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Old 08-16-2007, 09:22 PM   #1
mr. magoo
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Default Trainers of yesterday vs. today

The purpose of this thread is to envite authors to express their opinions on why boxing trainers were better, worse or indifferent accross eras.

The following questions are not by any means, the end all be all, but at least they'll hopefully open up the subject to further discussion.

1. What protocols did training regimens, often or sometimes involve years ago, that are not commonly incorporated today?

2. What aspects or elements of modern training that are used with today's boxers, were not used with classic fighters, and do they give modern fighters an advantage? If so why? If not why?

3. Would certain modern boxers benefit from old school training and conditioning methods, while fighters from earlier periods thrive from more contemporary techniques? If so, then who ? why ?

4. How can modern and classic training methods be fully incorporated into contemporary workout routines, if not done so already, and how would they benefit today's fighters?

5. The Ultimate question- Why in your opinion were trainers from specific eras more successful than trainers from other eras? ( not looking for stats or accomplishments of fighters here, not a valid answer ). What did they do specifically rather?
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Old 08-16-2007, 11:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Interesting, how anytime a thread comes up that can't be responded to by looking at boxrec or wikipedia, no one seems to show up....
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Old 08-17-2007, 03:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Old-time trainers often learned their trade by assisting other, more experienced trainers (such as it was with Stillman's gym), and they had many different trainers around to watch or get advise from, which made their experience more diverse, and they learned faster too, than they could do on their own, in which case they usually took things from their own old trainer, maybe 2 or 3, if they switched trainers during their career. Compare that to seeing tens of different trainers around all the time.

They usually had more fighters to take care of, and they spent plenty of time with each of them, not only in the gym (where many of them spent all day, from morning till night, almost every day of the week), but assisting in real fights (which were held much more often than they do now).

It happened a lot that they were asked to assist other trainers' fighters, not only their own, both in the gym and in real fights.

On the other hand, such "regime" gave them less time to work with individual fighters, like it had been with Blackburn-Louis, for example.
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Old 08-17-2007, 03:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. magoo
Interesting, how anytime a thread comes up that can't be responded to by looking at boxrec or wikipedia, no one seems to show up....
I wonder if that means there's a generational "disconnect" involved between modern and classic boxing.

While I've read "Corner Men" by Fried, I simply stopped following boxing as the 15 round limit was abolished. Virtually the last great match I watched live with interest was Duran/Barkley. Ray Arcel was still alive to comment on the outcome. ("I think he may know more about boxing than I do.") Mike Spinks got a lot of attention for using Mackie Shilstone's approach to conditioning in building himself up for Holmes, but Eddie Futch was the trainer who primarily developed him as a professional. Bottom line was that there were top performers with a personal link to trainers with boxers dating back to WW I. (Arcel with Benny Leonard and then Duran.)

The eradication of the 15 round limit paved the way for steroids and other performance enhancing substances to be incorporated into the training process. Strategy was also marginalized to a greater extent. Boxers no longer have 150 to 350 matches in their careers, causing a substantial reduction in the range and variety of their experiences. Referees stop matches too quickly now, depriving competitors of the opportunity to exercise their resourcefulness. When boxers competed more frequently, the emphasis on never losing was far greater than it is now. But failure can sometimes be the best teacher and motivator of all, and the latitude for this is no longer allowed.

I consider Kevin Rooney and Teddy Atlas to be extensions of Cus D'Amato. At first glance, Manny Steward seems to be the HOF trainer to have broken most cleanly with the traditions of the past, but sea changes in what boxing requires today is what is most acutely behind the degeneration of the craft.

Rocky Marciano trained with weights decades before other prominent heavyweights adopted it as standard practice, but he'd already had a lifelong foundation in strength resistance training when he took up boxing, and Charley Goldman embraced it. (I have the book they wrote on boxing and bodybuilding 50 years ago.)

