Training is more than the time you put in the gym with the fighter.  As a fighter it is the same, the learning doesn’t stop at the gym. The teaching doesn’t stop there, never has.  In my opinion, one area where many trainers are weak is in film study.
If you have worked with me you know I use film study; I film every aspect of training.  I study my fighters’ foot work, hand positioning, recovery rate, reactive rate, their ability to use the ring, balance, control. Their ability to shift weight.  I track their heart rates before and after training sessions to insure growth & development.  It also gives me a idea of how close a fighter is to peaking.  At times we have to slow training to ensure that we are not over-training.  Coaches don’t use it enough.  That’s a huge mistake.  Film study of great fighters can jump-start growth in a fighter, motivate, and inspire a fighter to new heights in their development.

Mike Tyson was one of those fighters who used film study to mold his style.

At that time, the late Bill Cayton had the largest library of fight films available.  He later sold it to ESPN and what you see on ESPN Classic, was once his.

Tyson had access to those films and would devour them.  He is one of the best living historians today, because of that vast film study.  Tyson can articulately break down fights and fighters beautifully well.

Why do you think Tyson wore no robe, socks, and black trunks into the ring?  Who was he honoring?  What fighter inspired him to be such a ruthless puncher & finisher?

Jack Dempsey.

Dempsey was a savage puncher & finisher.  Youtube his famed fight with the Argentinian Giant – The Wild Bull of The Pampas Luis Firpo.  Dempsey dropped Firpo 7 times in the first round!  Dempsey was knocked clean out of the ring and was pushed back into the ring by sports writers and drops Firpo knocking him out in the 2nd.  Argued as one of the best fights ever!

This motivated Mike.  He mimicked Dempsey’s savageness and raw aggression.

Look at what Dempsey wore in the wore in the ring.  Black trunk, no robe, no socks.

Tyson studied all the greats, Dempsey, Marciano, Jack Johnson, Sonny Liston, Ezzard Charles, Archie Moore, etc..  He studied boxing well outside his style as well.

Tyson was educated and motivated by these fight films he studied up in the lonely Catskill mountains of New York.  Who he was in the ring was due as much to film study as it was to Cus D’Amato‘s teaching style.

James Toney had a unique old school style that was in a league of it’s own during his prime of the early to mid 90’s.  That style allowed him to have short term success at heavyweight beating Evander Holyfield and John Ruiz for the heavyweight title he should have kept.

The late GREAT Bill Miller was a profound teacher.  He understood boxing & understood what it would do for James’ development.  They sat down together and broke old fight films down. To this day, Toney himself is a astute historian.

James dissected film of Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott, Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson, and more.

His unique old school style was born from these film study sessions.  Miller taught James in the gym and out.  He taught James what to look for and teach himself as he often rushed home after being inspired by how Ezzard Charles would roll with punches & practice it in front of the mirror.

James saw how the greats honed & took great pride in their crafty skills and he took pride in developing his one while testing them against the best.

Tyson took pride in being a savagely brutal finisher.  Both born from film study.

Film study also serves as a learning & growth tool for trainers.

It is priceless.

It is also hilarious to me on how I see how some of these quasi trainers tout themselves on Facebook yet never even heard of the truly great practitioners such as Burley, Pep, Ike Williams, Joe Ganns, etc.

They only go back so far and little, reflecting their true training knowledge.

Look, boxing is in BIG trouble these days.  There is a HUGE lack of quality trainers & real teachers.

Many trainers get into boxing not even knowing what it truly is.

I will never forget the time I was at a re-certification clinic in Orlando Florida back in 2005. I was sitting there as the instructor asked the new coaches who where becoming certified for the first time to define boxing.  All i heard was crickets!! They could NOT define it!

Boxing…. To hit & NOT be hit, to evade a punch yet be in POSITION to land a punch.

This is the art of boxing, the science.

If you can’t define it, stay the f-ck out.

As far as some of these amateur coaches who tout that they are level 3 or 4 coaches through USA boxing, playing the political game.

Many of them can shove them certificates up their ass cause quite frankly, they stink as coaches & teachers.

They fail to learn outside the box of what USA boxing gives them.  Many have never fought, (which isn’t a true must to be a good teacher, but it really does help), or have had mentors with tons of successful experience, OR do any film study.

The great fighters of the past have left us GREAT knowledge of the sweet science in their recorded historic fights & greatest moments. The knowledge is there! The science is there!

In my opinion, it is negligent for a trainer to ignore this.  To only learn so much.  To rest of a level of quasi boxing knowledge through certification.

They suffer and ultimately their fighters do.

Written by Coach Jose Toledo of The Untouchables Boxing Gym