Boxing is one of the most refined combat sports on the planet, so having a good coach to teach you the intricacies of the sweet science goes a long way. Boxing coaches give you the blueprint to be a successful boxer, so having the wrong coach can be detrimental to your success inside the ring.
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is the best example of this reality. Tyson looked virtually invisible when he trained under Cus D’Amato, but his career and life spiraled out of control after Cus passed away in 1985. A good boxing coach goes beyond simply teaching you how to throw a punch or block one. They teach you how to maintain your focus as you work your way through the ranks.
The Ten Best Coaches In Boxing History
Without further ado, let’s jump into our list of the best coaches in boxing history:
1) Roger Mayweather
“You don’t know $#!+ about boxing,” as Roger often said, if you’re shocked to find Uncle Roger on this list. Roger Mayweather turned to coaching after a successful professional boxing career, and he spent most of his time working with his top student: Floyd Mayweather.
The rest is history, as the two never experienced defeat working together. Roger’s old-school mitt drills were beautiful to watch, and they significantly improved Floyd’s ability to fight off opponents trying to crowd him.
Floyd Mayweather Sr. certainly deserves recognition for training Floyd during his childhood, but Roger made Floyd the best boxer in recent history. Roger was more than a boxing coach; he was just as entertaining to watch as he often threw verbal jabs at Floyd’s opponents and their coaches, helping to sell fights.
2) Ray Arcel
You’ve probably never heard of Ray Arcel, but he’s one of the most accomplished trainers in boxing history. Arcel started working with boxers in his early 20s and won his first title as a coach a few years later.
Known for his understanding but firm approach to training boxers, Arcel was way more than a coach. He went above and beyond to keep his fighters in the right mental state and out of trouble. Arcel had trained over 20 champions by the time he eventually retired. Some of his more notable students include Freddie Steele, Larry Holmes, and Benny Leonard.
3) Cus D’Amato
D’Amato was so dedicated to training boxers that he lived at his Empire Sporting Club gym for several years. Some of the boxers he trained, like Floyd Patterson, Jose Torres, and Mike Tyson became legendary world champions. Cus is also known for developing the peek-a-boo stance popularized by Tyson, even though Patterson also used the same stance.
Many would argue that D’Amato’s most significant accomplishment was grooming Mike Tyson into becoming the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history, winning the WBC belt at 20.
4) Angelo Dundee
Dundee is one of the most decorated boxing coaches in the history of the sport. His lifelong student, the legendary Muhammad Ali, is the most famous boxer in history and is viewed by many as the greatest boxer ever. The two met when Ali was a teenager and worked together for over two decades. Dundee also trained Sugar Ray Leonard and cornered him throughout his career.
Dundee also started working with George Foreman in 1994 when Foreman made his return to boxing and ended up reclaiming the title.
5) Eddie Futch
Our list wouldn’t be complete without Futch. Muhamad Ali might have been the greatest boxer of his era, but Futch trained four of the five boxers who defeated him: Joe Frazier, Trevor Berbick, Larry Holmes, and Ken Norton.
Futch started as an amateur boxer, training with fighters like Joe Louis in Detroit. A professor of the sweet science, Don Jordan was his first protégé to win a title in 1958. Futch eventually started working with Frazier, and he cornered him for his three fights against Ali. Futch also worked with Freddie Roach, who is now viewed as one of the best coaches in boxing.
6) Emanuel Steward
Steward’s impact on boxing is undeniable. A native of West Virginia, Steward, grew up in Detroit and picked up boxing early on. He was successful as an amateur boxer and eventually joined the famous Kronk gym. There, Steward transitioned from boxer to coach and started working with local amateurs.
Thomas Hearns was his first student to go pro, winning six belts. Steward also worked with other champions like Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis.
7) Freddie Roach
Roach had a decent run as a pro boxer, ending his career with a 40-13 record. He eventually transitioned to training fighters and founded the famous Wild Card Boxing gym. Roach’s prize student Manny Pacquiao won world titles in eight different divisions. Roach also guided fighters like Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. and Amir Khan to multiple world titles.
8) Jack Blackburn
Blackburn started as a promising 135-pounder, but his career was derailed when he served five years in prison for a shooting spree that left three people dead. Blackburn returned to boxing after serving his sentence and retired in 1923. He eventually ran into the legendary Joe Louis and started training him.
Louis quickly established himself as the best heavyweight in the world, winning the world title. Louis defended the title 20 times with Blackburn by his side. He died in 1942 while Louis was preparing for his 21st title defense.
9) Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain
10) Lou Duva
Duva was one of those trainers who seemed to be able to take any decent boxer and turn them into the best in their division. Some of the fighters he worked with include Arturo Gatti, Lennox Lewis, Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, Hector Camacho, and Michael Moorer. Fans loved his fighters for their dominant and exciting performances inside the ring. He taught an aggressive boxing style that often delivered entertaining bouts.
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