My Favorite Boxers of All Time

As any kid who took up boxing from an early age, I had my fair share of heroes. While other friends of mine dreamed of being Superman or Spiderman, for me, the real superheroes were those who lived their moments of glory inside a ring, facing their opponents fair and square. In this post, I will talk about my favorite boxers of all time, and why I still feel inspired whenever I watch or re-watch their matches.

Muhammad Ali

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For me, Muhammad Ali will always be the best boxer who has ever walked the earth. His death left the world poorer and he will forever be missed. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was his credo, and I tried to followed this to the letter in my training. He taught me that it doesn’t really matter how good you are at throwing punches, if you are not well aware of how to create the best opportunities for you in the ring. Everyone knows that Muhammad Ali was not the strongest boxer during his active years, nor did he have the heaviest punches. On the other hand, he was extremely quick and his rapid fire was what took his opponents by surprise. What he based his success on was unpredictability, and this is the most important boxing lesson I took from him.

 Manny Pacquiao

Some called the Filipino boxer the man who reinvented the sport, and I stand by their side, too. An orthodox boxer to the bone, during his early years, Manny Pacquiao learned, sometimes the hard way, that always playing by the book and counting on a single trick was not enough to compete against the biggest names in box. For a boxer who was a natural leftie, what he achieved using his right hand is something worthy of being written in history books. Another thing I highly appreciate and I learned from Manny Pacquiao is how to make the best out of your feints. The same thing that made Muhammad Ali great counts for Manny Pacquiao’s success, as well. His unpredictable feints have made his opponents fall for the deceit and, consequently, lose important battles in the ring.

Mike Tyson

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While some may say that the best defense is offense, the one boxer who taught the world that the reverse is also true is, without a doubt, Mike Tyson. Capable of landing really powerful punches, but still protect himself against whatever opponents have tried to throw at him, Mike Tyson is the definition of a complete boxer who can teach you both the book and some tricks like no other. Cus D’Amato was the man to invent the so called peek-a-boo style, but I can bet Mike Tyson really made the best out of it. This is a technique I much appreciate and love because it offers you the best solution to protect yourself, and to attack without compromising yourself. I can tell you, hand on heart, that a broken nose is no joke, and that this style of boxing can protect you from many broken nose episodes. Also, the ability to blindside your opponent and perfectly hide your intentions is what makes the peek-a-boo technique a must have in any boxer’s book.

These are my top 3 favorite boxers. I have others I like and admire, but I’m afraid I’ll have to write an entire book to include everyone, so I hope this short list will motivate you to find your superheroes, too.

 

Conditioning training routines for boxing

Lately I’ve been working out with a heavy punching bag, and now I am ready to start a conditioning routine. All of this hard work is geared towards helping me become a better boxer so I can get into the ring with my sparring partner and actually have a chance at winning a friendly match.

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My conditioning training routine for boxing is a lot harder than I thought it would be. First of all I am at the gym five days a week, though I have to admit that I have skipped a couple days. My trainer scolded me appropriately, but unless you are striving to make a career out of the sport, an occasional missed day is not going to set up back to far.

 

The first thing I do is warm up and stretch for 5 minutes, this is the one part of the routine you never want to skip. Simply warming up your muscles is the best way to prevent injuries that could sideline your training. Once I’ve warmed up I usually start my training routine by jumping rope. Since I don’t want to over exert myself this early in the routine I keep the sets down to 3 with each one lasting three minutes. I also take a 60 second break in between the sets so I can catch my breath and conserve energy.

 

From there I move on to the heavy punching bag where I do another 3 sets that last for 3 minutes. Sometimes I switch to a speed bag, and if I feel like I am up for it I include both types of training exercises. My trainer has also started me on some shadow boxing, and while I do feel a little silly I know that it is getting me ready for the time when I finally have a partner. After this my conditioning routine gets a little harder, at least for me.

 

This is when I am doing 4 sets of 20 squats, followed by the same number of lunge thrusts. According to others at the gym the painful burning sensations in my legs will slowly get better, but until then I often find that I am walking a little funny after this part of the workout. Push ups, sit-ups, along with strength and weight training are also included on some of the other days. All I can say is that I am thankful that it isn’t all included on the same day. If it was I don’t think that I would be able to last through this conditioning training routine no matter how badly I want to improve my boxing skills.

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The final part of the conditioning boxing workout is 5 minutes of cooling down, and this is just as important for injury prevention as warming up at the start of the routine. Hopefully this post will help anyone that is looking for some information on conditioning training routines for boxing.

How to start training with a heavy punching bag

When I decided to finally get into boxing I bought my first heavy punching bag and then realized I wasn’t sure how to use it. I knew that I was supposed to hit and kick it, but I didn’t know if there was a right or wrong way. I quickly learned after starting my research that there was and how you use the punching bag will affect your training, along with determine your risk of injury. To help you get started safely training with the best heavy punching bag here are a few of the things I have learned.

