- Rob Pilger Interview
- David Versus Goliath
- Top Five Strength Training books
- The Best Boxing Training Secrets For Fat Loss
- Rob’s All-Time Pound for Pound Fighters
- Inside the Ring: Inside the Mind of a Fighter
- The Power To Give and Take Away In A Fight
An Interview with Boxing/Fitness Expert Rob Pilger
by John Izzo
I’ve known of Rob Pilger for a few years. We met “virtually” through our old days on [the now defunct] SportSpecific.com discussion board. When I think of Rob Pilger, I think of a sponge. I’m not kidding. This guy SOAKS up information from top sources…and I mean TOP sources: Paul Check, Mike Boyle, Tom Purvis, Louie Simmons….top shelf experts. Heck, Rob is even featured in Coach Boyle’s Strength Coach DVD set. However, I think the thing that makes Rob stand out to me is his passion for boxing and how he has really bridged the gap between boxing and strength/conditioning. Rob is no joke. He can definitely throw down and he also got the wisdom to back it up. So, after checking out his blog (robpilger.com), I had to get his insights for my readers. And you won’t be disappointed.
JOHN: Rob, how did you get started with boxing? And at what point did you bridge the relationship between boxing and overall general fitness conditioning?
ROB: “I got started in boxing when I was a freshman in high school. I played football in my freshman year and after not playing like I should due to me not having the typical ‘kiss-ass’ last name; I met a friend who boxed and I never looked back.
My friend Charlie’s father owned a boxing gym and I started boxing with them which lasted 5 years until the program they ran died down. Then I trained out of Wauseion, Ohio for 4 years until I found the holy land of boxing in NY.
I trained in Syracuse, NY for 4 years and the skill training was awesome. I never learned so much about boxing/skill training as I did in Syracuse. The weak link, however, was the lack of strength/conditioning. I had a brief pro-career and I got out of it because my then trainer was totally against strength training. I used to have to sneak to Bally’s to lift weights. At that time I was studying to become a CHEK Level I Practitioner, and I was applying what I was learning through those correspondence courses to my own training.
There is a bad disease in boxing that strength training makes you slow. After leaving Syracuse, NY I moved to Jacksonville, Florida and started to bridge the gap of old school boxing skill with 21st century sports science. I was successful down there working out of a great gym in St. Augustine, Florida studying with the best along the way while also becoming a CHEK Level II Practitioner. I attended conferences like the S.W.I.S. and the Perform Better, and the seminars I did with the likes of Mike Boyle, Joe Defranco, Dr. Eric Serrano, etc along with top notch correspondence courses like the RTS course by Tom Purvis; gave me a tremendous backbone and confidence to open my own fight school in Columbus, Ohio—where I’m at now.
I’ve been a trainer at three National tournaments, and I coach as several state tourneys every year. My many years in competing as a fighter have allowed me to master old school boxing techniques [typically] brushed over now a days, and my continuing education in sports science allows me to be a force and a solution for this disease.
I enjoy being literally 10 minutes from Westside Barbell where the often misunderstood Louie Simmons trains the stronger lifters in the world. I’ve learned a lot of ways to use body weight movements, sleds, etc to better train my fighters."
JOHN: Rob, you have really been coming up in the fitness industry. You have spent a great deal of time in the trenches; however, you seem to enjoy teaching boxing and fitness to people. Why after all these years why haven’t you burnt out? Is there a secret to your longevity? What types of things can other fitness professional implement in their lives and careers to ensure that they can succeed?
ROB: “I REALLY enjoy what I do and I know my purpose in life. Paul Chek calls it being in your river. All the work you do is fascinating and fun. Don’t get me wrong it can be tough at times taking on too much, but by “sharpening the saw”—taking more courses, attending quality seminars, reading quality books, and networking with REAL trainers/coaches allows you to stay fresh, inspired, sharp, and keep delivering results along the way. We all love the feeling we get from helping people reach their goals. That’s a hard feeling to get sick of if you stay sharp and keep delivering. It’s the best drug on the planet. Also, for me, developing fighters is an awesome experience. I know I’ll be doing this in my eighties and probably nineties. There’s NO retirement for me. I’m in it for life because I know my purpose, I’m good at what I do, and I love the feeling I get from doing it. Life is meant to be enjoyed isn’t it?”
JOHN: What is the most common injury you typically see in your boxers? And are the injures different between your professional/amateur boxers compared to your general population clients that take up boxing? What are the differences you see?
ROB: “I would say shoulder and hand. In the pros, more shoulder injuries even back from too many crunches and sit ups over the years on an already imbalanced (pronated) shoulder joint.
In the amateurs, hand injuries. Lots of this comes from sloppy techniques. I really don’t see many injuries with my amateur fighters because we practice solid technique.
I would say the general population clients suffer from hand, knee, and shoulder because they are severely imbalanced from being weak, sedentary, along with poor ergonomics.”
JOHN: It seems that the best coaches and trainers today, try to integrate their clients/athletes in different types of activities. It is not straight up weight-lifting anymore.
Boxing, cycling, rowing, parkour, and others activities are being introduced into programs. Why is it important to integrate clients and athletes in different skills?
ROB: “So they are well rounded and just don’t adapt to the same old conditioning methods. You make them better athletes by conditioning them with these different cross-sports, and the conditioning is much better with them added, as they are using different movements and conditioning intervals. The are also training different bio motor abilities with cross training.
Fighters will work harder with variety, as the same old same old gets lame and boring.”
JOHN: As a fitness professional, who do you admire and derive alot of influence from?
ROB: “Paul Chek has been a big influence to me early in my career and still now. He taught me to have lots of integrity, professionalism, passion, belief in yourself-skills, and the trait to keep learning, ‘sharpening the saw’ to be the best you possible can.
I have benefited greatly from his multi disciplinary courses and internships. They put me at the top of the heap of the best fitness, strength/conditioning trainers there are today.
I have recently been spending time with Louie Simmons. I train at Westside doing my own training, but I also watch him coach and work with different athletes. Louie is a VERY misunderstood and stero typed coach. I now see why people say he is 30 years ahead of many coaches today. He is a very intuitive coach. He’s also the ‘most giving’ coach I’ve ever been around…meaning he gives his time, money, favors etc. I’m constantly amazed as he gives without expecting anything back in return. Many people give so they create a bond to be given back only.
I also wanted to add that Louie’s methods have made me the strongest I’ve ever been as I lift raw and drug free. His unorthodox conditioning methods have me in the best shape I’ve been. I’ve always been in good shape but he ‘ups the antie’ big time.
His generosity, integrity, coaching style, attitude to create the best there is, and ability to think and coach out side the box while telling it like it is rubs off on me.
My gym is ten minutes from Westside and it’s an awesome environment… Something to witness for sure. So having an ideal training environment and the importance of it is something I learned form him as well.
I must add that Tom Purvis has been a good influence, as well as my buddy Alwyn Cosgrove, in more ways than one. My business has only improved by listening to Alwyn’s ideas and insight.
