Jamie Cox: The under-the-radar danger
Jamie Cox was describing the impact his low profile but highly respected manager Lee Beard was having on his career when he said: “The quietest man in the room is actually the loudest man in the room.” The phrase could easily end up applying perfectly to the undefeated 28-year-old himself.
Since emerging from a controversial fight with Ghana’s Obodai Sai with two bad cuts, two broken hands and the Commonwealth light-middleweight belt, Cox has fought just twice in almost four years but has rebuilt his career away from prying eyes.
Having reintroduced himself in February as a solid middleweight and, with the fragile hands which have been responsible for so much of his time off seemingly as good as new, long-term trainer John Costello back on board and Beard pulling the strings, Cox, 18-0 (10 KOs), might just be the surprise package of the British 160lbs division.
He made a low-profile return to action in February. Matched against the durable but unspectacular Alistair Warren, Cox found himself halfway down a card in Wolverhampton, miles from his hometown of Swindon and surrounded by big ticket sellers and local debutants. Nonetheless, the BoxNation powers-that-be recognised that Cox possessed that rare, intangible something and rewarded him with a prime spot on the live broadcast. In turn, Cox rewarded them by blowing Warren away with a display of raw, unbridled power.
“He’d gone the distance with John Ryder and given Chris Eubank Jnr three good rounds before being stopped on his stool. Even I thought, going in there, that it wasn’t going to be a one-rounder but it all came together and I took him out,” Cox told Boxing Monthly.
“If you ask me or Frank Warren, or anybody for that matter, they’ll tell you I’ve never turned anybody down because, as long as I’ve done the training, it doesn’t matter really. I believe in myself and believe that I’ll get the result. I just want to test myself. I think nowadays that people try and avoid people. I’d rather be involved in some good fights.”
Beard has a truly impressive list of contacts, but the Manchester-based trainer is the type of man for whom actions speak louder than words and Cox has earned the opportunities which are coming his way by dedicating himself to the sport completely over the last year. Cox’s reward for beating Warren was an extended ‘Busman’s holiday’ in America where Beard also managed to secure teammate and fellow southpaw Jack Catterall the chance to be a small part of the biggest fight in recent memory. Floyd Mayweather found Catterall’s skillset to be more than suitable preparation for his fight with Manny Pacquiao, but (rather than mark time and be content to soak up the atmosphere around ‘The Money Team’) Cox travelled south and found an equally tough task on the Mexican border.
“I’ve really dedicated myself to the boxing,” said Cox. “Everything I touch at the moment keeps on going to the floor. I gave a good representation of myself over in the USA. I was over there for two months with Saul Alvarez and at Roy Jones’ gym in Las Vegas, at the Top Rank gym and at the Mayweather Gym. We were all over the place. It was great. I got the opportunity to go out there and we’re going from strength to strength.
“With John and Lee, everything just seems to be working. I’m at a good age now and, if they can produce the good fights for me right now, then I’ll just go out, do my business and just repeat what I’ve been doing over the past year.
“Lee arranged for myself and Jack to go over and spar Mayweather,” continued Cox. “He had a few sparring partners and there were a couple of middleweights there. Floyd is only really a welterweight and I’d sparred a couple of super-middleweights and done really well. Floyd’s the best fighter in the world, but because I’m a bit bigger they didn’t bother sparring me. They sparred Jack because he’s a little bit smaller than me so, because I missed out, they got me straight in with Alvarez.
“He’s not only the best person I sparred in America, Saul Alvarez is the best person I’ve ever sparred,” Cox said. “He’s just as good as people say. He’s a great fighter and he’s a big lad. He fights at 154lbs and I fight at 160lbs, but I think sometimes he was heavier than me in the gym. I think he’ll be fighting at middleweight one day. It was really good sparring. He’s a strong guy and has a really good boxing brain. Alvarez is a clever fighter.
“Lee’s a lot better connected in the USA than he is in the UK and seems to get a lot more respect there than he does here,” added Cox. “Lee - and especially John Costello, too. I’m not going to forget John because he’s a great trainer and friend who’s been there from the start and always had my back - they’re behind the scenes guys. They aren’t in your face. They’re proper boxing people who want to make the moves, but they want to make them quietly.”
Beard and Cox may be manoeuvring themselves into position quietly, but Cox isn’t the shy and retiring type. If he is given a chance to make up for lost time - on either side of the Atlantic - expect fireworks.
“No offence, but I don’t want to fight any weak opponents. I want to fight the best. I don’t want to fight any of the lower end of the scale because, even as an amateur, I fought the best and it’s no different in the pros,” said Cox. “They’re only men at the end of the day. You just want to test yourself, but I haven’t been getting the opportunities lately.
“I keep on saying it, but just give me one opportunity and let me see what I can do. Either in Britain or America, because I know they - Top Rank, Al Haymon and a few other guys - want to do some stuff. If I can go to America, that would be even better, and I know they’re talking to Lee as we speak. Las Vegas and New York are the capitals of boxing.
“Hopefully, between now and September, we’ll get some big fights lined up,” said the avoided Cox. “I know Lee’s had some calls from promoters and, I can’t say too much about it at the moment, but I’ll be fighting in July and it’ll be a big fight. I can’t wait to go out there and bring it. You know me, I always bring it.”