THE RETURN OF THE SMOKE: DERRICK GAINER PLOTTING A COMEBACK
By John McCormick
Gainer to train with Jeff Mayweather
Derrick "Smoke" Gainer is a former WBA featherweight champion, reigning from 2000 through 2003 before losing his title to Juan Manuel marquez. Gainer made a brave journey to a small island off the coast of Indonesia to take on a then little-known Chris John, losing by decision on 2005. Mostly shunned by the boxing industry, Gainer has fought only twice in the last five years, and not at all since 2010. At 39 years old, Smoke tells Boxingtalk he is gearing up for what he hopes will be another title run.
JM: Whatís the latest with Derrick Gainer?
Derrick Gainer: I just got back from Las Vegas and made a big leap towards where I want to be as far as the last phase of my career. I locked down Jeff Mayweather as my new trainer.
JM: How did that all come about?
Derrick Gainer: I reached out to Jeff; I have known Jeff and Roger Mayweather for years. I met them back in 1987. I reached out to Jeff and let it be known that I want to make a comeback and become champion, and I needed a new place to train. He told me to come out to Vegas so I went out there. I wanted to make sure that I would feel comfortable and that I would be able to pick up some things. After meeting with him I definitely felt that.
JM: So for all upcoming fights, you will be training with Jeff Mayweather out of the Mayweather gym in Las Vegas?
Derrick Gainer: Yeah, I will start up the initial part of my training camps down here in Pensacola, FL and then I will go out to Vegas to finish up training camp.
JM: What is the atmosphere like at the Mayweather boxing gym?
Derrick Gainer: It is great, it is really nice. I saw a lot of up-and-coming guys. I sat there and watched Floyd train one day and he is a beast, man. I really have a lot of respect for his work ethic. He puts in a lot of time into his work. I mean I have spent a lot of time in the past training with Roy Jones but what Floyd does is a little bit different. He doesnít take any time off, he works the entire time that he is in the gym. Floyd goes from one thing to the next, he is in great shape and he looks extremely strong. I am sure Cotto will be in great shape too but Floyd is a beast man.
JM: What one quality of Floyd Mayweather impresses you the most?
Derrick Gainer: His timing. His timing and his adjustments that he makes in a fight. His timing is really key. I think it is a result of him staying in the gym. Recently in his past few fights, he has been actually fighting a lot more instead of moving. I looked at that, and his timing has seemed to improve.
JM: Now I want to get back to you but before I do, what is your predictions for the Mayweather's upcoming fight against Miguel Cotto?
Derrick Gainer: I would have to pick Floyd. I can see Floyd stopping Cotto. I think Floydís speed and quickness will play a huge part in the fight. Cotto fought quick guys like Zab but I think the main difference is that Floyd is a right handed fighter and Floydís right hand will be lined up perfect. Floyd will be able to land lead hooks, jabs, and straight right hands perfectly. I pick Floyd by knockout around the 8th round.
JM: Any word on your next fight?
Derrick Gainer: I am looking to lock a date in for my city on August 25th. The big thing for me was to lock in the trainer and I did that part. Now, I am seeking to either sign with a promoter or get my own shows but I am most definitely going to fight. I know itís not going to be an easy fight and I know I wonít be on HBO my first fight back but I am just concerned about my activity; I want to stay active. My mind is right, my body is right, now itís time to get back into the ring and fight.
JM: What were your thoughts on Brandon Riosí fight with Richard Abril last weekend?
Derrick Gainer: I thought that Rios lost the fight. Rios is apparently a big guy and he canít make weight and he should move up to 140. In my opinion, Rios is a strong guy, a big guy, a guy that is going to come forward but honestly, I donít see him as being the best lightweight out there. There are guys that are better out there than him. Donít get me wrong, he is a former [WBA lightweight] champion and he can fight but I donít think heís unstoppable. He lost that last fight.
JM: Any closing thoughts for the fans?
Derrick Gainer: I want to thank all of my fans for supporting me on Facebook and all that. I would like to also say that for all them fighters coming up looking to sign a deal with some of these companies like Everlast: be careful with those kind of companies, they want to take advantage of you. I had a contract with Everlast a couple of years ago, the contract ended up running out but the product was supposed to keep going. I had been inactive and Everlast took it on themselves to break their part of the contract so I am in the process of suing Everlast. So, I just want to say be careful to all them up and coming fighters if you are dealing with Everlast.
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