JOHN: Thanks for the insights Rob.
ROB: “No problem, John.”
About Rob: Rob was a competitive Amateur boxer winning three golden glove championships. He has been involved in boxing, as a fighter, then trainer for 16 years. His Amateur training experience consists of being assistant trainer at three national golden glove tournaments and many other state tournaments, and fight shows. Rob has been a strength/conditioning consultant to top national champion fighters. Rob also works with professional fighters as a skill and strength/conditioning coach.
He has interned with, studied, and taken seminars with some of the biggest names in strength/conditioning. Rob is a CHEK Level II Practitioner, Level II USA Boxing Coach, and Licensed Pro Boxing Trainer.
His site http://www.boxingperformance.com/ is the only membership site in the world that bridges old school boxing skill with 21st century sports science. You can also read more of Rob’s work on his blog http://www.robpilger.com/
He has also created two boxing dvds that have been selling world wide. The ultimate boxing workout Vol. I and Vol. II at http://www.theultimateboxingworkout.com/
The Blue Print For Crushing Wladimir Klitschko and Just The Fighter To Do It!
29.01.09 – By Rob Pilger – I’ve never jumped on the band wagon that has Wladimir Klitschko the best heavyweight in the world. I don’t believe he is truly as dominant as he has been appearing. Great match making makes a fighter appear greater than he is. So which heavyweight can unseat this seemingly dominant heavyweight? And how can he do it? I’m going to tell you who and how now.
The Blue Print.
Excluding his fight with Ross Puritty, that was due inexperience, all you need to do to see what it takes to knock Wladimir into oblivion is his fights with Corrie Sanders, Lamon Brewster (1st fight), Sam Peter, and even Davarryl Williamson.. Those fighters didn’t really do anything super special to beat Wladimir. Sanders just rushed Wladimir. Brewster just hung around until Wladamir was exhausted. While Williamson made Wladimir fight very uncomfortable in a losing effort. Basically all these fighters did was fight with balls, heart, (excluding Williamson here) and pressure.
Corrie got Wlad out of there early and that’s all it really takes as Wladimir cannot cope with fierce pressure from a fighter WITH power. Corrie had balls and guts coming at Wladimir and that’s all it took. He never allowed Wladimir to fight his fight.
Brewster fought differently and proved that if you can hang in with Wladimir and linger a while keeping steady pressure you can break him. Again, Brewster did nothing special. All he did was hang around and keep steady pressure behind heavy hands that mentally and emotionally drained Wladimir into that shocking KO. Brewster was letting Wladimir fight his fight early but his toughness and steady hard punches drained Wladimir late. Different but effective approach.
Peter just walked Wladimir down behind his heavy hands. As raw as Peter was, and still is, he kept that constant pressure on Wladimir with his clubbing blows. Wladimir again fought very uncomfortably. Peter saw that and kept fighting his raw but effective fight. Wladimir was lucky that Sam didn’t come into the fight with more big fight experience because that’s what helped Wladimir walk away with the win more than anything.
DaVarryl just caught Wladimir right on the button and if he would have fought with more heart and urgency perhaps he could have got the job done. DaVarryl is not a big heavyweight and was more athletic in his approach than Corrie and Lamont were. Yet Wladimir still had problems settling into his own fight.
Watching these fights and not the mismatches that Wladimir has been racking up as of late gives us the blue print on what it really takes for a heavyweight to beat Wladimir.
The Contender Who Can Do it… IF He Fights The Right Fight.
There’s one loud and hungry heavyweight out there right now barking viscously at the chance to fight Wlad. He seems very undersized and inexperienced to many. I admit he is, but he possesses the traits it takes to beat Wlad. Really more so than any other current heavyweight contender in my opinion. He can do it IF he follows a strict and disciplined fight plan.
Just as Manny Pacquiao proved against Oscar that you can take away a larger fighter’s strengths by using constant lateral movement, head movement, speed, and guts. Haye has the ability to fight that kind of fight against Wladimir. Now please slow your roll with the laughter at this notion and just read my reasoning.
In Haye you have a heavyweight who carries fight changing and ending power. Haye has fast hands, can move his head well if he’s disciplined enough, and has very fast feet for a heavyweight. He also takes risks, stupid or not, bold risks are what it takes to keep Wladimir off his game and even get him out of there.
A lot of people look at Haye’s weaknesses of size and inexperience and his K.O. loss to Thompson as evidence that there’s NO WAY he can do it. I’m focusing on his strengths here and if you really look at his strengths they can topple Wladimir. Now there’s going to be a lot of ifs here but if he can, watch out!
If Haye can use constant lateral movement turning Wladimir then use his fast feet to get in range to score he can have a lot of success. Wladimir’s jab is very good but Haye has the athleticism, speed, and reflexes to get past it IF he remains disciplined. Constant head movement and lateral movement are key to beating Klitschko. If he can land some bombs early on Wladimir’s fragile chin he can possibly get him out of there early as well.
Now I know all it’ll take is one hard bomb from Wlad to drop Haye hard but the same can be said of Haye against Wlad’s fragile chin. Keep in mind Wladimir has been stopped three times. His chin is as suspect as Haye’s.
This fight which appears likely to happen may just come down to who lands the hardest shot first. Or what fighter can remain disciplined enough to fight their fight. Just as many people didn’t give Manny Pacquaiao a chance to beat Oscar, ( I wasn’t one of them ), they aren’t giving Haye much of a chance against the bigger fighter in Wladimir. But just as I focused on Manny’s fresher strengths against Oscar’s glaring weaknesses in their fight. I’m doing the same here. This is fragile Wladimir Klitschko we’re talking about here.
I’m telling you all that if Haye fights and executes a brilliant fight plan and can do the above, he can do it! I know that’s a big if. This is what makes this fight so intriguing. Wladimir is just one hard shot from being blow away again. Wake up people, he’s not as good as it appears. Put Viitali’s toughness and heart with Wlad’s skills and then I would say Haye has NO chance against a monster like that.. This isn’t the case though. This is Wladimir Klitschko and he looks unbeatable until another fighter fights and punches back… Hard! We know the past end results when that takes place to. It very well could again in this fight.
“Top 5 Most Influencial Fitness Books”
Roundtable Discussion #5
What are your top 5 most influencial books in fitness/strength & conditioning and why?
Here are my Top 5 choices, with a little explanation of each on its influence.
#5: The Russian Kettlebell Challenge, by Pavel Tsatsouline: This got me started on the "Kettlebell Kraze", which invigorated my spirit again in training, most recently.
#4: Jumping Into Plyometrics, by Don Chu: As a college student, this was the base reading requirement that helped me establish a foundation of knowledge to build from. It helped me for future classes and for establishing future program design for athletes. I had this book read, long before it was recommended reading in my upper level classes.
