Friday, June 27, 2008

Blast from the past: A true all time great.

With the retirement of Floyd Mayweather he and his team are claiming that he should be acknowledged as one of the best if not the best fighter ever. Floyd obviously hasn't done enough to earn that respect. Yes he has one titles in 5 different weight divisions but against whom really? On paper Floyd is there but looking closer and the truth comes out.

Here is a highlight clip of one of the indeed all time best in Pernell Whitaker. Unlike Floyd, Pernell had the zest to fight the best, Hell that rimed right there didn't it? Pretty cool! Pernell won titles in four different weight divisions compared to Floyd's five but Pernell did fight and beat better fighters which is what counts compared to how impressive Floyd's accomplishments on paper.

See for your self how good Pernell was against the best. He did it right by fighting the best, not by feasting on weak champions for the sake of collecting multiple titles in weight divisions and living with the fake glory that comes with that.

No, Pernell was old school.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What's lacking in a lot of boxing training camps today.

I recently recorded a phone interview with strength/conditioning coach Mackie Shilstone that will be available on very soon. Mackie has worked with many world champion fighters from Michael Spinks when he beat Holmes to become the first light heavyweight champion to win a heavyweight title, Riddick Bowe when he beat Holyfield for the title, Roy Jones when he beat Ruiz for the heavyweight tile the first to do it since Bob Fitzsimmons, and Bernard Hopkins when he moved up to beat Antonio Tarver for the light heavyweight title accomplishing what his great idol Sugar Ray Robinson couldn't.

Mackie has been around boxing for a LONG time and what he said is sorely missing today is professionalism in fight camps and fighters period. We discussed Ricky Hattons tendency to balloon up in weight after his fights and the shear focus of his training camps being dropping the weight and not improvements in skill/style.

Mackie talked about the old school fight camps up in the Catskills and how they were run. He talked about his experience and time spent with the great Eddie Futch. Professionalism was displayed at its fullest. Mackie also commented on Bernard Hopkin's discipline and professionalism for the sport and how he now serves as a spokesman for it. That was Bernard's secret and fountain of youth that he constantly dipped in and drank from.

It's bullshit now a days with the training camps focus just being on getting the weight off for the fight. The taxing and over training that come with it withers fighters and their desire to fight more often as they must if they want to stay sharp and blossom. Where is the guidance and discipline that the old school greats like Futch, Arcel displayed and influenced their fighters with? The control and ability to know how much to push and when.

Better responsibility must be taken to create better fighters and lasting fighters. Listening to Mackie's stories about the old school fight camps and my experience/conversations with the old school trainers I spent time training with in upstate NY ingrains this in me fully.

It must be ingrained in many others too if they want their fighters to constantly reap the many rewards of being a world champion fighter or becoming one for that matter.

This is often the missing ingredient that prevents it from happening, or allows for a short taste and reign.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The blind leading the blind, a terrible trend in boxing strength training workouts.

I was reading how my favorite fighter James Toney appears to be in the best shape since Holyfield. That's great, I can't wait to see him fight next month if it's true. The disturbing thing I read was he was lighting light weights with high reps the typical bullshit magic bullet that these strength?/conditioning coaches use, yes there's a ? behind strength as I'm shaking my head why? The reason why James lost to Peter in his last fight wasn't because he wasn't lifting light enough!

The popular trend in strength training boxers is if you're going to lift weights play it safe and lift light with lots of reps yet the people who prescribe this crap claim the fighter will get strong. This do this while obviously neglecting the real needs of the fighter.

I'm just so sick and tired of hearing this myth and seeing fighters misled by training this way. I watched a video that my bud Alwyn Cosgrove sent me with Kelly Pavlik stating how he trains some 6 hours a day and when he lifts weights... Yup... I ain't going to say it... SAME shit. His strength coach was sitting there saying I don't like to talk about Kelly's training. The dude didn't need to what Kelly was saying just made you shake your head why? Why is that guy in Kelly's camp?

So that is the trend in strength training boxers, the blind are leading the blind. It seems either none of these trainers have the balls to educate the fight team on why true strength training is needed, or they just don't care and are along for the ride collecting the check by playing it safe and going with the popular trend and myth. Judging from the shit I've been reading and believe me I hope it isn't true, it appears that the latter is the case.

Click here REAL boxing strength training workouts

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Q/A: Floyd Mayweather was he that good?

With the seemingly for real retirement of Floyd Mayweather comes this question of how good was he?

