The Eye of the Tiger

By Bryant Romero—

Prizefighting in professional boxing has existed for over 120 years. As time has passed, boxing as evolved in many different areas of the sport, the rules have changed over time. During the late 19th century boxing consisted of two participants with no gloves, the fights were held with bare knuckles. The most notable Prizefighters in the late 19th century and early 20th century didn’t make more than 100 thousand dollars a good sum those days in the biggest possible fights at that time. Now Floyd Mayweather Jr, currently the number 1 pound for pound fighter in the sport will be making upwards of 30 million in his upcoming fight with Robert Guerrero on May 4th on Showtime PPV. However, there some things in boxing that will never change and that’s greedy promoters and old school boxing exercises. The best fighters of today still do their roadwork up to 8 miles a day, they still hit the heavy bag; they still spar with some toughest fighters in the country or around the world to polish their skills.

However, fighters throughout history have always had unusual training routines. Sugar Ray Robinson considered by many in the boxing world to be the greatest fighter of all time use to drink beef blood while training before his fights. He claimed it was his “secret weapon” and it was the reason why he could overcome bigger and stronger opponents.

Muhammad Ali used unorthodox under water training where his whole body is in a pool of water and he’s simulating a boxing match. This method of training helped him with his cardio, stamina, rhythm, and balance. In Ali’s prime, he was almost impossible to hit because of his ability to lean back from his opponent’s punches and his laser fast counterpunches made his opponents think twice about attacking him.

Today’s fighters also have some unique training exercises, but the difference between today’s fighters compared to the past is that most top fighters also have strength and conditioning coaches as well as boxing coaches. There are more original workouts that are being used by today’s top fighters. Jr Middleweight contender James Kirkland shovels huge truck tires as part of his training; 8 division champion Manny Pacquiao has members of his team hit him with bamboo sticks in order to toughen his sense for pain. 4 division Champion Nonito Donaire uses a lot of science that he feels helps enhance his performance in the ring. Donaire for his past few fights has used hypoxic training where he his hooked up to an oxygen mask that gives him a deficit of oxygen, it simulates the effects a boxer can get from running in high elevation. The benefits of hypoxic training are an increased in red blood cells and increased stamina.

“I can go 20 rounds. One thing that I gained with the hypoxic training is it makes you do circles and go 12 rounds in Mount Everest,” said Donaire. “It increases your red blood cells, you’re able to take more oxygen in your system no matter how tired you are. The guys that I’m sparring , they’re no walk in the park, they’re good prospects. They go all out in sparring and then I have another guy fresh coming in and I feel good and I can tire them out no matter what,” said Donaire in an interview with


See other stories by Bryant Romero: “The Amateur Fight Game”

See video from Bryant Romero: “Diddy’s Second Fight”