#3: Sports Speed, by George Dintiman: I’ve read all 3 editions of this book, including a "pre-edition" of this book from the 60′s, which I found in the library while in college. I can’t remember the name right now, but it was like a prequel to his Sports Speed editions. This guy was training for speed before ‘speed training’ became a service or trait, sought after by athletes. A lot of the basics in there still apply today. A coach ahead of his time.
#2: Body For Life, by Bill Phillips: I might get some slack for this choice, but the simplistic nature of this book helped me lay a foundation for how I train people in my career. I did the program, got results like you do through any program, but it laid some basic principles for me which I still go by today. It gave me a simple structure to aid others in sticking to their programs.
#1: Essentials of Strength Training & Conditioning: NSCA coursebook for the CSCS: I took a college class with this book as the textbook, during a time I was studying for the CSCS, and taking 2 internships in that same time frame. This book was like a bible to me during that time. I had classwork, internship experience, and free-time study in which I used this book daily. It filled me with more information, and left me searching for more, which is what any good book should do for you. You should be satisfied, but also be a bit hungry for more information after you read it.
High Performance Sports Conditioning: A ‘cliff notes’ of the big time experts in the sports training world. If you want a little of everything from everyone, this is the book to get.
(No particular order)
Complete Hip Conditioning–Evan Osar. great indept information regarding training hips/core/lower extremities. does a nice job of marrying the physiology with the function.
Complete Core Conditioning–Evan Osar. Same reasons as above.
Training Young Athletes–Brian Grasso. Brian gives good insight, from a basic level, on working with young children–an area I think trainers should have some formal education/continuing education before working with kids.
Breaking the Bonds–JC Santana. JC’s "ground based" approach is fundamental to my training methodology.
NSCA Journal of S&C–as someone who is not a research junky, it helps keep me up to date.
#1: Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods
#1A: Developing Youth Speed
#2: Functional Training for Sport
#3:Total Training for Young Champions
#4:Training for Speed
#1: Hands down, this book is a must read for anyone serious about strength and power training.
I always try the methods in each book first before telling anyone else to do them. In 8 weeks following a sample program, I gained 30 lbs on my upper body lifts and over 50 lbs in squat.
#1A: This is my first book and I feel it gives young athletes a great foundation for speed
"Functional Training for Sports"- Mike Boyle. I have always been a fan of Boyle since the first time I heard him speak in 2001. Have really seen him move up in the ranks and love this book.
I think this book is significant on so many levels for fitness professionals learning the latest techniques.
This book has really put alot of accountability and professional responsibility on Mike as he has gained popularity over the years.
"NASM OPT Model Curriculum Text" – Mike Clark. Another great eye-opener to anyone. Mike Clark really, to me, is the guy that started the mesh between pre-hab and performance training (along with Gary Gray). NASM has come along way since I discovered them in 1998 when Tom Purvis was at the helm. (My #1)
"Breaking the Bonds of Traditionalism" – JC Santana. JC is probably the best speaker today. I’m not talking about the content of his talks, but his charisma, engagement, and vast experience paint a great learning experience for anyone fortunate enough to see him.
"Optimal Muscle Training" – Ken Kinakin. Love the book for its simplistic, yet thorough depiction of muscle function and movement.
"Athletic Body In Balance" – Gray Cook. Great book from a guy that tells it how it is and is extremely knowledeable.
"Underground BodyOpus"- Dan Duchaine
"The Poliquin Principles" – Charles Poliquin
My top 5 (in no particular order, aside from #1):
Super Training by Mel C. Siff
Athletic Body in Balance by Gray Cook
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky
A System of Multi-Year Training in Weight Lifting by A. S. Medvedyev
#1 Low Back Disorders: Evidence Based Prevention and Rehabilitation by Stuart McGill.
This book has influenced not only the way I work with my back rehab clients,but those who do not currently have back "issues" as well. It has given me tools, techniques and formulas for keeping athletes and lay people alike healthy, fit, productive and feeling great.
Well since I am a weight loss specialist I will be a bit bias.
5. Nutrition Essentials- Joe Cannon
4. Shape Shift- Alwyn Cosgrove
3. Arnold’s Encyclopedia to Lifting
2. Afterburn- Alwyn & Rachele Cosgrove
1. Program Design Manual – Alwyn Cosgrove
This manual is non-fail guide to designing a program for almost any type of client/goal. It is a easy read, even for a fitness enthusiast who doesn’t know many "industry terms". Many people see workouts in the gym, magazine, books, etc. and wonder why "workout A"? why not "workout B" or "workout C-F"? I believe Program Design manual breaks it down pretty well. The book actually shows you why "workout type A" would work in this circumstance better than "workout type B or C" It can be fully read in less than 2 weeks. It has proved to be more than successful in my attempt to rid Philadelphia and America of FAT. This is why I have voted Alwyn Cosgroves Program Design Manual 1st on my list.
I love this question! I will list the five books that have influenced the training for my clients, and myself. Books, and manuals when after you read them you can immediately apply the methods to your training. These are excluding the texts that have shaped my assessment process. The list would be to long!
SuperTraining, Science and Practice of Strength Training, Science of Sports Training, Managing the Training of Weightlifters, and the other great Russian Manuals are all loaded with great training info and are all must reads.. To some they may seem like heavy duty reads, and are not meant to be read cover to cover like novels.. I have to mention these.
Here is the list of the most practical that have helped me..
1. Advanced Program Design Manual: Paul Chek: Teaches you how to design programs from the post rehab setting, to the elite athlete. Explains how to properly ascend, and descend exercises particularly exercises of the Push,Pull, Squat, Bend, Lunge, Twist, pattern. how to perform a needs analysis, bio motor ability analysis, and movement pattern analysis. Musts for proper and effective program design. Paul pulls and references from the above Strength Bible Books.. I say he is the first to bridge the gap between rehab, post rehab, and high performance conditioning. He is a very dynamic speaker, and his talks are usually standing room only.
2. Both Mike Boyle Books. Functional Training for Sports first really turned me on to him, loaded with great training info. Designing Strength Training Programs and Facilities was another.. Attending his Functional Strength Coach course put it all together. Mike is a great speaker, and great guy. He will answer your questions kindly, and is not rued or stingy with his time..
3. Program Design Manual: Paul Chek. This is really a Charles Poliquin manual, as he pulls from him heavily. Poilquins PICP Level 1 Theory Manual mirrors this in ways. Both are MUSTS for understanding, and manipulating acute exercise variables.
4. WestSide Barbell Club Seminar Manual: This is a must for anyone seeking to get strong. Personally it’s helped me reach, as of now 505lb squat, Dead nearing five hundred, and Bench nearing four hundred. I owe this system to helping me get strong in these lifts. Dave is another terrific speaker, and very generous man. When he was presenting at the Swis he had free copies of his book Under the Bar available. This is a must read also..
5. RTS Manual: Great manual for looking at the risk versus benefit of exercises. Breaks down exercises and explains the forces that are applied to the joints, and are they appropriate? Why the weight is more than the number on the dumbbell. Assessing people to properly prescribe them exercises that their ROM , and structure can handle without injury.
