Did Mackie Shilstone actually make a difference in the Holmes/Spinks fight?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by cross_trainer, Aug 22, 2021.

  1. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

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    Shilstone himself likes to take (some) credit for helping Spinks make the jump to heavyweight to beat Holmes, a feat that had not been accomplished in quite some some. Shilstone attributed Spinks's ability to add lean muscle against Holmes to the introduction of modern training protocols and nutrition, which most boxers had been hesitant to adopt in the 1980s.

    How much did Shilstone's training methods and nutrition contribute to the outcome, if at all? Does Spinks still edge Holmes if he bulks up to heavyweight the old fashioned way?
     
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  2. Lenny

    Lenny Member Full Member

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    If i remember a SI article back then------Spinks talked about running sprints instead of distance. Also used weight training during his camp. Not sure about nutrition but Shilstone received alot of favorable press
     
  3. AwardedSteak863

    AwardedSteak863 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    He definitely had an impact but I think it's overblown. It kind of use to **** me off actually because Spinks fought a near perfect fight from a stagedy standpoint and he did it without having his trainer Eddie Futch in his corner. Eddie trained both Holmes and Spinks and wanted to remain neutral. It was an amazing performance and far more impressive than Roy Jones beating John Ruiz or James Toney beating Holyfield.

    Holmes was not as shot as people say. The guy went on to beat Ray Mercer, nearly beat Oliver McCall and performed well against Holyfield nearly a full decade after Spinks beat him.
     
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  4. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

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    Yeah, Shilstone always struck me as a clever marketing guy (like many people in boxing...), so I was curious how much the forum thought was underneath the hype. Presumably he managed to do something right, since boxers keep coming back to the guy. But one never knows.

    Yeah, that's the other difficult thing. The fights were close enough that Shilstone could conceivably say, "I won Spinks that fight" even if his own contribution was minuscule. (Simply because the margin of victory was slim to begin with.) There's always the danger of taking away credit from the actual fighter in these kinds of threads, which I want to avoid. Shilstone had an incredible fighter to work with; it wasn't like he was training some random dude off the street to fight Holmes.

    So I'm not really interested in who deserves credit, per se. Fighters always deserve the lion's share of the credit. They actually do the fighting. I'm just interested in whether Shilstone's methods made the difference (as he strongly suggests) or not.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
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  5. Lenny

    Lenny Member Full Member

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    I completely agree cross trainer. However I cannot recall where a trainer received so much credit. Dont know the odds but would like to know the betting line.......As we would see, Holmes had more left in his tank. Spinks was certainly no slouch even graduating to HW-------but he should have been 1-1in those fights. Not sure if Shistone trained him for the rematch
     
  6. Jackstraw

    Jackstraw Active Member Full Member

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    Mackie = steroid / hgh supplier. His clients include Peyton Manning, Serena Williams and boxers Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr and Michael Spinks. Of the three boxers, all are known for having gained a good deal of weight late in their careers and then going onto have the performances of their lives. With Roy it was his heavyweight fight with Ruiz. With Hopkins it was moving to 175 and schooling Tarver after having lost, albeit controversially, to Taylor at 160. And of course with Spinks it was his his fight with Holmes.
    All that to say, yes, he made a difference for Spinks in his win over Holmes.
     
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  7. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

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    What's our evidence for this, aside from the large amounts of weight that fighters gained under him? Do we have any smoking guns or even circumstantial evidence comparable to Holyfield, for example?
     
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  8. Jackstraw

    Jackstraw Active Member Full Member

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    The evidence is empirical, speculative and IMHO, reasonable. Manning was busted in an hgh scandal involving one of those Florida “anti-aging clinics “, where the drugs were traced to either his, or his wife’s name. The excuse given was that they were for his wife because she was pregnant.
    It’s not just that the fighters gained a lot of weight, it’s that they gained all lean muscle weight while not sacrificing any of their speed and reflexes. When you’re already in top shape, gaining 10+ lbs of lean muscle is nigh impossible, although it can be done with massive caloric intake and lifting heavy weights. But to do that when you’re older and training for a completely different sport that requires endurance, split second timing, and flexibility? Not possible.
     
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  9. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

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    It's interesting because Spinks came before widespread use of weight training in boxing, so in a sense his body might have responded as a "novice" lifter's would. But Hopkins and Jones came afterward...

    EDIT: Then again, the 80s were easier to dope without getting caught in.
     
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  10. Jackstraw

    Jackstraw Active Member Full Member

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    True, Spinks was ahead his time in that regard. He also had the benefit of drug testing for PEDs being unheard of. It was also the perfect timing and Holmes being ripe for an upset.
     
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  11. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

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    Makes you wonder how many boxing upsets you could cause with a time machine and a bag full of PEDs.
     
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  12. Jackstraw

    Jackstraw Active Member Full Member

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    I agree and it’s fun to speculate.
    FWIW, I don’t think PEDs work for boxers like they do for other athletes. What I mean is that I don’t think PEDs transform boxers from light hitters to KO artists, or guys with stamina issues into Aaron Pryor types. Lance Armstrong went from a good one-day puncher roleur stage racer to being a 7 consecutive Tour de France racer. Barry Bonds went from a HOF singles / doubles hitter to being the greatest slugger baseball has ever seen.
    I believe that Manny, Floyd, Spinks, Roy Jones, Hopkins, JMM, Toney all doped. But doping didn’t make them great; they were already great. Doping allowed them to be great longer and move up in weight without losing their speed and reflexes.
    What’re your thoughts?
     
  13. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

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    I make no claims to expertise in doping matters, and usually rely on others who do have such expertise. That said, my own hunch is that once steroids enter a playing field, most of the top competitors would almost *have to* use them to remain top competitors, since the margins of error are so small. So if they all seem to be competitive against each other, that's at least some evidence that most or all of them are on something.

    I think Tyson mentioned that he thought most heavyweights from his era were on steroids, and Holyfield was almost caught red handed at it. So that's two of the four best heavies of the 90s right out of the gate either attesting to its widespread use or being the object of suspicion. (EDIT: And if Shilstone was, in fact, connected with steroids as you suspect, he worked with Bowe as well.) Nor is it outlandish for a great fighter to want to use them; before regular PEDs, Ali was abusing diuretics to prep for Holmes. It didn't work, but the intent was there.

    I remember a study where they asked top athletes whether they'd take a pill to guarantee victory that would also be guaranteed to shorten their lifespans. Something like that. A common response was yes. So it's not just boxers.

    I'm sure examples could be multiplied with research.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
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  14. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I'll put it out there that Shilstone made the difference, yes. A caveat might be that another comparable program/person may have produced similar results. Perhaps he could have won using conventional means but he would have had to acclimatise more IMO over more time and with tune up fights.

    The thing is Spinks went straight from 175 to a heavyweight title fight. There's was no gradual build up punctuated with fights at the weight he just went BANG!

    In 3 months and 2 weeks Spinks went from 175 to a very functional 199 3/4' followed by 205 in the rematch.

    He lost no speed and yet retained excellent stamina which is astounding really. Given it was reasonably close (I've never seen it for Holmes but the fact is two cards had Spinks by just 1 point) it was extremely important he was in this sort of shape with added bulk.

    Of course it needs to be said Spinks was central in all of it and besides being such a great fighter he obviously completely committed to Shilstones methods and anything less may not have got him there.
     
  15. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Shilstone didn't "train" him as such. He was his conditioning coach. Holmes was the 6-1 favorite even tho everyone knew Holmes had slipped. This is how big the task was for a guy, even as good as Spinks, to go from 175 straight to heavyweight.
     
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