Douglin with his mother, Saphya, and Floyd Mayweather, Sr. (Photo courtesy of John Parra, Getty Images).
Written by John Archibald, Resolution Sports
The name ‘Mayweather’ is one that immediately turns heads within the world of boxing, but it is a different animal when you are the one who is attracting the attention of one of the most notable families in the industry. Such is the case for New Jersey native Denis “Da Momma’s Boy” Douglin (17-3, 10 KOs), who earned high praise from Floyd Mayweather, Sr., following a great showing of himself on the NUVOtv reality show “Knockout.” So much so that Mayweather, Sr., convinced him, his mother/trainer, Saphya, and entire family to uproot themselves from the Garden State and make the move to Las Vegas to focus on his craft at the renown Mayweather Boxing Club.
“I came out here to Las Vegas for the reality show, and I partnered up with Floyd (Mayweather, Sr.) on the show,” Douglin reflected. “The show wasn’t really mainstream, so a lot of people didn’t get to see it. However, it was a big thing out here. Mayweather loved me and my style. He felt that I had all the right tools to be a world champion, and he really wanted me to come out here. After the show wrapped up, they all voted me as most likely on the show to become a world champion. Floyd said he wanted to work with me, so we got a fight through the show with Charles Whittaker (40-16-2, 24 KOs). I came back out here to train with Floyd again, got in some good sparring. Floyd and I were very pleased in the way we worked together. He got along great with my mother when she came out here, and they worked great together as well. After we dominated the Whittaker fight (Douglin won by a wide-margin unanimous decision), Floyd told me ‘You need to get out here, man. This is where it’s all happening. We need to get you out here.’ It was all just a really good look and we decided to make it happen, so we moved out here.”
The change was rather significant for Douglin, and not just because of the 2500-mile relocation. Just a little over 16-months prior to the move, the boxing career of the Marlboro transplant was very much in jeopardy after two uncharacteristic performances saw him suffer consecutive defeats. Concerned about the fact that he had been suffering through severe exhaustion during training, he and his mother decided to undergo intense testing to determine what could be the cause. Doctors found numerous health problems as the root of his issues, which led to nearly a nine-month layoff so he could get everything under control.
“It’s a great feeling. I came full circle,” Douglin said of where he was then compared to now. “I had some health issues, but I’m not using that as an excuse. There are fighters who have recovered from much worse. Just look at what Danny Jacobs and Anthony Dirrell did. They came from dire situations to become world champions. So I don’t want to use my health problems as any kind of hindrance to my abilities. I’m fully recovered now.”
Since settling his health complications, Douglin has rallied off three consecutive victories and has returned on the path to seeking a world title.
“It’s felt great to see my hard work being recognized,” he admitted. “I already knew that I had the potential to be a world champion. My mom already knew it, my coaches already knew it, but now we’re out here showing the world. Floyd, Sr., and Jr. have both recognized my abilities. Since I’ve been out here, I’ve pretty much sparred everybody under Mayweather Promotions who is around my size. And I was able to hold my own and do well with them. I’ve been building a nice name out here for myself, and it’s been great. I’ve just been blessed.”
Anyone familiar with Douglin knows that his family is of the upmost importance to him, as evidenced by his “Momma’s Boy” moniker. He says that knowing they believe in him so much that they would move out to Las Vegas is exactly the type of motivation that will drive him to the pinnacle of the sport.
“It just means a lot to me to know that my family is behind my dream 100%,” he stated. “My family believes that I’m going to be a world champion and is willing to move across the country so I can follow my dream. That right there is amazing. As far as making the move to Mayweather Gym goes, I come from a gym in the middle of Central Jersey. There was no sparring there. I had to go up north to get sparring. It becomes a hassle to have to drive an hour every time you need to spar. Now I’m in the Doghouse. Every day in this gym, I’ve gotten nothing but top quality sparring: Ronald Gavril, Badou Jack, Kevin Newman, J’Leon Love… it’s just been great. You’re forced to stay sharp because you never know who they’re going to tell you to get in the ring with because everyone is trying to prove himself here.”
With the everyday hustle of Mayweather Gym pushing him to new levels, Douglin says that many different aspects of his game have been improving.
“Overall, I’ve just been boxing better,” he remarked. “I’ve never considered myself a boxer. I’m more of a boxer-puncher, or a brawler if that’s what you want to call me. I like to work, I like to punch. My style doesn’t resemble the style of Mayweather, Jr., at all. He’s the best defensive boxer in the world right now. I was always the type who was willing to take a punch to give a punch. Being out here has made me a lot smarter. One, because you spar so much, and you don’t want to lose a fight in the gym. You don’t need to be taking a bunch of punches. That’s one thing. Another thing is fighting five, six, 10-minute rounds force you to slow down and think smarter with your punches. That’s what has been happening. I’ve been using my jab a lot more and moving a lot more. I’ve been letting my hands go a lot more intelligently since I’ve been in this gym. There has definitely been a lot of improvement.”
While some things may have changed in his favor, Douglin also insists that certain components of his game will always remain the same.
“I’m still coming in looking for the kill, of course,” he confirmed. “I’m still coming in throwing punches and letting my hands go, but now it’s going to be a lot smarter. I’m coming in behind the jab, coming in moving my head and setting up punches a lot better. Little things I’ve fine-tuned that we’ve worked on over and over and have been drilled into me. Sparring top quality guys. Things are just really going great. I’m so excited for where I’m headed in the future.”
To keep up with all of the latest news on Denis Douglin, make sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DaMommasBoy.