Boxers are known to have incredible discipline and laser focus while working on their craft. The most elite fighters adhere to strict training regimens, with robust exercise and nutritional programs set in place to maximize the full benefits of training.
While in boxing camp, the absolute best boxers will never break, and are always mentally capable of withstanding immense sacrifice. This, of course, includes watching what they eat.
Granted, at the highest level, most elite boxers hire nutritionists to cater their meals to make sure they are only consuming the highest quality and freshest ingredients. This keeps them on track in managing their weight, while still being able to consume the right foods for optimal nutrition.
However, boxers are human just like the rest of us. Despite having unbreakable will and discipline, some fighters are known to gorge on their favorite foods during training camp, whether it’s good for them or not. And when they are not in serious training, some fighters even overindulge in their go-to comfort meals.
Have you ever wondered what some of today’s most famous boxers like to eat? Let’s take a look at some noteworthy names and the kind of food they like to put on their plate.
1) Canelo Alvarez
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is Mexico’s biggest star. The multiple-time boxing world champion has reigned supreme across four different divisions. As such, nutrition plays a major role in his ability to go up and down through weight classes, allowing Canelo to maintain his vaunted speed and power no matter where he competes.
Mexican food is obviously Canelo’s go-to. The 31-year-old loves the classic Mexican taco, but is also known to indulge in sushi. During training camp, he likes to snack on healthy options such as fruits and vegetables like cucumber and jicama.
However, he doesn’t like to go into a fight feeling full. Before the run-up to his bout against Amir Khan in 2016, Canelo mentioned that feeling full before a fight is a disadvantage.
“You can have the best training but just feeling full can make you sluggish and cause you to lose,” Canelo said.
Instead, he likes to climb into the ring hungry, both literally and figuratively.
2) Mike Tyson
“Iron” Mike Tyson is arguably the most devastating knockout puncher in boxing history. The legendary heavyweight boasted of concussive power with both fists, and destroyed almost every man he’s been in the ring with.
For the most part, Tyson was pretty disciplined with his nutrition back in his prime. Of course, his trainer Cus D’Amato had a lot to do with that, always keeping Tyson grounded and in line. He would often have the usual protein and fiber in the form of steak and vegetables.
However, Tyson did have an unusual pre-fight meal that he says gave him energy just before stepping in the ring. Tyson would have a chocolate bar and a glass of orange juice before his fights, which he believes gave him a quick sugar rush. That could explain the unmistakable energy he always came prepared with.
Now retired, Tyson says his diet has changed.
“I don’t eat anything that has a mother or a father. If you were created through any kind of mother and father, through any kind of intercourse, I wouldn’t eat you. So that means I only eat vegetables and stuff,” Tyson said, making him essentially vegan.
3) Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Make no mistake about it, pound-for-pound legend Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. is one of the greatest boxers of this generation. The defensive stalwart was nearly untouchable in his prime, and a pristine 50-0 professional boxing record is certainly proof of that.
But he would never have been able to reach the pinnacle of the sport if it weren’t for his unwavering dedication to training. This includes a strict diet and nutrition plan that optimized his body for combat.
When he was still actively competing, Mayweather hired a private chef to prepare all his meals, making sure that he received proper nutrition. He loved to eat broccoli, baked chicken with rice, and his favorite – spaghetti bolognese. He also never ate canned or processed food, and often drank fresh juices.
Although he’s still in incredible shape now that he’s retired, Mayweather doesn’t hide the fact that he’s let loose a little in terms of his diet. After all, he’s earned it. Today Mayweather loves to gorge on fried hot dogs, pancakes, and bacon.
4) Manny Pacquiao
Boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is known for his relentless aggression, boundless energy, and explosive power. He can push opponents to the limit in the ring and often overwhelms them with his furious style.
Much of Pacquiao’s success can be attributed to his physicality. He always came into training camp in amazing shape. In fact, longtime head coach Freddie Roach had problems reining Pacquiao in and getting him to slow down.
When he was terrorizing the lower weight classes, Pacquiao had one go-to meal that gave him the nutrition he needed, while still being delicious. That is the classic Filipino dish, Tinolang Manok, or Filipino-style chicken soup.
Tinolang Manok consists of lean chicken meat, stewed in a clear broth with vegetables like green papaya and chili leaves. Pacquiao loved to eat this with a big bowl of rice.
Since moving up in weight divisions, however, Pacquiao became more flexible with what he ate. His meals are more like feasts now, because he can eat as much Filipino food as he wants and still comfortably make the welterweight limit of 147 pounds.
5) Terence Crawford
Undefeated American welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford may, arguably, be the best fighter on the planet right now. His perfect 37-0 record is certainly a clear indicator of that and the fact that he hasn’t met any fighter so far who has been able to trouble him.
When it comes to his diet during intense training camps, Crawford likes to keep things monotonous and simple. “Bud” eats a staple diet of baked chicken, baked fish, brown rice, and vegetables, with the occasional dish of pasta thrown in to keep things interesting.
Crawford takes the effort out of his nutrition by letting his coach and nutritionist take care of the meals.
“During camp, I let my coach handle everything with the food. My nutritionist tells him what she wants me to eat, and she fixes it,” Crawford said.
“The last time, she actually was with me the entire camp and she handled everything with the food. I really don’t worry about that. They cook it, and I eat it.”
6) Vasiliy Lomachenko
There’s no doubt that Ukrainian sensation Vasiliy Lomachenko is one of the most talented pugilists in history. The way he moves in the ring is pure poetry, and indicative of his fistic genius.
Being one of the best fighters in the world, you would think that Lomachenko employs a very strict diet. But fans will actually be surprised to hear that he hasn’t always been clean when it came to what he ate.
As an amateur, Lomachenko consumed lots of junk food, including his favorite cheeseburgers and sodas. But when he struggled to make the featherweight limit shortly after turning pro, Lomachenko knew he had to make a change. Today, he tries his best to eat clean with the help of a nutritionist.
“For breakfast, I have oatmeal with fresh berries, nuts, and sometimes a chopped banana,” he said.
“I enjoy a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice each morning as well. Then, I’ll have some eggs and maybe an omelet, and of course, I need to have my morning cup of coffee. Lunch is usually a vegetable soup or meat soup with pasta and a little chicken. For dinner, it’s some kind of seafood with salad, and of course, a lot of water every day.”
Lomachenko will also eat more carbohydrates on days that he spars.
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