In light of his admittedly sub-par performance against Matt Hicks at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma, and live on last weeks’ ESPN2’s “Wednesday Night Fights” broadcast, undefeated heavyweight hopeful JD “The Natural” Chapman, 22-0 (20 KOs), has parted ways with his former trainer and will now be prepared exclusively by well-respected Jeff Mayweather.
“I'm really excited about seeing JD become the fighter he can become under Jeff's tutelage,” said manager Scott Hirsch. “He's been getting by on talent alone until now. I think Jeff Mayweather is one of the best trainers in the game today and I know he'll bring out the best in JD.”
Hirsch, who recently underwent an extended hospital stay, says he entrusted the job of training his inexperienced 23-year-old prospect to Chapman’s then-new and now former trainer during his absence. “I had to bring someone in after (former heavyweight champion) Michael Moorer left, so I got Shannon’s (Briggs, whom Hirsch also manages) old trainer. In my opinion, he had JD doing a very poor Ali imitation, which is totally not the way a kid with his size and power should be fighting.”
And although he was ultimately victorious by TKO 3, Hirsch also doesn’t pull any punches when discussing his opinion of Chapman’s performance against Hicks. “JD has a lot to learn,” he admitted. “And if he doesn't get his hands up and stop fighting backwards, he'll be in big trouble.”
Mayweather, who is already said to be making noticeable improvements with Chapman stablemate Shannon Briggs, brings with him a wealth of knowledge from both sides of the game, trainer and fighter. Hirsch says he’s optimistic for the future now that he has joined the team. “JD needed a real trainer. I was very disappointed in his preparation and training for his last fight, and I take full responsibility. We’re lucky the kid's power is so overwhelming that it bailed us all out. JD has the biggest punch and best chin of all the young heavyweights and now, with Jeff onboard, he can start to become a polished boxer as well.”
Hirsch says he’s not going to rush the young Arkansas slugger, who has very little amateur boxing experience to draw from. “It’ll be another couple years before JD is ready for a big fight. You have to remember, he’s got tons of raw talent, and excellent size, but he’s essentially learning on the job. Jeff has told me he’s going to start from the beginning and take a kid with a great chin and a huge punch and mold him into a world class fighter and I’ve given him all the time he needs to do it. I continue to believe in JD’s future and now, even more.”