There is to many good books to just list five. I have to mention these. Facts and Fallacies of Fitness Training: Siff Black Book of Training Secrets: Thibaudeau, A GREAT book.
High/Low Sequences of Programing and Organizing Training: James Smith. Unifies the WestSide System, and Charlie Francis Training System into athletic performance. Explains how to manage and program High/Low frequencies successfully into training. I think this is overlooked by some trainers. Pulls heavily from the Russian Texts.
Training for Warriors: Martin Rooney.
Secrets to Martial Arts Conditioning: Alwyn Cosgrove. This could of made my top five too.
Max Conditioning: Jamie Hale.
I have many more but I know I must stop now!
#5 High Performance Sports Conditioning- This book provides a summary from some big names in the business and overall is a great resource for conditioning in general.
#4 Complete Core Conditioning by Evan Osar- This book integrates the technical knowledge with the practical knowledge. A little technical for the average person but a great resource for the fitness pro.
#3 Functional Training for Sports by Mike Boyle- Great book even for the non fitness pro. He discusses the latest techniques, even on the topics that are somewhat controversial, and the logic behind it. I also like how he categorizes the exercises in progression(beginner to advanced)
#2 & #1 Breaking the Bonds of Traditionalism and Program Design both by JC Santana- I have a tough time deciding which one is #1 or #2. Nonetheless these books by Carlos are a must have. The Breaking the Bonds book opened my eyes to alot of new things. The program design book puts it all together in programs. Even though I had learned this stuff hands on at IHP for 10 weeks I still refer to these books and still get new info out of them. In addition both of these books have spurred ideas that I am currently working on that are not in his books.
The Best Boxing Training Secrets For Fat Loss
By Rob Pilger
CB: How do boxers get so lean, and what lessons can us average folk take from their regimens?
RP: I know this point is redundantly made but it’s true.
People spend to much time training with cardio equipment. I have seen people train on cardio equipment, and their body’s still look the same months later!
When the average person has had enough of walking around in their body they are in they usually think of hitting the pavement running. Or people will train with the typical cardio circuit of elliptical and treadmills etc…Training for long and very casual intensities. Raising cortisol levels, preserving fat, etc…
People who perform a boxing workout get lean from the intense anaerobic way they train. Boxers fight and train in rounds lasting from 2 minutes to 3 minutes in duration. The training done for that duration is generally at a higher intensity. The training equipment also demands you get lean by the way the bags have to be worked.
Put it this way to maximally work and move the heavy bag in the right manner burns allot of calories and takes allot of effort to do. Your body then takes the lean shape from the aftermath of this demand of it to put forth the work. Same thing for the punch mitts when used correctly your whole body is moving and working and in a more anaerobic and intense manner than aerobic training.
Many times people who cross train or want to learn boxing for self defense are amazed at how sore they are in different areas of their body from the workout. They are waking and working muscles that have been dormant for some time in a unison intense manner.
Metabolically speaking, as stated several times above since the training is predominantly anaerobic and because we use allot of intervals our metabolic rates are greatly increased.
Unlike the aerobic way people train where they only burn calories for the duration of their aerobic activity or training. With anaerobic interval work your metabolic rate is increased for hours even after training is complete as you obviously know.
CB: What’s the role of slow cardio in stripping fat from a boxer’s body?
RP: Not much at all….
We condition using sprints, sled work, sledge strikes, change of direction runs, sprint and run drills, but really speaking from a fighters perspective, nothing beats intense sparring to get in shape. We also perform intervals of heavy and fast punching on the bags and punch mitts.
As far as the average client, I’ll never forget when I was working in Syracuse NY I was training an older guy named Tom. Tom couldn’t lose any more weight in a satisfying way. He was on a plateau.
He was training aerobically only for the last 2 years playing musical chairs with the cardio equipment. He was very frustrated and bored that he couldn’t drop and shed any more fat.
So upon working with him. I had him jumping rope, working the punch mitts, working the heavy bag and VERY easily he lost 14 pounds in 6 weeks! Not bad for previously being on a plateau! The pounds literally melted off. Because of the intense anaerobic way he trained and the muscles and movements he was using in training this way.
Fortunately for me communicating with the best strength and conditioning coaches and constantly reading and studying the best books keeps me abreast of what methods work best.
CB: How do you and other boxers get lean for fights in terms of nutrition?
RP: We start cleaning house!
Or should I say cleaning the fridge, freezer and cupboards. I have them get rid of the processed boxed, package, frozen packaged, canned foods. I have them stop eating then sugary cereals, soda, sugary juices, white breads, refined carbs, margarine, just garbage food period! This goes along way with improving performance, vitality, and weight loss obviously.
I then have them start to eat real whole foods. Foods that actually have a life source and will deliver nutrients and vitality to them.
So for weight loss having them eliminate the garbage foods and drinks and having them eating smaller meals frequently throughout the day works big time for weight loss on top of the kick butt training their doing.
It still amazes me on how many people skip breakfast. Or if they do have it, the typical sugar water called orange juice with a pop tart doesn’t do it. I have them eat a better breakfast and make sure their dinner isn’t the biggest meal of the day as their stomachs would suggest if it is.
My point is, typically people skip breakfast, eat a rather large lunch, and when they get home have a feast for dinner. That’s obviously insane if you want to drop weight and get lean!
Don’t eat less meals. Eat more meals frequently with less food for weight loss. Their blood sugar levels are more balanced and their moods and energy levels are far more enhanced by eating more frequently, like 5-6 times per day if possible.
I also have them drink half their body weight in ounces of water per day. (Many people are dehydrated) and I have them consume fish oils at their meals.
I also keep critiquing their eating habits and food choices for weight loss as needed…
CB: Do you use boxer’s training techniques in your client’s workouts? If so, what could I do to speed my fat loss?
RP: Boxing workouts are BIG in my clients workouts.
It’s no wonder that the most popular classes in commercial gyms are martial arts classes.
Unfortunately many of those are watered down. By getting your eating habits under control and cleaned up and by jumping rope, shadow boxing, working the punch mitts, heavy bag, double end bag and speed bag you literally melt that fat off your body in a quick manner.
That’s why I like to use boxing training techniques. Boxing training gets results.
People can get bored with the cardio equipment. You can be totally uncoordinated and not improve upon before or after getting on the bike or stair master.
Not when you jump rope and perform the rest of a boxing workout. That’s why it delivers so much in one workout. All those bio-motor abilities you improve on top of shredding the fat from your body.
CB: What methods of strength training do you prefer? Do you use free weights or a lot of body weight exercises?
RP: Strength training methods will depend on the persons training age, background, weaknesses, needs, goals, and were we are from a fight.
So I have a lot of tools in the tool box I can use depending on the above scenarios.