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Before you start training it is important to spend a few minutes warming up. A lot of boxers spend several minutes jumping rope, which has the added benefit of being a great cardio exercise. Warming up your muscles will significantly decrease your risk of injury. Once you are warmed up it is time to wrap or tape your hands. Not only does this look cool, it also provides necessary protection. Some boxers like to hit their heavy punching bags bare handed, but I really don’t recommend this. It is painful and can result in broken bones and bruised knuckles, which is why I always wear a pair of boxing gloves.

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Once you are ready to start training with the heavy punching bag it is important to stay balanced. When you are steady on your feet you will be able to put more power behind your punches, and it will also be easier for you to hit and move around the bag. When you are hitting make sure that it is a hard punch and not a push. The difference between the two types of hits is that a push moves the bag wildly around, while a punch makes a loud “smacking” sound. A punch hit will also move the bag and put it back in place. If you notice that your hits are turning into pushes, it might be a sign that your arms are tiring and it’s time to take a break.

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The most important tip that I’ve learned is that breathing is extremely important, and it will affect your training. Breathing also affects your endurance, and if you can’t teach yourself to take long, slow deep breaths you should expect to take a lot of breaks when you are training. Don’t worry if it does take you a little while to regulate your breathing, but when you do you will be surprised at the increase in your endurance and energy levels.

 

When you are finally done training with the heavy punching bag for the day it is also important to spend 5 minutes or so warming down. A few stretches or a slow short walk will help prevent muscle cramps and other painful injuries.

The first step – the right equipment

I always wanted to get into boxing, but since I never had enough spare time because of my job, I used to postpone my training. Once my retirement settled in, I was able to make a few changes in my diet and gradually work my way up toward the physical shape I wanted. The first thing I did was purchase a heavy bag. Of course, I had to settle for one that wasn’t too large considering that I wasn’t really keen on the idea of getting into kickboxing or any type of martial arts to speak of.

alabama7I started doing my share of research online. In order to avoid any kind of injury, you have to get yourself a nice pair of hand wraps and gloves. I was so excited that I just went out and bought some equipment from the nearby specialized store. Boy, was I wrong! I didn’t have to choose the highest quality but these things were hardly usable given that the size I had picked was downright wrong. Once I got back home and tried out some kicks, I decided I was better off with several other weeks spent researching the topic. From what I noticed, the boxing community is very united when it comes to getting the right kind of equipment. In fact, many professional have blogs or are rather active on forums where they address topics such as getting the right size, the best gloves and boxing boots for beginners, and others.

Another thing that I found while sifting through the many forum topics I consulted during that time was that the most efficient training starts with at least several minutes of jumping rope. I didn’t even own a jump rope, but fortunately I was able to get one for less than fifteen dollars. I have to be honest and say that this wasn’t the core piece of equipment I wanted to spend a fortune on. Fifteen dollars seems like a fair price if I can use the jump rope for at least a year or so.

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Gloves are way more complicated since you have to consider the fact that you’ll be wearing the hand wraps underneath them. Nobody ever recommends avoiding using hand wraps and now that I’ve started my boxing adventure, I can say the same. Hand wraps restrain your knuckles so that they don’t get injured during the training. As for the boots, I had to focus on things like flexibility and performance. I didn’t really have any trouble with getting the right model considering that I came across several buying guides that I used to figure out what I was looking for.

About me

alabama3Back in my day, boxing was much more difficult than it is now or maybe I was just too reckless to practice it properly. Kids who had no place to train or proper equipment had to find a way to do it. Nowadays, nobody would imagine training without the perfect pair of gloves, outside a well-equipped gym. I can tell you, when I first started boxing, I had to improvise my training equipment using anything that I considered to be fitted. Of course, that wasn’t ideal and it didn’t get me far in my career. I actually had to give up a couple of years into it, because I’ve injured my right hand pretty bad during a boxing match. In the end, equipment and a good place to train are two essential components when you want to take up any sport. Back then, people expected me to just do it, no matter what the circumstances. My mom didn’t know what I was doing in my free time or where I was going, because she didn’t see fighting as a good way to make something in life. That was her idea on boxing and I was never able to change it, not even when I got some local prestige.

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Boxing is a tough sport, and as such, your body needs to be protected by the harsh treatment to which it can be submitted when you practice it. A good pair of boxing gloves and a great technique are your best allies during a match. I didn’t know that when I went into competition so I had to learn it the hard way. Anyway, I resumed being a coach after a couple of years of professional career and I trained all my students with patience and taught them prudence.

 

alabama5I learnt how to properly use my laptop by taking special classes that included some basics on how to set up a blog. I’ve said to myself, you know, that’s a good idea to write about boxing and to share a bit from my experience as a professional boxer and, later, a trainer. In the end, though times have changed, some defense boxing techniques, the footwork and such, have stayed the same and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the tricks I was using in my youth, are now forgotten. Of course, new training methods have been developed too, so I’ve decided to catch up and readjust my boxing knowledge through this blog, but also let people who are in love with this sport like I am, find out more about it and about why it is so great.