Sorry that you started a thread which nobody came to roost at, but as I've already related, I'm not qualified to comment on specific ways in which today's training methods might be inferior or superior. However, if you wish to hash out some dialogue about this, I'd be happy to offer some throw-away speculative brainstorming about possible changes over the years. Again, your best candidates for this kind of discussion would be those who have followed boxing throughout the range of it's existence into today's moribund specialty niche interest.
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Old 08-17-2007, 03:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Damn, I made a similar thread. Sorry Magoo, I didn't see yours.
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Old 08-17-2007, 06:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duodenum
I wonder if that means there's a generational "disconnect" involved between modern and classic boxing.
Bingo. Once a fighter get's paid mega bucks, he often thinks he knows it all and the trainer works for him. Not all modern fighters are this way, but most of them are. A teacher can only show one the way. He can not do it for somebody.
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Old 08-17-2007, 07:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duodenum
I wonder if that means there's a generational "disconnect" involved between modern and classic boxing.

While I've read "Corner Men" by Fried, I simply stopped following boxing as the 15 round limit was abolished. Virtually the last great match I watched live with interest was Duran/Barkley. Ray Arcel was still alive to comment on the outcome. ("I think he may know more about boxing than I do.") Mike Spinks got a lot of attention for using Mackie Shilstone's approach to conditioning in building himself up for Holmes, but Eddie Futch was the trainer who primarily developed him as a professional. Bottom line was that there were top performers with a personal link to trainers with boxers dating back to WW I. (Arcel with Benny Leonard and then Duran.)

The eradication of the 15 round limit paved the way for steroids and other performance enhancing substances to be incorporated into the training process. Strategy was also marginalized to a greater extent. Boxers no longer have 150 to 350 matches in their careers, causing a substantial reduction in the range and variety of their experiences. Referees stop matches too quickly now, depriving competitors of the opportunity to exercise their resourcefulness. When boxers competed more frequently, the emphasis on never losing was far greater than it is now. But failure can sometimes be the best teacher and motivator of all, and the latitude for this is no longer allowed.

I consider Kevin Rooney and Teddy Atlas to be extensions of Cus D'Amato. At first glance, Manny Steward seems to be the HOF trainer to have broken most cleanly with the traditions of the past, but sea changes in what boxing requires today is what is most acutely behind the degeneration of the craft.

Rocky Marciano trained with weights decades before other prominent heavyweights adopted it as standard practice, but he'd already had a lifelong foundation in strength resistance training when he took up boxing, and Charley Goldman embraced it. (I have the book they wrote on boxing and bodybuilding 50 years ago.)

Sorry that you started a thread which nobody came to roost at, but as I've already related, I'm not qualified to comment on specific ways in which today's training methods might be inferior or superior. However, if you wish to hash out some dialogue about this, I'd be happy to offer some throw-away speculative brainstorming about possible changes over the years. Again, your best candidates for this kind of discussion would be those who have followed boxing throughout the range of it's existence into today's moribund specialty niche interest.
Arcel didnt have much input in Leonards developement ,he only worked with Leonard during Benny,s aborative comeback as a Welterweight,caused by financial hardship,[Leonard had lost his savings in the Wall St Crash].
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Old 08-17-2007, 12:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvey
Arcel didnt have much input in Leonards developement ,he only worked with Leonard during Benny,s aborative comeback as a Welterweight,caused by financial hardship,[Leonard had lost his savings in the Wall St Crash].
I do realize that, and Arcel probably gained some additional valuable knowedge in working with him. I merely stated that Ray had a personal connection to a boxer dating back to the WW I era, which is true. Benny's comeback record was 18-1-1, so he had to have still possessed some experienced quality in his performance. His career predated the WW I period that Dempsey claimed the art and skill of boxing went into a decline during.
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Old 08-17-2007, 02:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Very interesting thread. It would be great to hear from any professional trainers out there in cyberspace.

Also "Duodenum" could you elaborate a bit please on Rocky's strength routines and if possible the name of the book he authored with Goldman? Thanks.
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Old 08-17-2007, 06:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike4819
Very interesting thread. It would be great to hear from any professional trainers out there in cyberspace.

Also "Duodenum" could you elaborate a bit please on Rocky's strength routines and if possible the name of the book he authored with Goldman? Thanks.
You should be able to easily borrow a copy of this through an inter-library loan, if your local library doesn't have one in their inventory. Here's the information on it:

Rocky Marciano's Book of Boxing and Bodybuilding. By Rocky Marciano with Charley Goldman and Al Bachman. 1957. 230 Pages. Hardcover. Prentice-Hall Inc. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 57-14785.