Generally I start off with body weight exercises. I totally agree with what Alwyn Cosgrove says, "If we cannot stabilize and move our own body weight, we have no reason to use external resistance"
Once a person can handle there own body weight we use different strength exercises. We use squats, I’m particularly fond of front squats since we can work the often times weak thoracic extensors while also strengthening our legs. A boxer that has been at it for a while will will have an increased kyphotic posture along with pronated shoulders. So we need to correct this if we want to improve performance.
We also use dead-lifts, single leg work, posterior chain work, core strengthen with more transverse plain exercises, but we also perform reverse crunches they are a great abdominal strengthening exercise that also help in improving posture.
A lot of unilateral work. Also presses, split stance single arm pushes, pulls, rows, chins, pull ups, you name.
We use equipment ranging from db’s, barbells, med balls, sand bags, kegs, sled, sledge hammer, I’m going to start using kettle bells more. Once again, these are all great tools we use depending on the situation.
Corrective exercises are used to keep the fighters muscle imbalances and posture in check.
I will say that generally fighters are bloody weak! So I like to improve and focus on maximal strength training. Hypertrophy training can be used if I have a fighter that wants to move up a weight class or needs a little more muscle.
For our dynamic training, I like to used med balls and other plyometric exercise for explosive power.
That pretty much sums it up as our training is ALWAYS evolving and improving as I continue to study and learn and as we progress in our own training.
CB: Do the boxing workouts require any special equipment?
RP: Yes the workout uses special equipment that is very affordable and can be purchased at sporting stores, or boxing equipment magazines.
You will need hand wraps, a jump rope, gloves, punch mitts, a heavy bag, double end bag, speed bag and a small timer that you can by at any store. You don’t have to get all the bags at once you can still burn allot of fat with the jump rope and heavy bag alone. The other equipment just really speeds the results.
Rob’s All-Time Pound for Pound Fighters
By Rob Pilger
This is a fun read for all the fight fans out there. Below is my all-time, top ten pound for pound fighters list. I thoroughly support my reasoning for each fighter’s position in my list. But my list is open for debate if you question a certain fighter’s placement.
The fighters on this list are here for their accomplishments. Some are listed for their wins against other top fighters, and some are there because of their ability to win titles in different weight divisions. Finally, some fighters are listed because they’re avoided by other top fighters due to their sheer brilliance and fighting ability and are thus denied the opportunity to display their true greatness.
Sit back and enjoy…
1. Ray Robinson: 174 wins, 109 KO’s, 6 draws, 19 losses, 2 no contests
Ray Robinson, also known as Sugar Ray, won the middleweight title five times and is a true artist in the ring. Ray could do it all. He could KO you coming forward or backward and would use great angles. He displayed nimble footwork and amazing hand speed and power. His ability to slip and move out of danger was amazing to watch.
He was what you truly call a complete fighter. His grit and toughness were displayed in six bouts with Jake LaMotta and several wars with Carmen Basilio and Gene Fullmer.
Ray fought the best out there, except for Charlie Burley. He dominated for two decades and won his last middleweight title at 38 years old! Ray’s pride was what kept him fighting so good at an advanced age. He came close to winning the light heavyweight title against Joey Maxim but succumbed to heat exhaustion. Though Sugar Ray was never physically KO-ed, he was a great fighter. He displayed his skills against the best fighters that he could fight, and that was also proof of Ray’s undeniable pride. His had a willingness to show everyone that he truly was sweet as sugar in the ring.
2. Harry Greb: 112 wins, 47 KOs, 3 draws, 8 losses, 170 no Decisions, 1 no contest
They didn’t come any tougher than Harry Greb. Greb was an amazing whirlwind punching fighter. He had incredible stamina and an iron chin. He had great movement and was very elusive. His punches came from all angles. Greb fought and beat 18 world champions! This was the time when there were eight weight divisions with one world champion per division.
Greb gave Gene Tunney his only loss. He also fought and won a memorable and intense fight with the brawling, “Toy Bulldog,” Mickey Walker. Later that night, the two fighters again had another legendary brawl at a local speak easy.
The words of Jack Dempsey are even more proof of how great of a fighter Greb was. Jack Dempsey was quoted as saying that, “Greb was the fastest fighter he saw, faster than lightweight champion Benny Leonard even.”
Greb proved how great he was by fighting over half his bouts while blind in one eye. He suffered a detached retina after being thumbed in the eye by Kid Norfolk. Greb was indeed one of the best who ever fought.
3. Muhammad Ali: 56 wins, 37 KO’s, 4 losses
Ali fought in the golden era of the heavyweight division, fighting everyone from Archie Moore to Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, George Foreman, Ron Lyle, Ernie Shavers, and Leon Spinks. Ali fought them all. Ali’s true greatness may never be truly defined since he was robbed of 2.5 years of his career because he didn’t fight in Vietnam.
Ali was the first three time heavyweight champion. His speed, movement, toughness, ring smarts, mouth, and self confidence were what made him special. He was also admired for the many top fighters that he fought and dominated.
His reflexes were beyond quick. He would often make fighters angry by fighting in the pocket and then dance away out of danger before they could get off. His ring generalship is legendary. Ali was known to admire and idolize Sugar Ray Robinson and called him “the King,” “the Master,” and “his idol.” With the way he fought, Ali often looked like a heavyweight version of Sugar Ray Robinson. Just like his idol, nobody did it like Ali.
4. Henry Armstrong: 144 wins, 97 KO’s, 8 draws, 22 losses, 1 no decision
Henry Armstrong was a violent, voluminous puncher, who could also slip punches very well. His defense was world class, and the phrase “a good offense is the best defense” could be coined after Armstrong’s style. He threw windmill-like punches from all over, and his speed kept up as the rounds wore on. His opponents had no chance to think or react to such an aggressively sustained offense.
Ironically, Armstrong started with three losses early on in his career. He was 1–3. Later, when he was seasoned, he would hold three titles simultaneously in three different weight divisions. He beat Petey Sarron for the featherweight title, Barney Ross for the welterweight title, and Lou Ambers for the lightweight title. This was a feat that has never been done since, and it was done at a time when there were only eight boxing divisions. He would have won a fourth but was awarded a controversial draw at middleweight against Ceferino Garcia.
Armstrong defended his welterweight title 19 times in two years and still holds that record. However, many agree that his best weight was at featherweight. It was said upon his death that his heart was found to be a third larger than the average persons. This obviously contributed to his blistering fighting style.
5. Ezzard Charles: 96 wins, 58 KO’s, 1 draw, 25 losses
Ezzard Charles could display the sweet science at its finest. He would feint, slip, roll, and counter. He would do it all. To some, he may have been dull, but those who understood boxing saw him as a true artist. Many believe that Ezzard was the best light heavyweight ever, although he never won a title in that division.
Ezzard fought five light heavyweight champions and beat four. His earlier wins were against middleweights and light heavyweights. He beat Charlie Burley twice and Joey Maxim and Jimmy Bivins at light heavyweight. Ezzard beat the great Archie Moore three times, knocking him out once. After knocking out Sam Baroudi, Baroudi died of his injuries. Ezzard was distraught thinking of retirement. He adapted a more cautious style and lost the killer instinct to hurt his opponents.
