9 Lessons New Boxers Can Learn from Rocky
Tuesday, May 1 2018
For first time boxers, the most famous fictional fighter can be an inspiration (he always gets back up!), an annoyance (if I hear that theme music one more time…), and even a joke (chasing chickens?). But buried deep within the hardly believable fight choreography, the bodybuilder physique, and many many sequels, there are some pearls of wisdom in the Rocky franchise. Read on for ten things new fighters can learn from the Italian Stallion.
Lesson 1: Roadwork, roadwork, roadwork.
Haymakers’ history shows us that the fittest athlete wins on Fight Night. Your impeccable technique will go out the window fast when the adrenaline and nerves kick in, but stamina conditioning will stay with you. Make sure you’re running. Contrary to popular belief re: Rocky, you don’t need to wrap your hands to go running.
Lesson 2: There is no tomorrow.
This bit of Apollo Creed wisdom comes to you straight from Rocky III. Know what would feel worse than losing on Fight Night? Knowing you didn’t give your training everything you had. So make like a Rocky training montage and give every workout your all.
Lesson 3: Watch what you eat.
You don’t have to drink glassfulls of raw eggs, but in the weeks and months leading up to your first fight, watch what you eat. Even if you’re one of the remarkably lucky few who’s magically on weight without having to try, there’s mindfulness and discipline that comes with preparing your body for a fight. Plus, your celebratory junk food will taste even better if you’ve been eating clean for a few weeks.
Lesson 4: Everybody’s got a chance - Apollo Creed in Rocky
Underdogs don’t only win in the movies. Professional and amateur fights are anyone’s to take, and that’s what makes boxing so exciting. The world champion can have an off night. The contender’s hunger and heart can close a skill gap. On Fight Night, remember: you’ve got as good a chance as anybody to win and an opportunity to show it.
Lesson 5: “For a 45 minute fight, you gotta train for 45 thousand minutes.” -Mickey in Rocky II
Heart and belief in yourself are crucial, but so is preparedness. It’s unbelievable how much work you need to do to get ready for a few minutes of fighting. This means that in the months and weeks leading up to your fight, you should take every spare minute to run, shadowbox, visualize, and get ready. Give your life over to boxing for a few months and you’ll walk into the ring feeling calm and confident.
Lesson 6: “There’s nothing wrong with being afraid.” - Adrian, Rocky III
It’s totally normal to be nervous (read: terrified) as Fight Night approaches. Any anxiety just means you care a lot and want to do well. Take a tip from The Italian Stallion himself in Rocky V: “Fear is a fighter’s best friend… Fear keeps you sharp, it keeps you awake, it makes you want to survive.”
Lesson 7: Find your team
Fighting’s a lonely sport, which is why you have to surround yourself with the right people. Get a trainer who feels more like family than a coach, teammates who’ll sweat (or run in the ocean!) alongside you, and an entourage who’ll follow you to the end of the earth (or Russia, if need be).
Lesson 8: “Keep your hands up” - Literally every coach in every Rocky movie
The reason for all the awful prosthetic swelling at the end of every Rocky fight? Rocky seems incapable of protecting his face. Keep your hands up.
Lesson 9: “But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.” -Rocky Balboa
If there’s any Rocky quotation that’s reached the point of overuse it’s this one, but it’s one of the truest lessons you can learn about fighting -- and life. Anyone can look great when their punches are landing, but true fighters have the ability to bounce back when they’re down in a fight.