Noticed I have been neglecting two sections of this website that according to my stat sheets is in large demand by Web Searches, viz,. TOPICS and STORIES, so this blog will be dedicated to Topics and another set aside for Stories, click on Home page for these new pages under those categories. Side Bar-there are many interesting innovations on the boxing game contained in the Not-so-Weekly Gab Bags Archives, that will answer many questions E-Mailers have about the Sweet-Science. But for you members if you require a personal response we will of course accomodate you.
SO LET'S START OFF WITH THE SUBJECT OF TRAINING OF BOXERS
Let's face it some people are born to be Lovers, Politicians, Accountants, Craftsman, Doctors, Lawyers or Chiefs, etc, etc. and even fighters.... Some others aspire to a specific occupation but they need guidance-an Education in their chosen field by someone versed in their choice. What is amazing to me is that in the boxing game there are so many trainers who have never experienced the game at even the lowest levels of competition and parade around as experts and are acknowledged by the main stream media as being such!
First, for all you neophytes to boxing you have to realize that the media types have air time to fill or line space to populate but only a rudimentary knowledge of the game. When I was a child and aspired to be a fighter I hung on every word I could read about the sport, once I was introduced to writers of major media organizations after turning pro, I couldn't believe I was naive enough to put any credibility in their scribbling, not only were they un-knowledgeable but they weren't even interested in the game, it is just a job to them!
At this moment in time there are writers who have my respect, Michael Katz and Steve Kim of Maxboxing.com-Graham Houston and Bruce Bebb of Boxing/Update Flash
and there are a few more out there I'm sure.....these Gentlemen have different styles for delivering boxing news but they are knowledgeable and entertaining. But remember they have never been there, done that, they are just relating the information that is provided, (they do it well), however they don't have first hand experience!
But let's get to the subject at hand, training-you have to acquire a keen eye and size up the mental and physical qualities of your potential champion, as a trainer you have to look at your subject like a lump of clay that your going to mold into something special as if you were Michael Angelo. But it's going to take awhile, 'Rome wasn't built in a day' , and if the extent of your instruction as a trainer is 'Just throw punches', that might work in the amateurs but your charge isn't going to get out of the preliminaries in the pros.
Age is a factor as well as past experience, if you get a new piece of clay with desire, not one that has been given some faulty instruction and picked up some bad habits, for instance at say 15 years of age, show them a move and they will pick it up quickly, 17 years old it takes a little longer, 25 it's hard but they might eventually get it but you will be limited as a trainer to the amount of knowledge you can introduce to an older subject.
Couple age with acquired bad habits, again the age factor comes to play the youngster you can possibly help to get over, the older fighter may respond in the gym but under the pressure of a fight they will usually revert to their old habits, not good.
(For instance make a note in the morning on which sock you put on first while suiting up the uniform of the day, make an effort to change the order to the other foot, you probably won't get by two days if that before your back to the original foot, can you imagine if someone is throwing punches at you?)
Acquiring a new trainer for an established fighter ain't going to help much, look at Tyson just recently, he's had Freddie Roach, Buddy McGirt, and a few more, did it make any difference? Once the fight commences the fighter is on his own, the trainer can't stop the proceedings and reinforce the new instructions they have been going over for a couple of months, under pressure you will revert to your acquired habits that have been established over years of repetition. (Review paragraph on socks)
Another example is a couple of well known go out on your shield types Arturo Gatti and Fernando Vargas, they are trying to learn how to box to prolong their careers and because they can put fannies in the seats they have received the approval and patience of promoters. With proper matchmaking they can do fine, put them in with an established boxer who has boxing skills that have been acquired over many years and they will be outclassed.
I just read a blog on a new trainer I never heard off who has been put in charge of some excellent talent, he claims he is a new school trainer and most of the Old School cliches are out of date or nobody really understands what they mean? Maybe you don't but we do, It's like this new guy, just because there are a few of us that really deserve the moniker Old School it doesn't mean we are not open to new stuff, we're not getting older we're getting BETTER! Most new stuff is just Old School stuff recylcled or presented in a different envelope.
The only way your going to rise above the pack in this game is #1 Have some ability and #2 Work your tail off in the gym-Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect! Your not going to improve significantly by working all the various apparatus in the gym period, a trainer should only use the gym paraphenalia if there is no one qualified to spar with, period. THE ONLY WAY YOUR GOING TO IMPROVE IS BY GETTING THE BEST POSSIBLE SPARRING AVAILABLE AND KEEP UPGRADING THE LEVEL OF THAT ACTIVITY! Then you have to have the right connections that will move you along slowly, one step at a time, sparring in the Gym is 1000% more effective then hitting the bags, then add another 1000% for actually appearing in a fight before an audience. Right along with #1 & 2 is good attitude, consistency, determination.