What do you think of Mayweather? Is he as good as all of the hype or do you think he has cherry picked many of his fights too? -David-

David, Floyd is a really good fighter. He's a born fighter with what he can do. He stood out in the amateurs with his amazing skills and he carried that into his pro career with wanting to fight the best up to a point.

When he fought Hatton, that's the best he's looked in awhile. Floyd has hand picked his opponents over the years with his rise in weight. Besides the Hatton fight he hasn't looked all that spectacular or as much as he could because he hasn't been severely challenged. His handpicking soft opposition has been pissing a lot of experts and die hard fans off cause to earn the right to call yourself an all time best fighter you have to prove it against elite competition.

The bullshit cry you hear from Mayweather supporters ( keep in mind I'm a fan of the young Mayweather who fought the best available then, Corrales, Manfredy, Castillio) is that this is a business and so and so Cotto or Magarito for instance haven't done enough yet to deserve a fight. WTF ever!! Cotto and Maragrito are fighting one another and both are serious challengers and recognized by the FANS as serious contenders.

Team Mayweather needs to remember that when it's all said and done that you are remembered for the fights you have fought against good opposition, fights that fans will remember for years, not just shear talent alone. I know this is a business and to fight a multi division champ who has hand picked opponents along the way the fans determine their worth, not the fear of his team in avoiding the challenge. The fans are the ones who purchase the tickets and make the show memorable with their energy and mass attendance. You won't draw well and be remembered with fighting soft opposition and resiting the same old shit... There's not enough money in it, or it's just doesn't make good business sense.

Mayweather is a multi divisional champion but if you ask the average fan, not hard core fan but average fan to name those champions Floyd beat, they can't, because they didn't care to watch or if they did remember and that's why Floyd has been a huge disappointment with pay per view buys/sales, minus the Hatton and De La Hoya fights, but both Oscar and Ricky CARRIED and drove sales and attendance for both shows.

Zab Judah laid the blue print on how to beat Floyd, all Zab had to do was win 2 more rounds and he had that fight. Now we know why Floyd ducked Stevie Johnson at lightweight ( btw Zab carried a lot of sales in that fight too). I will say though that Floyd did respect the sport by staying in shape and not abusing his body with drugs and an over indulgence in alcohol. His not being in great shape was never an excuse to why he lost a fight or could.

If you want to be a savvy business man by taking pages right out of the Roy Jones Jr. low risk high reward gravy fucking train express manual of how to milk the system, go right ahead. You can't call yourself an all time best fighter. Again, Floyd is a really good fighter, he has amazing skills when he wants to use them, but he doesn't take the risks that the true greats did to live in history. A casual fan can name numerous Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman, Barrera, Holyfield,Tommy Hearns, and Roberto Duran opponents cause they took risks in tough fights.

These writers and hype machine media outlets are lowering the bar to be called an all time great. You may be asking Mike what must you do to be considered an all time great? Henry Armstrong set the bar high by holding titles in 3 weight divisions at the same time, would have held a fourth but was awarded a bullshit draw at middleweight, if he was awarded the decision he deserved he would have held titles in 4 weight divisions at the time there was only 8! Now that's what you call an all time great fighter! Harry Greb beat 18 world champs fighting and beating the best when he was blind in one eye! Sugar Ray Robinson had 174 wins with 109 KO's fighting and beating the best.

These fighters and many others, Benny Leonard, Pep, Moore, Charles, Langford keep the bar raised high.

You look at a fighter like James Tony Mike and his non title defenses where tougher than many of the other champs title defenses while he was champ and working hard. He was highly skilled and proved it against the best, welcoming the best to step to him. Pernell Whitaker jump all the way up to 154 to fight the toughest champion at the time there in Vasquez beating him just to show he could. Sweet Pea ducked no one. He was highly skilled beating the best and thriving on the challenge. Everyone knows he beat Chavez.

Then you have Winky Wright who is a modern day Charley Burley, He's too good for his own good, nobody will fight him. Floyd popped off a few years ago about fighting him and of course nothing happened. Winky wanted the fight in a heart beat. A true old school real fighter.

So in ending my long rant Mike yes I think Floyd has hand picked a lot of fighters, and hey that's ok to do on occasion, Floyd has beaten some pretty good fighters but what he needed to do to close his career right, was to fight the winner of Cotto-Margarito and fight a highly ducked fighter that nobody wants to fight in Winky Wright to close his career on a high note. He would do that then he could be mentioned as one of the best... Just NOT THE all time best as some delusional people think.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Guest Blog: Explosive Throwing Power.

