Does Father know Best in Boxing?

04.05.07 - By Rizwaan Zahid: Boxing like many other sports, has a family aspect to it. Many people may wonder how boxing - a bloody and violent sport - could be a ‘family sport.' But boxing could, and boxing is a sport that includes many family members, especially fathers.

Throughout the years, there have been numerous fighters – not journeymen – but former world champions and challengers who have had fathers as their trainers. Although having a trainer that is your father could prove to be a vital asset at times, in many instances fathers who are trainers have come under scrutiny, since many stop the fight what a fighter may consider to early, since it is obvious that most fathers at least would not want to put their son in danger.

A relatively recent example is the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Diego Corrales on the 21st of January, 2001. After being dominated round after round by Mayweather, and suffering numerous knockdowns, Corrales’s trainer – and step father – decided to stop the fight in the tenth round. Corrales could be heard yelling at his father from the ring to let the fight go on. After the referee saw the towel being waived he called a halt to the contest, declaring Mayweather the winner by TKO. Corrales then ran to his corner and nearly knocked his dad over, and even over the crowd and commentators, Corrales’s voice could be heard saying “What the hell are you doing!?” This was by no means a close fight at all, so no one can blame Corrales’s father for stopping his son from receiving another knockdown and more embarrassment.

Many also think that a father’s training can only take them so far. Shane Mosley, one of the most talented and best fighters of his generation had his father as his trainer and manager for years. Whether he was knocking out lightweights and defending his IBF lightweight title in the late 1990’s, or beating fighters at welterweight such as Oscar De La Hoya, his dad was in his corner giving him instructions. However after losing against Vernon Forrest twice, and against Winky Wright twice, Mosley thought it was time for a change. He and his father split on a professional level. After a few uneventful performances, including a lackluster affair against Fernando Vargas, Mosley and his father Jack Mosley reunited. The first fight back for the two, was a rematch against Vargas on July 15th 2006. Many would agree that this was Mosley’s best outing in years. His speed was still there as well as his clear boxing skills. He landed his crisp left hook at will, including the knockdown in the sixth round which led to the stoppage and TKO victory for Shane.

Joe Calzaghe has been dominating the super middleweight division for nearly ten years now and much of the praise could go to his father, Enzo Calzaghe. Father and son had a temporary separation in 1999, however the two are back and Joe seems to be getting better. Enzo was behind his son’s success when Joe annihilated and simply embarrassed American Jeff Lacy. If the mega fight between Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler does happen, having Enzo in the corner will be a major asset.

The great Erik Morales has had one trainer for the most part of his career, Jose Morales. However after the loss against Zahir Raheem, Morales switched up trainers for the Pacquiao rematch. It did not prove to help him all that much, as he suffered a tenth round TKO at the hands of the Pacman, and he was knocked down twice in that final round. However, his father was in his corner when he beat the likes of Barrera, Injin Chi, Jesus Chavez, and Daniel Zaragoza, just to name a few.

Much has been said about the issue and repeating trend of father’s as trainers. Do fathers only take their fighters so far? Can fathers motivate their sons to win a fight, instead of just staying out of danger? In many instances it has worked, including Felix Trinidad who captured titles at welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight. Many commentators and people in the industry have said that it may not be the best idea for a father to train his son. ESPN2 commentator Teddy Atlas has said “On the whole, I wouldn't advise it” (Source: It seems that the fathers who are trainers, only end up
leading their fighters so far before something needs to be changed, either according to the fighter, or the father.

The question still remains, does father know best?

Article posted on 04.05.2007

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