It may not seem like it on the surface, but boxing is one of the most intricate combat sports in existence. It’s more than just the action-packed fistic fireworks that people see on television. Boxing, as a competitive sport, is often likened to chess with the amount of tactical warfare that goes on between the ropes.
Fighters spend years honing their craft, working to upgrade and improve their skills every day through constant drilling and repetition. But there’s a reason they call boxing ‘The Sweet Science’, and it’s because boxing is one of the most complex combat sports out there in terms strategy.
For this very reason, boxers can’t go in there alone. While they can certainly fight without guidance, they won’t be as effective without a trusted voice in their corner, yelling valuable instructions between rounds. And boxers certainly can’t maximize their potential in training, without a keen eye watching their every move.
This is where boxing trainers come in. Boxing trainers are responsible for guiding a fighter throughout the learning journey, tightening up various aspects of a fighter’s game, while putting them in the best position to achieve victory.
Let’s take a look at some of these amazing trainers and the fighters they have contributed to the sport. Today, Evolve Daily shares the top five boxing trainers of today and how they drive their pupils towards success.
1) Abel Sanchez
Mexican boxing trainer Abel Sanchez built a house in the high altitudes of Big Bear, California, where he brings the fighters he coaches to work on their skills in the cold mountain air. He is an accomplished boxing trainer, and best known for his work with middleweight kingpin Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
Aside from Golovkin, Sanchez has also worked with guys like Terry and Orlin Norris, Lupe Aquino, Carlos Baldomir, Frans Botha, and Denis Shafikov. Sanchez is a firm believer in the value of hard work, especially in training. As such, he pushes his fighters to the limit in camp, so that by the time their fights roll around, they are used to being maxed out.
His work with Golovkin has elevated him to one of the top trainers in boxing at the moment. He turned Golovkin from being an Olympic silver medalist with good skill to a dangerous middleweight with frightening knockout power.
2) Virgil Hunter
Virgil Hunter is best known for his work with American boxing sensation Andre “S.O.G.” Ward. During their time together as a fighter and coach tandem, they became household names in the United States. Ward, of course, is one of the greatest American boxers of all time. He retired undefeated in 2017, at the top of his game, and atop many pound-for-pound lists.
Ward owes his entire career to Hunter, who never left his side. Hunter developed Ward from his humble beginnings, all the way up until he became a World Champion. His philosophy is to focus on the mindset of his charges, providing psychological insight and technical expertise.
Aside from Ward, Hunter had also worked with top welterweight standouts, Andre Berto and Amir Khan. But it is his work with Ward that made him no doubt a top boxing trainer.
3) Freddie Roach
Is there anything left to say about the great Freddie Roach that hasn’t already been said? A protege of the late Eddie Futch, perhaps considered the greatest boxing coach of all time, Roach has built a career around the teachings of his legendary mentor.
Roach is most well-known for his work with Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Before Pacquiao stepped through the doors of the Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood, which Roach owns, the Filipino was just a one-dimensional power puncher. After years working with Roach, Pacquiao has become a two-fisted dynamic boxer-puncher, with speed and power unlike anything the world had ever seen.
Roach’s boxing philosophy favors offense over defense, however, which is evident in the fighters he trains. Aside from Pacquiao, he is also known for training Mike Tyson, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, and MMA star Georges St. Pierre, among others.
4) Robert Garcia
Robert Garcia was once a World Champion boxer himself, before going on to train some big names in the sport. He won the IBF super featherweight title in 1998, before surrendering it to Diego Corrales. But it is Garcia’s work with some of the finest boxers of modern times that will grant him entry into the Hall of Fame.
Garcia’s Boxing Academy, located in Oxnard, California, has given rise to some of the biggest names in boxing’s modern era. His list of pupils, current and former, include Marcos Maidana, his younger brother Mikey Garcia, Nonito Donaire, Brian Viloria, Antonio Margarito, and Brandon Rios, among others.
Garcia is one of the great boxing minds today and really knows the craft very well. He teaches the traditional Mexican boxing style, aggressive and fast-paced but with better focus on technique.
5) Nacho Beristain
The legendary Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain is an absolute legend. He is without a doubt Mexico’s greatest boxing coach. His defense-first, counterpunching style is evident in the students whom he has taken under his wing, most notably brothers Juan Manuel and Rafael Marquez.
His first World Champion was the great Daniel Zaragoza, but he has also trained Hall-of-Fame fighters Ricardo Lopez, Gilberto Roman, Humberto Gonzalez, Jorge Arce, Jhonny Gonzalez, Abner Mares, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., with a brief period of time working with “The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya.
Without a doubt, Beristain is an absolute legend in boxing, and his reputation certainly precedes him. Many fighters who have trained under his wing have gone on to have equally legendary careers. Beristain is a firm believer in proper technique, but also in the soul and heart of a fighter which he says cannot be trained.
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