Anatomy of a Throw

To make our athletes more explosive we must create an adaptation via their routine engagement of reactive, speed-strength similar sport specific movements or through their involvement in actual sporting events or practice. For our athletes to become faster and more explosive, general and general specific physiological qualities can be developed in the weight room through the incorporation of throws. As we know, one of the greatest benefits of throws is that there is no deceleration at the end range of movement which is typical of strength training movements. Therefore, true kinetic extension of the engaged segments can be achieved. Another benefit is that various implements and movement patterns can be utilized. We must also acknowledge that in training, these explosive throwing movements are patterned, efficiently executed, without the hindrance of accumulated physiological and CNS fatigue and with optimal breathing. This is not the case in sport. Therefore, their inclusion should be a compliment to their sport and routine sport practice sessions.

How to teach an explosive throw:

Level 1: Uninstructed
Verbally instruct the athlete or lifter to perform the movement in general terms. Have them execute the pattern. Notice the weaknesses, where the form breaks down or the kinetic alignment throughout the throw. Provide greater step-by-step instruction on each transition and segment of the movement with specific attention to the needs of each individual athlete. Remember, perfect practice makes perfect.

Level 2: Braced / Breathing
Now, have the athlete repeat the movement with the specific additional instructions of breathing execution and visit Click Here bracing of the torso to ensure force transfer, speed of movement and rigidity.

Level 3: Speed
With the torso now visit Click Here isometrically stabilized and intra-abdominal pressure engaged, the speed of movement can progressively increase. Note: As the speed increases so does the shadowing of the compensations or inefficiencies of the movement. Incorrect movements can become harder to identify so reinforcement of proper movement should continue, focusing on the basics.

Level 4: Leg Drive / Extension
As the speed increases, explosiveness can also improve with the instruction of driving through the legs (driving the ground away) and “reaching” at the end of the movement.

Level 5: Visual Target / Accuracy
We’ve established the force transfer, increased the speed and explosiveness, now we will improve the accuracy of the movement with a visual target. Introduction of cognitive (conscious intellectual activity - during the pattern will now bridge the mind/body interaction. This becomes essential as we are trying to increase the potential for sub-conscious movement on the field.

Level 6: Identify Weaknesses / Modify Training Protocol
After Level 5, we are now ready to record next step strategies for developing the general strength qualities that will enhance our athlete’s throwing performance. These are modifications and updates to their training protocol.

Throws will enhance starting and explosive strength. With the right means, we can also dynamically introduce these implements into a movement to elicit and enhance a reactive throwing expression.

Get creative and understand that without a strong Click Here we cannot develop the torso strength and rigidity our athletes need to perform explosive, multi-joint, unanticipated movements.

About the Author
Jim Smith is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and an expert trainer who writes for Men's Fitness and the Elite Q/A Staff. Jim has been involved in strength training as a performance enhancement specialist for over 8 years and has worked with athletes from various sports who compete at various levels. He has published articles about his unique training style and innovative methods for many prominent strength and fitness related sites. He is also the authored of three renowned strength manuals. For more innovative training solutions, Click Here
Jim Smith, CSCS
Author Combat Core

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up.

There were some great fights this weekend and some surprising upsets.


Kelly did what he was supposed to do against an over matched opponent. It didn't matter that Ezno was Lockett's trainer, Hell his son Joe slaps with his punches so what the hell did Kelly have to fear in this fight.

That's what experience does for you in big fights, Lockett had NONE, Kelly has a nice back bone from his big fights with Zertuche, Miranda, Taylor.

Arum is aiming for an October match with Joe Calzaghe. If Kelly doesn't change up his grueling over training and some of the other unnecessary training methods he's performing, He's in deep shit against Joe.

Daniel Ponce De Leon-Juan Manuel Lopez

We have another exciting puncher in Lopez to look forward to in future big fights with his destruction of Ponce De Leon. Juan wasted no time in grabbing that tile with his fast and savage attack. Once again, the smaller fighters deliver the bigger action and Juan will cause a lot of people to be glued to the TV set when he fights again. Out with the old in with the new. Plenty of action guaranteed. Great for boxing.


This fight shocked me the most. I thought Quintana would give Paul fits again. Paul like Juan wasted no time in grabbing the title. Paul took care of business in a big way. He's a very dangerous fighter when he comes into the ring focused and hungry. The question is, will he have another let down or keep the hunger, and ass beatings coming? He seems to have everything but consistency, lets see if he KO's that label in his next fight.


