Q&A: Dorin Spivey
Story and photos by Chris Perry
The last time Dorin Spivey fought at the Norfolk Scope Arena, he thrilled the crowd with an exhilarating performance on the undercard of the Larry Holmes versus Butterbean pay-per-view event (July 2002).
Since that bout, the 36 year-old Portsmouth, Virginia native has been on a roller coaster ride through the most challenging aspects of boxing.
Spivey persevered rising above defeat, broken promises and dashed expectations to win the NABA lightweight championship in November of last year. That victory propelled the ring veteran into the WBA rankings as the #10 contender and another step closer to his goal of winning a world title.
Focused on his goal, Spivey (37-5, 29 KOs) returns to the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia on April 3rd to challenge tough Baltimore, Maryland fighter Tyrell Samuel (14-3, 6 KOs) in the featured attraction of promoter Jack Fulton’s inaugural International Championship Boxing (ICB) Knockout Series event.
Excited about fighting in front of his hometown fans, his team and his quest to become world champion, Spivey - and his advisor Daryl DeCroix - recently sat down for an in-depth interview with FightNews.
FightNews: Dorin, the last time you fought at the Norfolk Scope was July 22, 2002 when you won an exciting fight on the Larry Holmes versus Eric “Butterbean” Esch undercard. Over the past almost eight years since that fight, it’s been a roller coaster ride for you with five victories in nine fights, including winning the NABA lightweight title in your last bout. Describe the ups-and-downs since the last time you fought at the Norfolk Scope.
Dorin Spivey: I tell you, it’s been quite a journey for me. First of all, I would like the public to know the newest member of Team Spivey is Daryl DeCroix. He’s not only a friend, but he’s taken on the role as my advisor for, not only boxing, but after boxing too. Inside the ring and outside the ring. He’s a friend for life and a good man.
The journey I’ve been through, it’s been crazy. Getting cheated on in fights. Getting lied to about fights. Training to prepare for a fight and nothing happening. It was tough.
And also, training with Pernell Whitaker. Pernell Whitaker taught me his style and tried to put his style into my style but it was not my style. It really confused me but I got something out of it.
The best thing that happened for me was winning the NABA title because nobody thought I would win the fight. Nobody gave me a chance at all.
And then after that, running into my man Daryl DeCroix.
Two of the best things happened back-to-back in my life that I’m going to treasure forever.
FightNews: Daryl, you’ve known Dorin for many years now. Share your thoughts about Dorin Spivey the boxer and Dorin Spivey the man outside of the ring.
Daryl DeCroix: Dorin is a guy who trains for his boxing career harder than the majority of the people I know work on their own careers. That is a mental, physical, grueling training - six to eight hours a day in the gym, four to five miles out on the road and boxing 12 rounds with guys and having to bring in a fresh 22-year-old every three rounds to keep up with him.
This is a guy who doesn’t drink alcohol, doesn’t smoke cigarettes, doesn't do drugs. He’s a poster child for kids in my opinion. He’s a great athlete and a great person.
He’s got real morals, real character. He’s seen unfortunate sides of the fight business. It’s a rough industry, but I think he comes out with a positive attitude. He doesn’t blame anybody, he’s not pointing fingers, he’s just looking for his next opportunity to prove himself. That’s what I like about Dorin.
FightNews: Dorin, in November of last year you defeated Meacher Major for the NABA lightweight title. Winning a title and bringing it back home to Hampton Roads has been a goal of yours. How special was that win for you?
Spivey: For me, it was probably the biggest fight of my career. Many people thought Major would just destroy me but I believed in myself and my team believed in me. I worked so hard in preparing for that fight. It was a defining moment of my career. After stopping Major and winning the fight, it just all hit me at one time, “Oh my God, I’m going to be ranked in the world now!” I worked so hard to get back into the world rankings. I tried to fight the tears but they just came out. It was an emotional moment for me. It was the biggest win of my career. My promoter Nick Garone told me I went from being a veteran fighter trying to get back on track to being a world contender. I’m now a world ranked contender and NABA lightweight champion, so it was one of the biggest moments of my career.
FightNews: You are fighting here in your backyard at the Norfolk Scope. How excited are you to fight in front of your hometown fans?
Spivey: It’s very special for me because it’s been eight years since I’ve fought here. It won’t be the Butterbean, Larry Holmes show but it’s going to be a good fight card. It’s very exciting for me. I’ve trained hard. I’ve got the right team around me now. I’m so focused and so dedicated to what I’m doing.
FightNews: Dorin, you’re preparing for Tyrell Samuel (14-3, 6 KOs). A tough, 27-year-old Baltimore fighter. Share your thoughts on him.
Spivey: Samuel’s a tough kid from a tough place. Baltimore Maryland’s a tough area. He actually trash-talked at me at the press conference, saying what he’s going to do to me. You know, I wouldn’t stoop to that level, but I can see he’s a young, cocky kid who’s hungry. He’s going to come in and try to take what I have but I’ve been working so hard to defend this. He’s probably going to have to come in with some sort of foreign object to take that title away from me because I’m going to fight my behind off every round. I’m going to fight hard and put a good show on for the crowd.
FightNews: Dorin, talk about training and how you are feeling right now.
Spivey: I’ve still got the hunger and desire of a 20-year-old kid who’s starting his career. My trainer John Hunter once said he remembers this young kid coming into the gym who was the first one there and the last one to leave. And it’s still that way even at my age now. I’m still the first guy to be in the gym and the last one to leave. You can’t keep me out of the gym because I’m a workaholic.
FightNews: Dorin, not looking past April 3rd, but as you move forward, what are your goals?
Spivey: My goals right now are to hopefully win this fight and move up, if not to the number one contender’s spot in the WBA which is vacant, at least into the top five in the WBA. To become world champion is the goal I believe I can accomplish and the goal I believe will happen.
I’m excited because I have the right team around me. Nick Garone is my promoter out of Buffalo, New York. I’ve got good trainers with Coach John Hunter and Greg Smith, who is a newcomer to Team Spivey, along with Jake Wareing, Daryl DeCroix and my cut man Robert “Machine” Matney.
FightNews: Dorin, any final comments as you prepare for your fight on April 3?
Spivey: I just want to say one thing to all the kids out there. Never give up on your dreams! People wrote me off a long time ago. People kept saying, “It’s not going to happen Dorin, your not going to be able to do it.”
I hung in there through all of the tough times, through all of the trials and tribulations and here I am a world contender and NABA lightweight champion. This is a real big deal for me but my goal is to become WBA champion.
I never gave up and for all the kids that have dreams and want to achieve them, never listen to the negative people. Always move forward, believe in yourself, believe in your Maker and things can happen for you. Just don’t give up on your dreams no matter what people tell you.
You can do it if you believe in yourself!