YOU WANT TO BE A BAD ASS BOXER? HERE'S HOW...
I’m not a famous boxing trainer like Abel Sanchez, Teddy Atlas, or Nacho Beristain. But I know what it takes to have success in the ring. There are four important things you must possess to be the best at anything. A hard work ethic, dedication, consistency, and most of all belief in yourself. But here are a few intricacies I learned over the years that will turn you into a great fighter.
*STICK TO THE BASICS I see fighters spending a lot of time trying different kinds of “advanced” punches and/or techniques. I see boxers trying the “Philly” defense or the “Check” hook when they are clearly not proficient at it. I have nothing against trying new things, but when it becomes the focus, it could be detrimental. There’s nothing like a tight defense, a stiff jab, a solid right hand, and a good pivot to a crisp left hook. World Champions like Alexis Arguello, Glen Johnson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Ronald “Winky” Wright, and Felix Trinidad were not the fastest or flashiest but they sure knew the basics.
*GET HIT AND MOVE ON It is very unnatural to get hit in the face. It is even more unnatural to get knocked down by a punch to the face. But it obviously happens in the ring. If you get caught with a good shot or knocked down, don’t dwell on it. Accept it and move on. Don’t be discouraged. Yes, getting your bell rung and the air knocked out of you sucks. But when you get off the canvas, you should say to yourself, “Ok, it’s my turn now."
*SPAR PEOPLE BETTER THAN YOU Sure, there are many benefits to sparring people with less ability and/or experience than you. You could try new things and work on more speed than power. But it will not get you better as fast as sparring people better than you. You learn so much more swapping punches with the more experienced fighters. They expose your mistakes and force you to correct them. It can be a painful experience, but the benefits are worth it.
*BOX AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN Whether it is a boxing show in front of a crowd of people or getting together with fighters at another gym, leave the comfort of your facility and get out and get that experience. Everyone has a different skill level, style, and/or physical makeup. Spar the guy with 5 fights, 10 fights, or 50 fights. Fight the tall/skinny guy and the short/stalky guy. Fight the Orthodox fighter and the southpaw. Fight the boxer and the brawler. Fighting different styles makes you a better well rounded fighter.
*GET TO KNOW EVERYONE IN THE BOXING COMMUNITY Boxing is a small community where everyone knows one another. Get to know them. Once you start building relationships, you could ask one another for boxing advice, go to one another’s gym to spar, or simply ask another coach you trust if they could wrap your hands or corner you in a fight as a back up. Once you build credibility with those in the boxing community, who knows what doors could open.
*GET IN THE GYM After a fight, boxers tend to take “time off.” Well, time off ends up being weeks, then months, then years, then never coming back. I’m not against taking well deserved breaks or time off, but do not disappear. Like anything else, once the routine goes by the wayside, it is hard to get back on it. Poke your head in the gym once in a while.
*STAY AROUND YOUR FIGHTING WEIGHT After a fight, I see boxers balloon up to 10, 15, and sometimes even more than 20 pounds above their fighting weight. Do not fall off the wagon. Even if it’s not in the boxing gym, stay in a GYM. Lift weights, get some cardio in, and don’t gorge yourself with cheeseburgers and ice cream. Eventually, make your back into the boxing gym. It’s a lot easier shedding five pounds than twenty.
*LISTEN TO YOUR TRAINER Your trainer could see things you cannot. Whether you are shadowboxing, hitting the heavy bag, doing mitt work, or sparring, he will always see things you could do better a lot faster than you can. A good trainer should correct you AS SOON as he sees you committing a mistake. If you do not trust or feel your trainer does not know what he is talking about, FIND ANOTHER TRAINER. There are plenty of them out there.
*STAY HUMBLE Do not think you are Billy Bad ass. Do not think you know it all. There will always be someone better than you or who knows more than you. Even if you are the greatest of all time, your days may be numbered. If you can’t be humble, one day someone will humble you.