By Paul R Jones! Hanover, MD – Tonight’s showdown between rising super middleweight contender Demond ‘D’BestAtIt’ Nicholson (20-3-1, 19 KOs) and veteran Jessie Nicklow (27-9-3) at the Maryland Live! Casino • Hotel in Hanover (MD), is a bout in which Nicholson aims to prove that his name belongs alongside the best fighters in the division.
However, to send a clear message to the vanguard in his weight class—which includes titleholders like Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs), Caleb Plant (18-0, 10 KOs), Anthony Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs), and David Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs)—Nicholson needs to finish Nicklow in spectacular fashion.
Fortunately, Nicklow represents the perfect opponent for Nicholson to make a statement against: a durable foe, with credible experience, that’s not going to fold at the first sign of pressure.
Of course, the fact that Nicholson is riding a two-fight win streak—while boasting a career KO percentage that hoovers around 80%—doesn’t bode well for Nicklow.
But fights aren’t always won on paper.
Perhaps more important, however, is that Nicholson’s performance versus Nicklow will give boxing pundits and fans a useful barometer in gauging how well the 26-year-old fighter is progressing under the guidance of coaches Calvin Ford and Kenny Ellis, whom Nicholson has trained with for the past 9 months at the Upton Boxing Center in Baltimore.
An emphatic win, could signal that Nicholson is ready to become a legitimate contender and challenge the top-tier fighters in a talented weight class.
On the eve of his bout vs. Nicklow, East Side Boxing’s Paul R. Jones! sat down with Demond Nicholson for an exclusive interview covering everything from switching trainers to his interest in avenging a bitter 2018 loss to Jesse “Hard Work” Hart (25-2, 21 KOs).
Here is what Nicholson had to say:
East Side Boxing (ESB): Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit. “Where did the nickname, ‘D’BestAtIt’ come from?
Demond Nicholson (DN): “That came from Twitter. I was 16 years old [and] always told myself I wanted to be the best at whatever I do. I said: Be the best at it.”
“When I turned pro, I didn’t know I was going to call myself [that].”
“People would say, ‘You call yourself: ‘D’BestAtIt’ on Twitter and Instagram already, so keep that name. I kept it, and that’s what I want to be…The Best.”
ESB: You stopped training with Coach Barry Hunter at the Headbangers Boxing Gym (Washington, DC) and moved to the Upton Boxing Center alongside Coach Ford and Coach Ellis. What’s been the biggest difference between training with Coach Hunter and Coach Ford?
DN: The biggest difference is [that] Coach Ford has brought out my natural talent and ability, and enhanced it. He’s making me better. Honestly, I didn’t think I could get any better. I didn’t think I was done learning, but I thought I was done getting any better. You know, getting sharper and my IQ. But my IQ has risen a lot.
I started with them last June and, today, I can see that I’m a totally different fighter. And I love it! I’m lovin’ the sport, everything that’s coming my way, and the people around me.
ESB: To many people (myself included), Coach Ford is among the most underrated trainers in the game despite having success with fighters like Gervonta “Tank” Davis, Malik “Iceman” Hawkins, Lorenzo Simpson, and you as well. Why do you think that’s the case?
DN: Honestly, I don’t know why. Sometimes, it takes at least one more person for [the media] to give him the credit he deserves. We’ve got guys like me, Malik Hawkins, Lorenzo Simpson—one of the best amateurs to ever walk in the United States—so, it’s coming. Everybody has their time. I guess it just hasn’t been his time yet, which it should have been, but it’s coming.
ESB: I follow you on social media and know that—not taking anything away from Jessie Nicklow, who has fought former world titlists (e.g., Ryota Murata) —getting another crack at Jesse Hart is important to you. How would it be different this time around versus Hart?
DN: That fight…I wanted to fight him again, BAD. But not that I look at it? It wouldn’t make no sense, but that fight helped me learn a lot. It helped me change…my career. I would have never went to Baltimore. I would have never made changes. I would have been in the same predicament that I was in last year, so that fight just helped open my eyes.
It helped me change my surroundings and change my life. So that fight is a thankful fight, an appreciation fight.
Definitely, if we were to fight again, I would knock Jesse out. For sure. It will happen down the line, if he stays at 168 pounds.
ESB: Finally, what can we expect on Friday night when you take on Jessie Nicklow?
DN: You can expect a knockout. Fireworks. A lovely show, because he’s coming to fight.
ESB: Thank you so much, Demond, and best of luck against Nicklow.
DN: Thank You, I appreciate it.
About Paul R. Jones!
Paul R. Jones! is a boxing writer and ringside photographer for East Side Boxing. A scientist by day and boxing writer by night, he covers the humorous, offbeat, and absurd from the sport of boxing. Paul’s articles have appeared in PEDIATRICS, Race and Social Problems, and Motivation and Emotion, and he’s covered boxing online for BOXINGNEWS24, BOXINGINSIDER, TheFightJournal, and WRAPSONTV.
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