Ezzard won the heavyweight title weighing less than 180 lbs and beat Jersey Joe Walcott. He beat a shell of himself, Joe Louis, and then he lost the title to Walcott. He fought for the heavyweight title three more times but lost again to Walcott and then to Rocky Marciano twice. The first fight won by Marciano was a very close decision. In the second bout, Ezzard was within a few rounds of a technical knockout of Marciano after splitting his nose, but Marciano KO-ed him in the eighth round. Ezzard came all the way up from middleweight and still brought that amazing skill with him to heavyweight.
The death of Baroudi seemed to haunt him at heavyweight, and he didn’t display that killer instinct and aggressiveness. Still his career wins speak for themselves. Ezzard will always be remembered as one of the purest fighters and best technicians ever.
6. Willie Pep: 229 wins, 65 KO’s, 1 draw, 11 losses
Nicknamed “The Will o’ the Wisp,” Willie Pep won an amazing 229 fights with his amazing elusiveness and speed. Pep won the featherweight title in 1942, beating Chalky Wright and becoming the youngest fighter to win the title in four decades.
Pep engaged in four vicious fights with the brutal punching Sammy Sadler. Pep won one, and Saddler won three. It was said to be one of the most savage fight series ever.
Pep was once said to have won a round without throwing a punch. He displayed a masterful defense that today’s fighters don’t come close to displaying.
7. Benny Leonard: 89 wins, 71 KO’s, 1 draw, 5 losses, 115 no decisions
The “Ghetto Wizard,” Benny Leonard, was said by the great trainer Ray Arcel, who trained Leonard, to be the smartest fighter he had ever seen. His amazing ability to outthink and outwhit his opponents was unparalleled. He was a masterful boxer with great punching power, rarely losing rounds in many of his fights. He was very smooth and relaxed in the ring.
Leonard has been called the Muhammed Ali of the lightweights because he fought the era’s best. This was at a time when it was said that the best lightweights all appeared at one time in the division. He would talk to his opponents too and was rarely hurt. Benny retired undefeated as Lightweight Champion, but came back after the stock market crash of the great depression.
He was a shell of himself though being knocked out by Jimmy McLarnin in the 6Th round in his last fight. Still Benny’s brilliance was undeniable. He loved to train and polish his brilliant skills. He is argued by many as the best Lightweight ever.
8. Archie Moore: 199 wins, 145 KO’s, 8 draws, 26 losses, 1 no contest
The “Old Mongoose,” Archie Moore fought for 27 years. He was the only fighter to have fought both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali, and he lost to both. Moore has the highest KO ratio ever at 145 lbs. He won the light heavyweight title at the ripe age of 39—an age when most fighters are shot or retired—by beating Joey Maxim.
His best division was light heavyweight. He beat Jimmy Bivins, Harold Johnson, and Joey Maxim. He also beat Yvon Durelle in a memorable fight were Moore was dropped three times in the first round alone and later came back to KO Durelle in the eleventh round.
Moore fought nine world champions and seven in the Hall of Fame. He lost to the great Charlie Burley in a bout and was beaten three times by Ezzard Charles, being KO-ed once. Still his ability to fight competitively at such an advanced age is a rare feat.
Moore symbolized grit and determination and mastered a boxing style that enabled him to compete, some say, into his early fifties!
9. Sam Langford: 137 wins, 99 KO’s, 31 draws, 23 losses, 59 no decisions, 2 no contests
Sam Langford, “the Boston Terror,” fought lightweight all the way to heavyweight and was avoided like the plague by the eras top fighters. However, his best weight was middleweight. Langford stood five feet, six and a half inches and often gave up 20–50 lbs to his opponents.
He was a very dynamic fighter. Having very fast hands and feet and a vicious body attack, he could also jab very well too. His defense was very impressive. He mastered the feint and could bob, slip, roll, and counter punch with the best.
Langford was said to be well ahead of his time and able to do it all, out thinking his opponents and fighting outside and inside. Jack Johnson beat Langford when Langford was a light middleweight and Johnson was a heavyweight. Johnson would later refuse Langford a rematch as Langford rose in weight.
Even the murderous power puncher, Stanley Ketchel, refused to meet Langford in an official fight. They did meet in a six-round, no decision affair with Langford reportedly getting the best of Ketchel. Jack Dempsey was even said to have admitted that Langford would have beat him.
Langford lost the majority of his fights because he was blind in one eye. It was speculated that he suffered from a detached retina.
10. Charlie Burley: 84 wins, 50 KO’s, 2 draws, 1 no contest
The great late trainer, Eddie Futch, called Charlie Burley “the greatest all around fighter I ever saw.” Burley had an unorthodox style, a great jab, and a very elusive defense. At the same time, he was a brilliant counter puncher. Ironically, Burley never fought for a world title. He fought in the era with Sugar Ray Robinson, Tony Zale, Rocky Graziano, and Jake LaMotta.
Burley like Sam Langford was heavily avoided. Even Sugar Ray Robinson denied Burley a fight saying, “I’m too pretty to fight Charlie Burley.” Burley did beat Archie Moore, and Moore would later say that Burley was the best fighter he had ever faced. Burley fought Ezzard Charles, losing twice. The often sited reason that Burley never got his title shot was because he was too good for his own good. Given the chance, I’m sure there would be many more.
Elite Fitness Systems strives to be a recognized leader in the strength training industry by providing the highest quality strength training products and services while providing the highest level of customer service in the industry. For the best training equipment, information, and accessories, visit us at www.EliteFTS.com.
Inside the Ring: Inside the Mind of a Fighter
By Alwyn CosgrovePublished: February 15, 2007
Posted in: Sports Training, Training Articles
Tags: cosgrove, emotions, fight, mental, mind, physical strength, pilger, ring, strength, tate, warm up
By Alwyn Cosgrove and Rob Pilger
I guess I can begin by saying how wrong I was and how I took our Q&A staff for granted. I know EliteFTS has the best training team on the planet. Yes, this is a very cocky statement, but do me one favor here. Go find another site that has some of the best lifters in the world keeping training logs and answering questions, one with some of the best sport performance coaches in the world with athletic numbers to support it and some of the best trainers in the world with client results that are unmatched. While you’re at it, try to find some of the best strength coaches in the world with decades of experience. And finally, make sure they’ve all excelled at what they do both personally and professionally. You’ll find NOTHING close.
Okay, enough of my grandstanding. I’m extremely proud of what the Q&A has become and can say it has far exceeded my original goal—bringing the best of my three worlds together (powerlifting, personal training, and strength coaching). So, how did I take this for granted? In business, it’s my job to seek out the strengths and weaknesses of my staff and do what I can to bring up the weaknesses but more importantly grow the strengths into something amazing. (Unlike training, in business you can hire new people to fix weaknesses, thus creating more room to focus on the strengths.)
