'Call Em Out Fridays': Roach, Mayweather etc. - What Is The Worth Of Today's Boxing Trainers?

Floyd Mayweather Sr.By Vivek Wallace - This weeks 'Call Em Out Fridays' segment presents a first. For the past few years, every Friday this segment has dissected a particular contender in the sport to examine his true worth, as it relates to the ring. This week, the focus shifts to the men who prepare those contenders for war. From Oscar De la Hoya, to Mike Tyson, to Roy Jones jr. and all in between; each of these men have been led to battle by someone who has either left them well prepared, or prepared less than well enough to accomplish the battle that lies ahead. In a recent interview, Roger Mayweather - (trainer of P4P contender Floyd Mayweather jr.) - spoke of the fact that many trainers around the sport from the past and current have been awarded with accolades and high measures as a result of riding the coat tails of their pupils; but in his estimation, few have actually possessed the innate ability to take a basic fighter and mold him into an ultimate warrior. His example was one that referred to Angelo Dundee (in his estimation) not being responsible for making Ali who Ali ultimately became. Whether many agree with his statement about today's trainers or not, the truth it tells speaks volumes in the sense that few have been successful at forming a true tandem and leading the career of one man to the top, like that of Merkerson and Jones, or Enzo and Joe Calzaghe. Instead, what we see is a number of trainers in the sport who have found themselves in the right place at the right time. As we break it all down today, the mission is to delve into the core of the matter, as it relates to the men at the center of this argument....the trainers themselves..

Throughout the world of boxing, there are tons of trainers; from the highly acclaimed Freddie Roach, to the Mayweather brothers, Emanuel Steward, Ann Wolf, and a host of others. Perhaps the biggest intrigue of them all is the fact that each trainer brings a personalized slant of their own which they use to prepare their men, but despite the difference of approach, fight fans are constantly reminded that although paths are many, destination is one! That destination? any ethical, (or even sometimes unethical), means necessary. The type of training methods used are acutely unique, and go very far in determining the ultimate success of a fighter. Female trainer Ann Wolf is known for taking her fighters deep into the physical aspect of training, where daily routines vary from strenuous sparring exercises, to running 5 miles while punching a heavy bag attached to a moving vehicle. For a more fundamental approach that infuses both the physical and mental angle, one could review the methods of Roger Mayweather, who routinely removes all sounding bells, forcing his star pupil to spar several rounds that last as long as 9 minutes, producing a mentality that requires one to stay composed in battle under the most strenuous conditions, regardless of physical limitations. Another intriguing method which from an outside perspective seems to be almost solely mental is that of Nasim Richardson, who attempts to reach all lengths in making sure his fighter is prepared mentally to out think an opponent with strategical execution throughout the midst of war. These are only a few examples, but when you consider the vastly different approaches and oddities of them all, the underlying questions would be A.) how effective are these methods, and B.), what role do they play in the eventual outcome? it the trainer methods, or the fighters themselves that actually makes the difference?

To get perhaps the best snapshot of what's more important, one has to look no further than the NBA, where many can remember the great play of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, regardless of how poorly the teams around them played. Then in contrast, you look at how Phil Jackson subsequently found success leading the Chicago Bulls to international acclaim year after year, yet failed to hit the mark when his 'royal crown' (Michael Jordan) decided to take a few years off and experiment with baseball. Or how Pat Riley was able to make it look so easy with the Magic Johnson led Showtime L. A. Lakers in the 80's, yet fail to make a splash for nearly another two decades, which is approximately how long it took him to land the next most dominating player in the league on his roster. This truth challenges the worth of a trainer, because it shines light on the fact that a good talent can establish a certain level of accomplishment without a solid leader, but a solid leader is seldom able to make the same splash without the right talent. Another angle of this perspective can be seen when you take a look at the example of Freddie Roach. Freddie Roachs' career as a trainer has been as illustrious as they come. Inducted in the World Boxing Hall of Fame, 3-times awarded Trainer of the Year ('03, 06', and '08), WBC Lifetime Achievement Award, and the list goes on. Those same efforts allowed him to take Amir Khan's unassembled talent and form a major body of work by leading him to greener pastures. His work with Manny Pacquiao is another great example. Now when you flip the page and take a look at the work performed by big names who failed to deliver under his duty, (like Tyson, De la Hoya, and Toney), things quickly find a different perspective. All in all, it's safe to say that many of today's trainers have had a combination of both luck and legitimacy, but just like the odds of having a good fight inside the ring, it takes two. Without Batman there's no Robin. And as it relates to the ring, without the right two people, there's no winning chemistry.

With absolutely nothing interesting going on in the world of boxing this weekend, we find ourselves mulling over such a worthless topic, but stay tuned, as next week's CEO Fridays will kick things back into high gear with a look at the pending return of the man many love to hate, Floyd Mayweather jr.

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Myspace, and Facebook).

Article posted on 04.09.2009

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