The Corner: A Job Not To Be Taken Lightly
Training camp is over. Fight Night has finally arrived. Your boxer's hands are wrapped and the gloves are laced on. He is stretched, warmed up, and ready to go. You hear his intro music start. The ring walk begins...
Announcements have been made and you and your boxer listen to the referee's final instructions. You go back to your corner and give some final words of encouragement. "Ding!" All the blood, sweat, and tears boils down to this very moment. You know your fighter is ready for battle.
Here are a few tips that will give you success in working the corner that will lead your boxer to victory.
REMEMBER YOUR CHECKLIST
A fighter has to have a checklist of things before even stepping in the ring. First and foremost, he has to make sure he makes weight and properly hydrates himself afterwards. The boxer needs to have all of the proper equipment such as a protective cup, mouthpiece, boxing shoes, and fight ensemble. It is no different for the corner. Make sure you have the gauze, tape, vaseline, adrenaline, Q-tips, water, ice, Enswell, towels, and a bucket. Preparation is key for the fighter and corner.
ONE PERSON AT A TIME
Before the fight even starts, the trainer and the boxer come up with a game plan. Both have to look at holes in the defense of their opponent and capitalize on it. They look to see what weaknesses they can exploit. The same thing for the corner. They also need a game plan. Figure out who is going to take the stool out for the fighter to sit on, who is giving him water, and who is handling the swelling and/or cuts.
There should be a head trainer who is the main source of information to the fighter and a secondary trainer, who may add or supplement what the head trainer says. NEVER have two people giving advice at the same time, confusing the fighter. With the spectators, the judges, referee, ring girls, and ringside doctors, it is already going to be a hectic environment. Do not make it worse.
BE CALM, COMPOSED, AND SPECIFIC
The hardest thing to develop inside the ring is being calm. It is difficult because the guy standing in
front of you wants to tear your head off. But once you gain that experience, your composure improves and you become more comfortable and relaxed. It is the same thing with the corner.
When your boxer returns to the corner after a good or bad round, emotions are running high from both ends. Your fighter may be excited, discouraged, or even angry. That is when it is YOUR JOB to bring him back to a calm place. Talk to him. Give him specific instructions on what he should or should not do. Encouragement is good, but do not give him general instructions. Be very specific on what punches he should throw, what angles he should take, and whether or not to stick or modify the game plan. Give him one or two specific things to do. Do not overwhelm.
LOOK OUT FOR YOUR FIGHTER'S SELF INTEREST, NOT YOURS
Hard decisions have to be made from the corner. Your boxer may be in a tough and heated battle, where there are brutal exchanges back and forth. He may be slightly ahead or slightly behind. The concussive force from the blows wobble your fighter but he keeps exchanging blows. What do you do? Do you let the fight go on? Do you let your boxer go out on his shield because of the taboo nature of the sport of never throwing in the towel until it is absolutely necesarry? Of course it is a case by case basis, but it is indeed a question your are going to have to answer.
At the end of the day, you have to look out what is best for the fighter. If it looks too dangerous to the point where your boxer's health is at risk, STOP THE FIGHT. Sometimes you may have to make the hard decisions like Eddie Futch did when Ali fought Frazier in the "Thrilla in Manila." Frazier wanted to continue, but Futch saw too many men die in the ring in his time because the fight was not stopped by his corner. Futch decided stop the fight to save Frazier from himself.
It is no easy task working the corner in a boxing match. There is a lot of responsibility involved and hard decisions have to be made. Do not take it lightly. The health and safety of your fighter is at stake.