Webster has grown an increasingly close bond with 10-time world champion Roy Jones, Jr.
Written by John Archibald, Resolution Sports/Team Webster
Super middleweight Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster (14-0, 7 KOs) has stepped into the ring 14 times over his four-year professional career, and 14 times he has had his hand raised in victory. That type of success can do nothing but build the confidence of a fighter, but a recent three-week stay in Las Vegas for camp with the likes of 10-time world champion Roy Jones, Jr. and former WBC Light Heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal has elevated the New Jersey native’s determination to entirely newfound levels.
“It was a really great experience to share a house with a living legend and a soon-to-be again world champion,” Webster reflected. “The guys treated me with nothing but respect and great hospitality. Roy and I were able to share personal experiences, talking about everything from life lessons to manhood outside of boxing. It was all just a really good experience for me.”
Spending time in the training camp of a world champion is nothing new to Webster, but he has grown an increasingly close relationship with Jones, Jr. since they originally met a year ago when the Glassboro resident came out to Las Vegas to work with former WBC Middleweight Champion Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
“With this most recent camp, I got a glimpse of what it’s like to be involved in the lifestyle of Floyd Mayweather, Chad Dawson, Jean Pascal, Mike Tyson, and then you have Roy Jones,” he stated. “The difference in what I saw was that Roy touches you in so many ways in terms of your personal life that you can carry on 10 years from now and remember the things he gave you on a brotherhood-type basis. Roy has touched my life in so many different ways that a lot of people have never been able to do. He knows how to get to a person because he’s that good of a dude. For him to be such a legend, he’s a good person, a real person, before any of that.”
On the flipside of that bond is Jones, Jr., who feels that Webster has the skills in the boxing ring to reach the upper echelon of the sport, but he says that their relationship truly stems from the man he is when the gloves are off and the lights are out in the gym.
“First thing, Derrick is a wonderful person. Being that he’s such a good person, it makes me want to deal with him even more,” said Jones, Jr., who has captured world titles in four weight divisions and is the only fighter ever to begin his career as a junior middleweight and eventually win a heavyweight world championship belt. “As a fighter, it’s just a matter of Derrick getting the right opportunities and putting him in the right places. What I try to do is give him the right advice, get him in the right places and put him in a position to profit so he can make a million dollars for himself. 6-4 southpaw, that’s a very tall order for anybody, and I want to help him to get his career going in the right direction.”
In terms of attributes, Jones, Jr. thinks it is a unique set of tools in the arsenal of Webster that establishes the foundation of future successes for him.
“His speed, his range, his power, and the fact that he’s a good thinker,” he commented when asked about the topic. “The thing is, he has really good reflexes, and that was my key, as you know. Reflexes are my favorite thing. When I see all of these things in Derrick, I look at him and know he’s such a great prospect.
“I think he can go all the way. He has a real gift that’s hard to come by with his height, and he has speed and coordination to go with that height. Derrick is a very tall order, so I think he can go all the way to the top and beyond.”
Former WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal got the chance to know Webster a lot better during their time together in Las Vegas, and he mirrored the beliefs of Jones, Jr.
“Derrick is tall. He’s 6-4, has a good jab and good speed,” Pascal remarked. “He is a great fighter who will someday be at the top if he continues to work like he does. If he keeps going like he is, he’s going to be a world champion before it’s all over with.”
Like he previously stated, Webster felt this most recent trip to Las Vegas both groomed his already superior boxing skills and enabled him to evolve more in terms of the man he is outside of the ring.
“Jean Pascal and I talked about the good, the bad, the ugly and the struggles of boxing,” he recollected. “What he and Roy told me was that I’m not in this place for no reason. I’m not around these world champions for no reason. I’m next. The more and more they told me ‘I’m next,’ and the more and more I see how much I’m progressing in the ring, I see that I am next and that I belong on that level.”
As his internal confidence continues to build through experiences such as these, the undefeated prospect makes sure to maintain his humility at the same time.
“It puts me in a better perspective of who I am,” he confirmed. “It separates Derrick Webster from ‘Take it to the Bank.’ The reason why I look at those two things as different people is because, boxing-wise, they’re letting me know that ‘Take it to the Bank’ has grown. But just as a man, these guys respect me as Derrick before they respect me as a fighter. Both of who I am have grown in such a way that my confidence is through the roof, but it also keeps me humble at the same time.”
With all of the things he has taken away from his recent trip to Las Vegas, Webster feels that he has in a sense recreated who he will be the next time he steps between the ropes. At the same time, he says that people will be reminded of the type of hunger and motivation that he displayed during the first three years of his professional career.
“People are going to see more of an art, more of a creativity. More of me just being my own person,” he forecasted. “Being around these guys, you can’t help but emulate some of the things you see. People are going to see a different Derrick Webster, a more explosive, more exciting and more confident Derrick Webster. After my 10-month layoff (which resulted in a decision victory over Darnell Boone in January), I wasn’t myself, but I’m back. I’m back to having that fire I once had. People can expect to see a really good show, just a different me. From the ring entrance to the performance and to the exit, they’re going to see a whole new me.”