On the Q&A, we had eight team members who were involved in “fight sports” (a generic name to cover all fight disciplines) with three who have competed internationally and/or professionally. It took Rob Pilger to make me see this, and I thank him greatly for it. If you like the “fight corner” on the Q&A, thank Rob. He helped me pull all of this together. I do need to point out that most of the other guys have been telling me this for years, but once I saw how passionate Rob was about the fight game, there was NO WAY I could NOT do this. The fight corner of the Q&A has become the fastest growing sector of our website in a very short period of time.
Rob emailed me this dialog that transpired between him and Alwyn Cosgrove. As soon as I read it, I knew we had to post it. To have two former fighters who now excel at training and coaching discuss the mental aspects of fighting is a must-read for everyone in or outside of the ring.
Rob Pilger (RP): This is a sport that will show you your true colors. It will show you what you are truly made of in a very revealing way. Only a special breed of men and women can enter the squared Circle of Combat and show true mastery of their skills and emotions. True mastery of their being…
This is often the most overlooked aspect and benefit of the training. It teaches you to take control of your fears and doubts…to come face to face with your fears and doubts and beat them…to conquer them…to truly master yourself.
Alwyn Cosgrove (AC): The winner and the loser feel exactly the same in a fight. It’s what they do that makes them different.
There’s a point in every fight when a fighter takes a step backward and takes a big breath and you see the doubt in his eye. He starts to realize that he bit off more than he could chew, and he questions what he’s doing here and how he can get out. And then it’s all over. I’ve got you. You’re done.
There’s a certain “je ne sais quoi” that accompanies training as a competitive fighter that’s largely understood by most as something dark. And it is dark—raw brutality and grit. Nothing fancy. Just one person against another. No superfluous movements or philosophies or equipment. Life at its most Darwinian—either you have the killer instinct, or you’re dead. And only a certain kind of person has it. They’re honestly a mean, cut-throat warrior, a fighter who instinctively knows when overwhelming force or cruelty or simply rolling with the punches will move him ahead. I don’t think you can teach that.
I can remember my sports psychology professor coming into class and announcing that we were having an exam that day. And that it would count for 50 percent of the final class grade. This was completely unannounced. I was pissed and let my feelings known.
Then he stopped me. He pointed out the girl who sat in front of me. She was a long distance runner, and she’d sat quietly and thought about what the professor said. The rugby players to my left talked to each other about it, and me—the fighter—was ready to pull his head off! Each person responded exactly how the sport they practiced would determine.
Do you choose your sport—or does your sport choose you?
Sparing and training
Alwyn Cosgrove (AC): A fight is just the execution of your preparation. It’s about hitting and not being hit. It’s not about violence. It’s about application of science. Like a dance. So when I’m sparring, I’m just working on the application of my tools. No emotion.
RP: Training and sparring is the mission to be complete for a fight. Complete mentally, spiritually, and physically. Total focus on what must be done and how to do it. If there are any weaknesses, we expel them. Great sparring does this…
I do this by sparring with styles that before have given me fits. I’m relaxed knowing that I’m doing what needs to be done. My trainers have the best plan for victory. I’m taking the shape of the fighter who will be relaxed and truly dominant the night of the fight.
The final week
What is your mindset as a fight approaches the last week of prep? How is your “self talk?” What do you visualize?
AC: I used to visualize two things—total domination and total failure. With total domination, I just execute my punches and the opponent cooperates very well.
With total failure, I visualize that everything goes wrong. So if it does, I know exactly what I’d do next. I rehearsed every possible outcome and was just ready to execute it.
RP: I’m relaxed knowing that I did my work. I’m truly prepared in all areas. My self talk is that I’m calm and in control. I’m the boss, and I will break the other fighter down. He has never seen anyone as prepared as me.
I visualize myself as being very relaxed but vicious, making the other fighter pay for his mistakes. Getting him off of his plan and reacting to mine. I’m showing him no emotion. I keep him guessing all the while knowing that I’m in control and I’m having fun executing our fight plan.
My mistakes will be minimal as my sparring has prepped me. If I make one, I come right back to take control. I give him no chance to take control. I’m the boss in a relaxed way. I will break him by showing him that I’ll come right back to dominate from anything he does. I’m in charge.
A stronger mind
How can you strengthen your mindset/confidence?
AC: For most people, it’s getting in great shape and having total, TOTAL trust in your team. My idea was to become like a puppet, ready to do anything that my coach asked. I just executed my team’s instructions.
RP: Positive affirmations and visualization. Many fighters take the negative approach, thinking they’re not good enough and not confident and they think about losing. What they forget is that you get what you think about.
Positive thoughts and visualization backed by the hard work brings you the outcome you want.
My top level sparring and training has made me super confident. I’m trained in such a way that I can’t think of defeat. I’m willing to do anything to win. This is not arrogance but truly confidence backed by the hard work that I’ve displayed in sparring and in the gym.
A backbone of great sparring (sparring many styles) and past fights has taught me that I’ve paid my dues and I have arrived. I learned and know how to master my emotions and make the other fighters work against themselves. I know through my background that I’ve done this once and will do it again better.
Is physical strength overrated compared to mental strength?
AC: Absolutely. Who would you rather fight—Dave Tate who can squat hundreds of pounds or a 130 lb man who is convinced that you raped his daughter or attacked his wife?
RP: You can often take a man’s heart from him in the ring. Mental strength is everything. I wear and I tell my fighters to wear a poker face in the ring. Show nothing! If you’re hurt, look strong. If you’re tired, look energized. You will break the stronger fighter through your mental strength. His telling weakness becomes your strength.
Before the fight
What is the environment like in the locker room before you fight? (Who do you like around?)
AC: I always had a quiet locker room. I was never into the shouting and hype. Very cerebral. Just me and my coach usually.
RP: Calm and relaxed. Comfortable knowing that I know the ring well. I enjoy being in it. Even laughing. I never liked the solemn locker room. Hell, I enjoy fighting. Why look glum? This is what I like to do so I will show it. Go in stiff. Leave stiff.
I like people though who don’t hype me up. I don’t like that “rah rah” garbage. I want people around me who have been in the ring before. I don’t like somebody who has never fought before saying, “The fight will be easy,” or “The other guy isn’t anything.” I want guys around me who have battled before. They need not say anything. There bodily confidence is everything to me.
The warm up
What are you thinking while you’re warming up?
AC: Nothing. Total blank. Just executing the game plan I suppose. Going over and over it in my head. I know if I execute it perfectly, I’ll win.
RP: My confidence is surging through me. I again know I did my work. I left no stone unturned. I’m ready to go. I’m loose, calm, and ready to have fun executing my plan. I’m not to lax, just ready to go. I learned a long time ago that I perform better when I’m loose but viscous. And knowing that I love this and that I have fun in the ring.
