him more than his fair share of ups and downs, Webster says that spending time with one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport has truly given him a high amount of self-gratification.
“From where I’m from to where I’m at now, it’s unbelievable when I think about it,” he commented. “I used to watch this man fight on tv, and now I’m side-by-side with him and helping him train for a world championship fight. My dreams are truly unfolding. The more I’m involved in this, the more I believe in myself, and that is going to make me perform at a whole another level for my own fights.”
Webster will return to the ring on Saturday, September 24th, when he faces Teneal Goyco (4-2, 2 KOs) at the Harrah’s Resort in Chester, Pennsylvania.
CLICK HERE for a video documentary on Derrick Webster.