This fight was a bit of a surprise too. Forrest was by far the more polished technician and early on it appeared he would have his way with Mora. I'm so impressed with how accurate Vernon is with his punches while fighting fresh. He didn't come into the fight in the shape he needed to to match Mora's energy and tenacity. Mora's awkwardness and aggresiveness was just too much for Vernon. Blame this loss on his team for not taking Sergio serious and not having Forrest in the condition he needed to be in. They thought Vernon's skill would make the labeled contender Mora look like a pretender. Big mistake and big win for Sergio against a highly skilled but under prepared fighter in Vernon. Mora's going to grow to a whole new level after this big win. His team deserves much praise after taking so much criticism. They showed their professionalism by having their fighter FULLY prepared by taking the title against heavy odds and snears.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bringing back the old school skills.

In this article ” on

Vernon Forrest talks about what i so much agree with in regards to young boxers development in skills today. Below are two great Forrest quotes from the article.

“I’m one of those guys that was taught correctly and taught the technical side of the game,” he said. “A lot of these young guys aren’t taught that. One thing I know about boxers nowadays are that they are the most athletic boxers in the history of the game. These guys could play any other sport, but they chose to compete in boxing. But in terms of the most skilled guys, those are the older guys that are still around.”

“Back in the day you had the older guys, and then the young guys came in and took them out,” Forrest continues. “Nowadays they can’t do that because the older guys are that much more skilled. Guys know how to roll punches, how to pull away from punches, how to not take the full brunt of a punch, and most importantly, guys know how to not get hit with that second punch. It ain’t that first punch that gets you - 9 times out of 10 it’s the second punch that knocks you out.

I was taught by an old school coach and I'm SO grateful for that. I like to teach these old school skills, but why should we call them old school, this is what boxing is and how it must be taught, I always say, just because it's called boxing that doesn't mean that's what your watching.

I'll never forget being at several coaching clinics to renew my license and listening to the instructor ask coaches who were taking the course for their level 1 coaching license to define boxing. They COULDN'T!! Why the fuck were they there in the first place I was thinking. Know what you are getting into and know how to teach the true skills if you are going to do this. That's bullshit that coaches like this are allowed to train fighters.

I remember being at the NY State Fair back in 98 and watching this team from Niagara compete. I'm serious in saying that everyone of those fighters got smoked. No skill at all. Some in the crowd probably thought that the fighter stunk. It was the trainer that stunk as HE represented those fighters. Learn how to teach the damn skills. I experienced the same shit down here in Florida a few years back from this coach in Green Cove Springs. He told a friend of mine that his fighter was going to kick my fighters ass. I'm confident in my fighters skill so there was no trash talking back from me. In fact one of the best compliments I get is when an old school trainer praises me for my young fighters skill, I take that to heart when that happens and we all should take pride in teaching real boxing skills to our fighters. Getting back to the story, We fought and beat that kid that night and every fighter of that coach lost that night, many getting stopped. I haven't seen that coach since at any show.

Trainers just aren't teaching what Vernon is talking about, not many anyways.

We young coaches must get back to bringing the sweet science back to boxing.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Q/A: Gifted but lazy fighters.

Hey Rob,

Couple of questions as to your approach to fighters training. Do you favour a block training approach programmed from fight to fight, and have you ever experienced one of your athletes who perhaps relies on natural talent too much prompting them to become lackdaisical with regard to their athletic development?

Last question, Nigel Benn/Roy Jones both in their prime how do you see it going?

Kevin, Great questions as always. I use a conjugated approach with cybernetic periodization. This is boxing and life, the real world.

Yes, I've had several fighters who relied on natural talent too much and didn't put in more quality hard work so what I did and do is put these fighters in way over there head with very experienced fighters OR I myself spar them( I can still get down pretty good in the ring) and light them up a bit to make them realize what they really need more of and that talent isn't enough without hard work and the talent they have has only taken them so far and the bar has now been raised on them with this sparring. The others see this and get the point.

That is coaching. Ass beatings/gym wars do have their place so as not to sound like a hypocrite as I do not favor them except for certain instances or scenarios like this. I will NOT ever put up with fighters who don't put in the work, I'm their trainer, my name is stamped on them, if they don't put in the work even after an ass kicking, out the door they go. I take full responsibility for my fighters and everyone knows right off the bat upon working with me that half ass work ethic is not accepted no matter what talent level.

I also give my fighters home work on youtube as far as old time fighters they must study and what to study, this keeps the bar raised too but in a more pleasant way. This study is FAR overlooked by many. You got to go way back for true skill or watch a young Pernell Whitaker, James Tony, Winky, Hopkins.