Lately I’ve been fascinated with boxing. I used to think it was barbaric and that anyone who watched the “sport” was just as bloodthirsty. But then I read an interview with a promoter. It was a long time ago that I read this, so I’ll paraphrase here.
He said, boxing is everyone’s favorite sport and I’ll prove it. Picture this: you’re at an intersection in the city. On one corner kids are playing baseball. The second corner kids are shooting hoops. The third corner kids are kicking a soccer ball. And the fourth corner there are two kids fighting. Where does everyone go to watch? The fight.
I never really thought about it like that, but he had a point. Why watch someone hit a ball when you could watch someone hit another person’s face? (And then I felt kind of bad.)
Boxers are known for their bravado, but you kind of need that if you are about to enter a ring where you can literally be killed. To even attempt this sport you have to have a huge sense of self confidence. Can you imagine the insecure person asking, “Do you think I’m too old for this? Do you think the other guy is stronger than me? Do you think I’ll look bad doing this?” He’d get punished so fast and so hard it would be the longest three minutes of his life.
The amount of training these athletes have to go through is insane. Old school boxers (think “Rocky”) used to run 4-5 miles per day in the morning and then do the actual boxing workout in the afternoon. The thought was to build up endurance.
But with more advances in science and sports science, training methods have changed a bit. Boxing is a mostly anaerobic sport, meaning you don’t use a lot of oxygen to do it. Most of the moves require sudden bursts of energy to do a combo like jab-jab-cross-hook and then both people step away. Training now is more like interval training where the athlete runs 600 meters as fast as he can and then walks for a minute and repeats this process three or four times. The long run is reserved for just once per week.
Their warm-up is most people’s full workout. It includes lots of ab work, jump rope, speed bag, punching the big bag and shadow boxing where you do the punch combos in the air.
Only after all that stuff do people begin to spar against opponents. That’s where the mental work happens. You have to anticipate your opponent, watch how he moves his shoulders, study his moves so you can defend yourself and counter.
The mental part of the game starts outside the ring with trash talking to mess with your opponent’s confidence. Sometimes this backfires. Muhammad Ali used to be named Cassius Clay but changed his name when he converted to Islam. Ernie Terrell kept calling him Cassius to get under his skin.
Cut to the boxing match where Muhammad Ali is beating the crap out of this guy and after each devastating blow to his head you can hear Muhammad Ali shout, “What’s my name!?! (punch!) What’s my name!?! (punch!)”
Here’s the clip – start watching around 1:20 seconds.
Anyway, I’m 99% certain that I will never enter a boxing ring, but I do have newfound respect for the sport and the athletes who participate in it.
How about you? What do you think of boxing?
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two. Her book, “She’s Losing It!” contains lots of trash talk and cuss words. Just kidding. It is available at Amazon.com.
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