Denis and his mother, Saphya, train out of their New Breed Boxing Gym in Freehold, New Jersey (Photo by Augustine Dashiell, Plainfield Sports News).
Al Haymon Productions to Advise Undefeated Boxer
Denis “Da Momma’s Boy” Douglin (12-0, 8 KOs) has been turning the heads of the entire boxing community since turning professional in 2009, backing up an impressive arsenal of combinations with a powerful left hand that has resulted in five consecutive TKO wins. The undefeated 22-year-old southpaw now has the commanding influence of Al Haymon in his corner, signing a five-year contract with the powerful advisor on Tuesday.
“Al Haymon has been helping me get my last couple of fights, and he has used them as an audition to see how I would do with the opponents he gave me,” said Douglin, who is trained by his mother, Saphya. “He was actually the one who helped me get on the Paulie Malignaggi – Amir Khan undercard (a second round TKO of Joshua Onyango), and he helped me get my last two fights (TKO wins over Orphius Waite and Matt Berkshire). It’s been a process that has taken a few months, but he was impressed with how I was handling my opponents. Once that happened, we got the negotiations going, and we were able to get the deal done.”
Behind the scenes, Haymon is a man of significant clout who has served as an advisor to the likes of such prominent fighters as Floyd Mayweather, Paul Williams and Jermain Taylor. However, anyone who follows the game of boxing knows that Haymon is someone who is seldomly seen or heard, which is exactly how he prefers it to be.
“Al is a really mysterious kind of guy,” Douglin joked. “I actually haven’t met him yet in person. I’ve spoken to him a couple of times on the phone, but I generally speak to all of the people who work for him and deal with them directly.”
While the deal itself is something that provides incredible energy for Douglin and his camp, the fact that it comes at the beginning of a brand new calendar year only increases that amount of excitement.
“It’s a great feeling, just because I had already been saying that 2011 would be my come-out year,” he stated. “It feels good to now have this deal as something that truly gives me the belief that this will be my come-out year. I’ve been talking with everybody on the team - about fights we’re going to have lined up and finally getting on TV. 2011 is going to be a really great year, and it’s started off great already.”
As far as the terms of the agreement, Douglin inked a deal that will link him to Haymon for at least the next five years.
“We signed up for five years,” he confirmed. “It’s a long contract, but Al Haymon is one of the best in the business. Everyone knows that. We are more than happy with what’s in the contract, and I’m looking forward to everything we have in store for this year.”
With this deal now done, Douglin and his team have completely set their focus on accomplishing their goals for 2011.
“We’re definitely looking for a national title this year,” he remarked. “I’m hoping for a lot of exposure while I get my record as high as I can. I’m looking to get myself into the Top 10 and then look for a world title in 2012. That’s the plan and goal for this year.”
Twice a New York Golden Gloves and also a National Golden Gloves Champion, Douglin has found it difficult at times to find opponents since becoming a professional fighter. He dealt with dates being moved and competition withdrawing from bouts on multiple occasions in 2010, which has obviously caused a bit of frustration. Through it all, he and his mother maintained their focus and continued to drive forward. Signing the deal with Haymon is something that proved to Douglin that those efforts have been rewarded.
“It just lets you know that what people say is true – hard work pays off,” he commented. “A lot of times you get discouraged because you’re working so hard, and fights fall through or stuff gets cancelled, or maybe you’re not getting the exposure you feel you deserve. It starts hurting a little bit. You start to feel like maybe this isn’t the right path, but we just kept working hard. We put a goal in our head, and my mother and I kept working towards it. It’s true that hard work pays off, and it will continue to pay off.”
While this major accomplishment will undoubtedly advance his career, Douglin insists that he still has plenty to prove.
“This is only a step into the right direction we want to go,” he said. “We’re not there yet. We’re not world champions yet. This is just a step, so I don’t want to get too excited. It’s good to see that the hard work is paying off. Now, we just have to continue working hard. We can’t dwell on anything too long.”
One conversation, one fight and one day at a time, Douglin continues to impress. The amount of skill, motivation and humility that he possesses is just not something that is within many fighters in the game. No question, he has all the tools to be a world champion. And with his mother and now Haymon in his corner, expect the entire world to find that out. A whole lot sooner than later.