Being tight and angry and too serious did nothing for me but make me hate the experience. It caused me to make mistakes in the ring.
Some may think, what about having that aggressive mental edge in the ring? The edge is being relaxed. Not using unnecessary precious energy. That is the edge. Calm but vicious.
Into the ring
What are your thoughts as you enter the ring?
AC: There are no judges. These guys aren’t qualified to “judge” me. They are just witnesses to the perfect display I’m about to demonstrate for them.
RP: I’m relaxed and I’m enjoying being in the ring. I show the guy right away that there is NO fear in my eyes, only confidence and strength. I’m not to be F***** with tonight. My body language shows it. My background has taught me what it takes to be dominant in the ring. I have seen everything he has before. There is nothing he can show me. I have done everything in training to shine tonight.
I’m the boss…
Jacked or relaxed
Is it better to be all jacked up or relaxed and calm before a fight?
AC: Different fighters prefer different things. I was always trying to be calm as possible. I could get overanxious so I tried to be as relaxed and focused as I could. I think when emotion goes up, intelligence goes down. And then you’re toast.
RP: Experience obviously is the best teacher. It has taught me not be tight and angry and not to use too much energy before the fight. Being calm but vicious allows you to be precise and deadly while not making mistakes.
I want the other guy to be angry. I want him to be swinging for the fences. My calmness will wear him down and allow me to chop him up. His emotions are taking over. I’m in control of mine.
Emotions in the ring
Is it good to hide emotion in the ring?
AC: I think if I see that I “got to you” you’re done. All the staring down and hype never got to me at all. We have to fight anyway. All the bullshit you want, all the trash talking or staring that you want, a few seconds from now, it’s just you and me. And then we’ll know.
RP: A poker face is everything. I learned one time the hard way about it in a fight. I could have beaten this guy sooner. I hit this guy with a great shot. I didn’t really follow up because then he pivoted out of the way. He didn’t seem hurt. After the fight in the ring, he told me, “You know you really had me hurt with that shot. I mean hurt.”
He didn’t show it. I didn’t think it. The poker face.
You can be dominating the whole fight. Have a guy beat down. Once you start to show fatigue though, you awaken him. You give him hope, which is dangerous. That hope revives him, and he goes for broke, which, again, is dangerous.
Wear the poker face. Show nothing. Be calm and strong when weak. Break him. Don’t revive him.
How to win the mental game?
What is your mentality in the ring? How do you mentally beat a fighter down?
AC: I projected the idea that he was just a waste of my time. It was a formality that I would beat him. No jumping up and down, no excitement. I expected to win. I win. I have my hand raised. I go home. My whole mindset was that we both know I’m going to win. It’s just delaying the inevitable.
RP: By taking command and being relaxed. Everything he does, I come back and then some. I give him no momentum. I take it away and build mine. He gets frustrated, and I stay calm but vicious.
Even if he’s determined, that’s fine. I’m calm and can go all night. I still stay in control and show he can do nothing to me. My poker face gives him nothing.
How do you handle not being intimidated?
AC: I KNEW that he felt just as nervous as I did. We all feel the same. And when we’re both tired and both hurt—all I need to do is hang in a second longer than him—and it’s mine. We all feel the same. But what we do, how we handle that, that’s what separates us.
I can remember standing at the side of the ring. Scared. My coach asked me how I felt. I said I’m scared. (NEVER lie to your coach.)
He asked me, “How scared? On a scale of 1–10?”
I said, “Ten!!”
He said, “Wow. How scared would you be to fight a pack of rabid pit bulls?”
I laughed and said, “Ok, that would be a ten!”
He said, “So what is this guy?”
I said, “Maybe a six?”
He said, “What if the fight was only 30 seconds long?”
I said, “Ha! A two!”
He said, “Ok, just fight him for 30 seconds and then we’ll go from there!”
I went out and stopped him in 15 seconds!
RP: Experience and having a backbone teaches you how to handle it. You learn that it’s shit. Nothing but weakness on his part. He’s fishing for something in you but not catching anything.
My calmness and confidence are my strengths and worry him inside. I’m actually winning before we fight because he’s doubting himself more by trying to intimidate me more.
I’ve learned that the fighters who try to intimidate me are usually weak and mentally fragile.
The Power to Give And Take Away In a Fight
POSTED BY SCOTT ANDREW BIRD | OCTOBER 27, 2008
FILED IN ARTICLES , BOXING , FEATURED
Nice and close.
This is a guest post from boxing coach Rob Pilger – The Power to Give And Take Away In a Fight. Enjoy.
People often overlook the most important weapon a fighter has. Many are mesmerized by a fighters hands whether they be explosively powerful or blinding fast.
What many overlook though is that footwork is the foundation that the best qualities are built on. It’s the legs that can seal the deal or save the day for a fighter. Footwork is also brushed over nowadays and lack of this often exposes a fighter as was the case with Kelly Pavlik last weekend or if it’s fully developed, allows them to put in a performance of a life time as was the case with Hopkins.
I named this article the power to give and take away because that’s what great footwork allows a fighter to do in a fight. What I mean by that is that your feet allow you to get in punching range to give you your best punching opportunities and at the same time getting you out of range to avoid being hit yet getting you back in range just like that to give again or get off like we like to say in boxing and striking. A perfect example of what awesome footwork can do for a fighter was displayed last weekend by Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins. It’s VERY fair to label Bernard the executioner again after he executed the perfect fight plan in shutting down while shutting out Kelly Pavlik.
Getting off while not getting hit. The factor that allowed Bernard to dominate the fight was the way in which he used his footwork to keep turning Kelly never allowing him to really set and get his own power shots off. It was amazing to see Bernard at age 43 darting in really quick to land some punches then pivoting away to avoid the return fire. Bernard executed what boxing really is, to hit and NOT be hit.
Make them turn.
Bernard gave a lesson to the young fighters out there on how to shut a feared puncher down. You keep the puncher turning never allowing the fighter to set and plant his feet to dig into his shots.
Movement was also the key to beating another feared and far more viscous puncher in Mike Tyson. Tyson did his best work when the fighter was right in front of him. But if the fighter used his legs and kept Mike turning, he would keep him out of his rhythm as Buster Douglas and Holyfield proved.
How to take movement away. A way to combat a fighter who moves a lot using angles is to cut off the ring. The thing is if you don’t know how to use your legs properly then you can’t cut off the ring. This will allow a fighter to have his way with you.
Cutting off the ring while making the ring smaller will force a fighter to stand and fight more.
Seeing is believing. You obviously see now the importance of footwork. It doesn’t matter how strong you get in the gym, how explosive your punching power is. If you can’t use your feet, you’ll get beat and it’s that simple.
Now when watching fights pay attention to the fighter’s punching stance and movement more. You’ll begin to differentiate the true prospects from the suspects. You’ll also begin to determine what style can trouble them in future fights.
Keeping the distance.
Footwork trumps all. Whether it’s developed or not will make or break a fighter, expose him or take him to new heights.