This guide was written for boys and young men. The resistance training is mostly with light weights, and seem intended to coordinate the muscles. Charley Goldman wrote the section on bodybuilding exercises. There's some instructional advice on building exercise equipment, such as hand pulleys with bricks for chest weights, and a heavy bag out of duffle bags, sawdust or kapok filling, and the fixtures needed to rig it up. It's fairly rudimentary stuff, but they do convey a good attitude towards approaching boxing.

Some basic words of competive advice are included, such as:

"Do not keep your head on your foe's shoulder or above his head. If he should happen to bring his shoulder or head up in a jerky motion, it could shake you up seriously." Read between the lines here. How many times have you seen a boxer make this kind of mistake? Then consider how Rocky might have deliberately responded to somebody who committed this cardinal sin?

"When the referee says 'break,' take your right hand, place it in back of of your opponent's elbow or tricep and push him away from you. Then move to your own right fast with your hands up!" When Vonzell Johnson challenged Mike Spinks for the WBA LHW title, he stupidly made this most basic of errors breaking with his guard down, and Spink's Jinx sent him into retirement after his second consecutive title shot. (I'll explain in a moment which stupid mistake he blew his first title shot with. What blows my mind is that this idiot managed to get two consecutive title shots, and they were only the second and third defeats of his career. That tells you just how good the contenders were during a so-called "golden age" of the LHW division.)

This book isn't quite the masterpiece that others have been, but the advocacy of resistance training was fairly unusual for the time. Later on, Goldman was involved a bit in Oscar Bonavena's development, and Ringo was also known for substantial physical strength.

"When you throw a left hand, keep your right hand up for defensive purposes. The reverse holds true when you throw a right. A common mistake of novices is to drop one hand when throwing the other. Watch yourself in a mirror to make sure you do not commit these errors." (Of course in 2007, it's an easy matter to instantly record yourself performing on camera.)

"There should be no hopping or jumping in the ring. Some people mistakenly refer to these movements as footwork. Jerky movements only tend to tire you and keep you off balance. When you are hopping. you can not get set to send in a hard, fast punch. Your movements should be as smooth as possible-like waltzing." Now, this boneheaded mistake is how Vonzell Johnson blew his previous LHW title shot against Matthew Saad Muhammad. As a result, he entered the eleventh round against Matt trailing by four points on one scorecard, and six points on another, and then ran out of gas. And throughout the broadcast on CBS, Gil Clancy repeated over and over that Vonzell was not going to be able to keep that up for 15 rounds. Gil was right. (Howard Cosell took Greg Page to task for exactly this sort of hopping up and down while he was losing to Trevor Berbick. A boxing ring is not a trampoline.)

If you don't see boxers making these mistakes, then they've been well trained. If you do see boxers indulging in these habits, then their training sucks.

As to how Marciano himself actually did train and build himself up, Skehan's biography offers some information about that.
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Old 08-17-2007, 07:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Thanks very much. Very interesting.
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Old 08-17-2007, 08:10 PM   #12
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. magoo
Interesting, how anytime a thread comes up that can't be responded to by looking at boxrec or wikipedia, no one seems to show up....

I didn't see this thread . I am considering Goldman, D'Amato, Dundee, Futch, and Duva old time since they are mainly from previous era's. Well, IMO they were all much better at conditioning fighters, and giving them decent fight plans. Although, Roach comes up with some good, technical ones. The older trainers seemed to use older training methods, and seemed to get much better results and create better fighters. Although Manny Steward has produced some great ones (Lennox Lewis and Tommy Hearns). It was hard for me to decide if Steward was old time or modern, but I chose modern because he is currently training 2 very good modern fighters.
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Trainers of yesterday vs. today

Thanks for the info Duodenum!
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by mike4819
Thanks for the info Duodenum!
Hey, no problem at all! (The book by Marciano and Goldman also occasionally turns up in used bookstores, and you might wish to ask whoever runs one near you to keep an eye out for a copy.)
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:31 PM   #15
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