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Preparing For Every Eventuality In The Boxing Ring
June 30. 2014
Boxing is a tough sport. Only the best and toughest boxers make it to the top. It takes hard work, mental fortitude, bravery and persistence. Boxing is not a team sport, where everyone carries the squad with a role to play. In boxing, one man is the squad. It's a solo sport with tremendous rewards for winning and terrible criticism for losing. The press and public criticism can be worse than the actual punches in the ring.
Boxers must make the most of their time in the sport and spotlight (socially and financially), because all it takes is one punch from an opponent to greatly damage a career with a knockout. That means management making good deals to generate income outside the ring, such as product endorsements, paid public appearances, a reality show (ect..). That means using some of your earnings towards a down payment to purchase a home and even renting a portion of the property, such as a guesthouse or in-law quarters, to bring in income every month. That means starting a sensible small businesses catering to public tastes in order to generate more income (but it must be a good and sensible business idea and plan, not something that won't sell/the public won't buy). One should also be careful playing the stock market, as it is risky and can wipe you out.
For the average boxer, boxing cannot be their sole source of income, as most boxers don't rake in the kind of money that Mayweather and Klitschko do, to live comfortably off said dividends for the rest of their lives. There are many boxers, but only so many champions. Not everyone makes the big money. Therefore, set yourself up for financial success from the beginning, so no matter what happens with your career, you will have finances to fall back on.
A good trainer will make all the difference in the world in a boxer's career. If the trainer knows and understands boxing, its history, proper techniques and training methods that actually get through to boxers and work in live applications in the ring, his stable will be successful. On the flip side, if a trainer is teaching and reinforcing incorrect or poor techniques and form, their boxers will suffer for it in the ring and in their careers.
Angelo Dundee and Cus D'Mato are two legendary trainers, who made their mark on boxing through their fighters. Some modern day trainers would do well to study their works, practices and techniques in training their fighters today. Some trainers are not doing enough to reinforce the fundamentals of boxing in their fighters, which leads to improper form and negative practice sessions, which through repetition becomes bad habits in the ring. These bad habits can lead to losses and sometimes preventable injuries.
Some trainers neglect the psychological aspect of boxing, which is something Dundee and D'Mato did not do, emphasizing the mental side of boxing. Sports psychology doesn't mean a boxer is crazy. It means getting the mind in the right state and correct train of thought to work with the body in such a way it produces victories in the ring. You must believe you can win, are a worthy opponent and not second guess yourself in the ring. Some boxers have hang-ups they need to shed, as it causes them to crumble in the ring. Once again, it does not mean they are crazy, but sometimes trauma or loss can create hang-ups inside the ring. The key is to figure out what is causing it and correct it.
A boxer must learn and maintain the fundamentals of their sport throughout their career. Protect your head at all times. I've seen boxers in the ring with their chin open for extended periods of time, resulting in well-timed knockouts by their opponents. I've seen boxers with inadequate footwork plant their feet waiting for a knockout shot to take down their opponent, only get to knocked out themselves by their opponent whilst standing there barely moving.
Discipline yourself and buckle down regarding learning the fundamentals of your craft or you will fail. The dreams of ascending in the ranks and using boxing to buy your dream home, car and financially taking care of your family, will be gone if you don't discipline yourself and buckle down regarding perfecting the basics of boxing. It's the foundation of your entire game. Regarding your boxing technique, proverbially speaking, the foundation must be right or the house will fall.
Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali had the best head movement and footwork. Use Robinson and Ali as a template. You can't hit what you can't catch. Evade your opponent while looking for inroads to knock them out or outbox them in the ring via landing the most punches.
Robinson gave good advice regarding training well and then following your instincts in the ring, "You don't think. It's all instinct. If you stop to think, you're gone." In essence, practice and train so well it all becomes second nature to you.
A boxer must be well rounded with good footwork, head movement and hand speed. A boxer must learn proper defensive skills in how to protect the head and use the elbows to protect the solar plexus (and sides).
I do not write any of this to be patronizing. However, these are fundamentals, but some boxers neglect this aspect of their craft, which is evident watching them in the ring when they end up knocked out or knocked to the ground, losing fights they are capable of winning. As the fights become more difficult, with a promoter stepping up the level of competition, the deficiencies will become apparent in the ring. Correct these deficiencies in your game or it will hold you back.
A boxer must be able to adapt to changes. I was speaking to my dad over the phone a few days ago and he brought up how some orthodox stance boxers will switch to southpaw mid-fight to throw off, unbalance and confuse their opponents. He spoke of how Ali, utilizing great footwork, would dance to the left, which would throw off orthodox stance boxers. If you want to become the best, one must prepare/train for every possible eventuality in the ring.
There are boxers who have damaged their careers with partying and multiple women, which destroys focus, creates complacency and saps your strength. You have to make up your mind which you want more. The parties/clubbing, drinking and being promiscuous bedding women all over the place (with the risk of sexually transmitted diseases) or being champion, because you can't do both. The ironic thing about famous men, many of them don't even remember the names of the majority of the women they've had sex with. It's that meaningless of a physical reaction to them. However, one never forgets being champion (well, unless one gets Alzheimer's).
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