The only piece of gym equipment that will help you immeasurably is the speed bag, the problem is that all you new school folks don't know how to use it! The heavy bag has some benefits for developing stamina and depth perception, shadow boxing as a warm up except the new gendarme don't get it here either, ( new guys jump rope to warm up, boring and no mental benefit's, jumping rope is strenuous and should only be done if you haven't done any roadwork and definitely not before sparring), it's called thinking, going over in your mind what the possible moves your opponent may make and reviewing in your mind how you will defend and counter his moves. Are you going to whip out the rope in the middle of a fight when your under pressure or are you going to think your way out of the dilemna? You know, come up with a new strategy? re-adjust your fight plan when under duress, make some changes when someone is trying to take your head off. The officials are not going to pause the round so you and your trainer can have a conference you have to be able to do it on YOUR OWN under adverse conditions.
Trainers need to keep it interesting, a steady diet of the same routine day in and day out will have your fighters losing interest, variety is the spice of life. But you have to concentrate on the routines, that will result in the most benefits, Road Work, (every other day is sufficient), Best possible *sparring and the speed bag, (no more than two days in a row) and abdomen strengthing exercises. Make sure your charges get plenty of rest and eats properly of course, pretty common sense things, and you will have a pug who is ready to go! *sparring usually has to be scheduled per the availability of qualified sparring partners, but definitely go for this training regimen, good sparring supercedes all other training activities!
Don't over do it, (Overtrain), leave the fight in the gym!
Teachers in Boxing, there are probably only a few qualified at any one time in any era,
speaking from my own experience the best advice I ever received was from top boxers who had demonstrated that they had the ability themselves, been there done that! Two, who taught me more in a few minutes then all the trainers I had over ten years we're Harold Dade and L.C. Morgan, I still pass on their advice to new fighters today. Being a teenager during the fifties and starting out in a pro gym with top pro fighters I was able to observe and emulate their styles and best moves, (plus the Gillitte Friday night fights where you could see the cream of the crop ply their wares every week).
L.C. Morgan 79 wins, 57 K.O's L 45 D 3 Total 127 bouts 1954 thru 1970 Road Warrior, debut on the road, next two at home Youngstown, Ohio balance of appearances around the World against the Top Boxers of his time, unknown to the fans, highly respected in the boxing game
Surprise, but if you have had actual combat in a professional fight where your sitting out there practically naked in front of the fight crowd with obviously no place to hide, somehow you find how to place yourself in positions that will minimize the pain and danger and also fall into new positions you never realized existed before when experiencing the all out mayhem sometimes encountered in a prize fight, it happens automatically from the pressure.
Simply you will fall into situations you never encountered in sparring no matter how minute they feel, I say feel because you can not visualize them from outside the ring, it's only something that a pro fighter experiences. You find a way to survive, need is the mother of invention! and when your getting pounded by those tiny fight gloves you quickly make adjustments or your a K.O. victim.
One of the best compliments I received was from 'Cannon Ball' Green a former pro fighter and accomplished trainer who remarked to me, "Everytime I see you make that move into that position I know the fight is over", and that move I discovered not by being taught, not in the gym, but in a fight where I naturally fell into a position where I couldn't be hit but my opponent was wide open and it was his demise! Even after my career ended I still gathered new moves and stored them in my memory for the day I might encounter a boxer who could do that certain thing, not every one can do everything you put in front of them.
Getting back to training, 'Cannonball' was the first trainer I saw utilize the medicine ball as a training tool to catch the punches of his fighter, and *Charley Goldman the trainer of 'Rocky' Marciano the first I observed using a modified version of the Punch Mitts which the modern day trainers swear by, there's only one problem new guys, fighting is an offensive and defensive game, punch mitts as used by the modern crowd are one way, offensive only, it doesn't teach any defense and gives your boxer a false sense of doing well. I use the type of punch mitt which is a combination pad and boxing glove so if my boxer makes a mistake he pays for it! You instruct the entire game not half of it!
* Charley probably came up with this idea because 'Rocky' started late and originally he was very clumsy and he needed to find some way for 'The Rock' to refine his heavy punches, in lieu of wild haymakers.
Charley Goldman with 'Rocky' probably in early 1950's
You see, new guys you missed the last fifty plus years, you need to give a little respect to us old farts who we're plying this trade when you were no more than a glint in your ancestors eyes.
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