Sep 042011
Philly area prospect Ray Robinson

Philly area prospect Ray Robinson

Gyms and Trainers

Did you ever go into a boxing gym and it was hummin’?   When you walk into one that is popping with activity you can cut the atmosphere with a knife.  All kinds of people are around when the gym is busy–young kids, teenagers, men and women.  Many of them are trying to “shed the skin” they are in.  They want to alter their future, get ahead in boxing.

The trainers, managers and hangers-on are like characters out of a movie.  They say some of the funniest and most profound things.  Most managers and trainers never make it to the point with a fighter that they can honestly say:  “I made some money.”  Some guys squeeze by and have full-time or part-time jobs.  They may work in the gym with a kid for a couple of months, then the kid calls it quits.

There is a unique quality about fight trainers.  There is so much one-on-one coaching in boxing that the fighter forms a bond with his (or her) trainer.  The fighter depends on the trainer–it is like a shot of adrenaline to hear the trainer’s advice.  I have seen it up-close-and-personal at Shuler’s Gym, Fast Lane, Lonnie Young Recreation Center, Front Street, Harrowgate, the Joe Hand Gym and others.

When a fighter is in the ring, he is in control of where he goes and how he gets there.  “Being in the ring is like nothing else,” says local welterweight prospect Ray Robinson.  Robinson feels he is in control inside the ropes.  He can orchestrate what is happening; he is comfortable. His relationship with his trainer Moses is a father-son relationship.

Lucky fighters and trainers have that bond.   When a fighter respects and trusts his trainer, the bond becomes stronger.  Much of the time, the trainer knows more about his fighter than the fighter’s friends and family.  They are more than just trainers, they are a fighter’s guiding light.

The Opponent

Boxing is made up of all different types of fighters.  There are the up-and-coming prospects, the champions, contenders, journeymen and opponents.

Up-and-coming prospects with less than 15 pro fights, champions with the belts, contenders on the brink of title shots, journeymen who have been around for years and opponents who have more losing streaks then winning ones.

An opponent in boxing is there for what reason?  Is he there to help build a prospect’s record?  Does he fight strictly for the money, the love of the sport?  At what point should a fighter “hang up” the gloves?

Opponents are crucial to boxing!  Without them, young prospects would constantly be in hard fights.  I have no problem with testing fighters, but sometimes a fighter deserves an easy fight, although getting punched in the face never is easy.

Boxing creates stress for a fighter.  Sometimes a fighter deserves a stay-busy fight or a tuneup that helps him to get ready for something bigger in the future.  Opponents are there to test the up-and-coming prospects or to help champions and contenders stay active.  Yet some of the best brawls are between opponents and journeymen because there is no expectation of the outcome.

Once the bell rings, every fighter has a chance, even the opponent.  Often, people forget that.  Underestimating an opponent is one of the worst things a prospect, champion or contender can do.  Every fight should be just as important as the next one, regardless of who is in the opposite corner.

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Brittany Rogers contributes the BAM on Boxing column to PSC.  You can also check her out, as well as everything else you need to know on Philly boxing, at  Follow Brittany on Twitter @bamonboxing and Peltz Boxing @PeltzBoxing.