Nebraska assistant strength coach Jamie Belt in the Huskers weight room at North Stadium. Before joining the Husker program, Belt helped train junior welterweight world champion Terence "Bud" Crawford of Omaha.

Something tells me Jamie Belt wasn’t quite ready for a workout Sunday night.

A former Husker assistant football strength coach, the 35-year-old Belt, of Lincoln, was up all night Saturday before leaving Las Vegas early Sunday morning. He’s the head strength coach for Terence “Bud” Crawford, who stopped Jeff “The Hornet” Horn in the ninth round to capture the WBO welterweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Belt was in Crawford’s corner -- not a bad gig considering Crawford (33-0, 24 knockouts) moved up to the 147-pound division and became only the sixth boxer in history to win world titles at lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight.

Crawford would’ve been a force in any generation. But the uber-talented Omaha resident wasn’t the only reason why Belt was so excited Saturday.

Maurice Hooker of Dallas -- another fighter who works under Belt -- captured the WBO junior welterweight title by defeating Englishman Terry Flanagan the same night in Manchester, England.

Hooker, who was a 7-1 underdog, trained for a month in Nebraska leading to the bout.

“It really hasn’t all sunk in yet,” Belt said.

Although fatigued from a hectic weekend, Belt was gracious enough to take time for a Q&A with the Journal Star.

Question: What was the most impressive aspect of Crawford’s triumph?

Belt: “I think the most impressive thing was how mature Bud acted with everything that was going on. I mean, there were a lot of distractions as far as family, friends and celebrities who were there. And then with all the smack talking that was going on (between the fighters’ camps) -- kind of on both ends -- but Bud just kind of kept his mouth shut and did the talking with his hands.”

Q: Celebrities?

Belt: “Mark Wahlberg, Rick Ross, the Black Panther guy (Chadwick Boseman), three or four NFL players. They all came in the locker room.”

Q: Wahlberg? Really? I just watched “Deepwater Horizon” for like the fifth time. Love that dude.

Belt: “We call him ‘The Hy-Vee guy’ because he has a supplement line at Hy-Vee. He’s a good dude.”

Q: How good was Crawford against Horn?

Belt: “That’s the best I’ve seen him fight. He looked awesome. He did everything he was supposed to do and more. It didn’t look like he got tired. He recovered fast. He was just great. In his press conference, he said it was the best shape he’s ever been in physically and mentally.”

Q: How big of an advantage is it for Crawford that even though he’s a traditional right-handed boxer, he fights equally well in a southpaw stance?

Belt: “I think it’s a huge advantage. It’s hard to pick up his rhythm. People struggle with left-handers anyway. I’m pretty sure Bud stayed left-handed the majority of last night.”

Q: What’s next for you guys?

Belt: “We have a lot fighters we work with, and there’s a big show in Omaha on June 30th at Ralston Arena. We’ll work with those guys. We have some other guys who fight under B&B Boxing Promotions and Top Rank who train with us. They’ll fight in September. We’ll take a little bit of time off, but we’ll get back to work here pretty quick.”

Q: So, you’re on quite a roll …

Belt: “I’m going to have three or four champions by the end of the year.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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