If the sendoff from his hometown fans wasn’t enough to motivate Jamal James, watching his stablemate get the job done certainly provided the final boost.
It was a big night for Minneapolis’ Circle of Discipline (CoD) gym, as James and David Morrell Jr. both posted wins live in primetime on Fox. James managed a hard-fought and well-deserved 12-round win over Puerto Rico’s Thomas Dulorme (25-4-1, 16KOs) in the evening’s main event, live from a crowdless Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Roughly two hours prior, Morrell (3-0, 2KOs)—a 22-year old Cuban southpaw who relocated to Minneapolis in 2018—advanced from rookie prospect to aspiring super middleweight contender following a lopsided decision victory over Brooklyn’s Lennox Allen (22-1-1, 14KOs) in the opening bout of the televised tripleheader.
“It felt good to see my brother go in there and handle his business, man,” James (27-1, 12KOs) told BoxingScene.com. “He went in there, it’s only his third fight and he went 12 rounds—12 rounds and handled his business against a guy who got way more fights than him. And he really just controlled the whole fight.
“He did whatever he wanted with him.”
Both boxers claimed separate interim World Boxing Association (WBA) titles for their respective victories, the first two from the gym to advance to that point. Hopes for such a double play were originally targeted for a local showing this past April in Minneapolis, where James has appeared in his previous four contests and where Morrell made his pro debut last August.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic shut down those plans along with the rest of the spring schedule. They instead settled for appearing on the first Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox telecast since March 7, with Saturday’s event preceded by a massive sendoff for James from his adoring local fans.
The 32-year old welterweight boarded a Los Angeles-bound plane earlier during fight week of the understanding that his mission was to come home with a welterweight strap. The stakes were raised by the time his stablemate made his statement in the ring.
“It was definitely inspiring watching (Morrell) do his thing. He gave me another boost of confidence,” James admits. “In my mind, I’m like ‘Sheeeeeeee-it, if he got his belt I gotta get mine!’ That was for sure, I couldn’t go back (to the gym) if he got his belt and I don’t got mine.
“So it feels good to be able to follow through on that.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox