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TITLE Boxing Blog

From inside the gym to around the world of combat sports, the TITLE Boxing Blog keeps you up-to-date with the latest MMA and Boxing news, training tips and fighting techniques. This is the kind of info you need to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

  • Delayed Gratification

    Delayed Gratification

    By Fernando Vargas

    3.24.17 BOA Fernando champ pic Photo via BoxRec

    The mistake that many fighters make and one I definitely paid the price for in my own career is keeping it all in perspective. The success. The money. The praise. It all means nothing if you aren't disciplined enough to make it last.

    Speaking for myself, I got caught up in having everything I had worked so hard for and sacrificed for, right now. I wanted to be the champ and live that life, when I should have been dedicating myself more. I didn't wait to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

    I think the majority of fighters make that same mistake. They start celebrating their success too early. To be a real success in boxing and in life, not a temporary one, you have to think long-term. If you just focus on having it all, experiencing everything right now and getting everything you want immediately, you won't dedicate yourself enough to build long-term, lasting success.

    If you want to be a world champion, you have to live for and dedicate your life to the work. Pay now and play later. You have your whole life to party. Commit yourself to the continuing sacrifice and life of a disciplined fighter and then, only then, you get to live the rest of your life as a champion.

    Fernando bio image_BOABio:

    Three-time World Champion, “Ferocious” Fernando Vargas fought with an elite class of fighters throughout the 90s and into the 2000s. He holds wins over Yori Boy Campos (which also made him the youngest Jr. Middleweight to ever hold that title), Winky Wright, Ike Quartey and others. Vargas faced the best fighters of his era in Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad, in what many consider modern-day classics. To this day he remains a fan-favorite because of his accessibility and take-no-prisoners style in the ring. Vargas currently owns and operates the Feroz Fight Factory in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he trains a stable of rising amateur and professional prospects.

    TITLE Board of Advisors:

    A running series of blog posts collected by TITLE Boxing through our relationships with individuals inside the sport. Fighters, trainers, managers, dieticians, referees and more have offered their words, and we bring them to you here.

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  • Risk Missing or Risk Losing

    Risk Missing or Risk Losing

    By Douglas Ward

    Boxing Psychology

    Although every bag and piece of equipment has a unique purpose, I've always felt that the double end bag is the most demanding and, therefore, the most beneficial. When used correctly, it forces the action, keeps you thinking about offense and defense and, in general, requires more focus. It can test your willingness to go all-out in training and could potentially expose you if you can’t match its pace or speed. That's the exact reason why many fighters avoid it.

    Frankly, it is hard. It requires focus. It's frustrating. It's not easy work.

    When you think about it, approaching the double end bag kind of parallels life. Many boxers, especially when they’re starting out, tend to hold back. They hesitate. They won’t fully commit to a punch because they want to wait for the "right time" to throw and they only want to throw when they know the punch will land. Specifically, on the double end bag, they want to be sure they can catch-it and land a solid, satisfying hit. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. For some, their approach to life is very similar.  Most people are scared to make mistakes. They're afraid to look silly and risk being embarrassed, so they make the easy choice. They take the path of least resistance. They try to fly under the radar and do just enough to get by. That's not how you get better. You get better by doing uncomfortable things. You improve by taking risks. The risk = reward dilemma is what boxers have to confront every day in the gym. It’s the only way you ultimately win.

    The moral of the story is; you have to throw punches, not knowing if they're going to land. You have to have faith, confidence and know that, eventually, you'll connect. One punch landed, leads to two. Two punches lead to four and eventually you pick up the rhythm of the double end bag. Once you get the rhythm and timing down you can really begin to excel. That’s when you improve. That's when life comes together for you...when you stop waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect punch and you just throw.

    In the end, it has to start with that first step into the unknown, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel. This is where most people fail, due to fear. They don't fail from an inability to learn or lack of physical skill. They fail due to the crippling fear of the unknown and unwillingness to take a risk. Muhammad Ali put it best when he said, "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

    Live life. Throw punches and be willing to make mistakes. Whether it's a bag or big dreams in front of you, dare to risk, miss and even completely fail. It might be a little rough at first, but being comfortable is highly overrated. Put yourself out there. No one ever achieved anything great by playing it safe.

    Douglas Ward is the Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing.

  • Change Encourages Growth

    Change Encourages Growth

    By Douglas Ward

    How to Change Up Your Boxing Workout Routine

    Although there are aspects of training that are repetitious and actually require doing a movement or exercise over and over, so that it becomes second nature, it doesn't mean that some change isn't good. In fact, change is necessary and extremely beneficial in boxing.

    The human mind and body are highly attuned to routine and after a while they figure out a way to adapt and, at that point, they take the easy path and growth stops. Your body learns how to adjust and what it is being asked to do becomes easy. To keep them (muscle memory and your neuro-pathways) off-balance and guessing about "what's next" puts more demand on your central nervous system. Most people hate the word "change," but it is the only way you adapt, get challenged, and then learn and grow.

    Adaptive Training is the same principle that is used in many other sports, like; cross fit, bodybuilding and especially "chaos training." It focuses on the importance of changing your routine constantly, session-to-session, weekly or every three-four weeks. That doesn't necessarily mean completely different exercises every workout, but the order you do them in, the duration and intensity can consistently be varied.  Keep it fresh and make it constantly inconsistent. Your workouts should almost always leave fighters feeling like they were challenged and that they progressed.

    Let's be honest. It’s easy for coaches and fighters to shift it into automatic and just do "the usual" routine. It requires less planning, effort and execution, but it won't get you where you need to go. Change it up and you'll become a better boxer, a more adaptable fighter who can deal with anything you're faced with, even if it’s something a little different than what you've seen before. By training differently, you will have conditioned your brain to think in the ring, not just fly on autopilot.

    Change doesn't mean buying into the latest, greatest fitness routine, fad or fancy gadget. It’s more about getting creative with what works. Don't get caught-up in getting too cute, but simply change-up the variety and keep your fighter guessing about what's coming next.

    Sometimes coaches, fighters and strength and conditioning experts push the boundaries of practicality by inventing new methods of training and tricky machines that supposedly help you improve. Although there are some gadgets that can add new dynamics to your workout, what works best are the tried-and-true methods. The right combination of bag work, mitts, technique-driven drills, sparring and a good mix of strength and conditioning exercises is crucial to creating a well-rounded fighter. How you attack your workout and approach the session is more important than any new invention.

    It’s always been said that survival is mandatory, but change is necessary. The best way to prepare for that is by how you operate in training. Change it up regularly and you'll reap the rewards of being conditioned to adapt.

    Douglas Ward is the Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing.

  • No Plan is Fool Proof

    No Plan is Fool Proof

    By Douglas Ward

    Boxing Fight Tips

    German military strategist Helmuth Von Moltke once said that "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy." His belief was once a hypothetical plan collides with a real world situation, nothing goes as planned. Assumptions made prior to combat play out incorrectly, errors pile up and predictions clash with reality. Mike Tyson put it in boxing terms when he said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

    So does that mean you should go into a fight blind, with no strategy and no gameplan? No. It does mean that you shouldn't become totally reliant on your pre-fight plan. You should think positively and that it will work. Believe that what you have mapped-out, based on your experience, perceptions and strengths, will play out exactly as you've predicted. But if it doesn't, be prepared to adapt. Once your blueprint starts to unfold and it’s not going according to plan, be willing and able to change.

    Some fighters and coaches have difficulty with this. They map out the perfect pre-fight strategy. They work on executing their gameplan and they can't change once it’s in action and doesn’t work. They have no "Plan B" and can't think fast enough in the heat of the battle to see what adjustments need to be made.

    The fact is, information and perceptions gathered before a match can be beneficial, but have to be negotiable. Part of any pre-fight planning should be a plan to adapt. There are too many variables to have all of the answers. The other fighter could decide to fight a different fight than usual. A foul or head butt could come into play. The referee's level of involvement could become a factor. An unexpected knockdown could occur. You can't plan for or expect any of these incidents to happen, but just knowing they might gives you the permission to alter your game plan without feeling like you've failed or made a mistake.

    It’s true when Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” But sometimes there comes a point in the ring (and in life) when the best way to control the future is to let go of the past and present, no matter how well you thought you had planned for it all.

    Douglas Ward is the Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing.

  • Being a Marketable Fighter

    Being a Marketable Fighter

    By Douglas Ward

    How to Become a Boxing Superstar

    In today's boxing world, marketing yourself as a fighter has become almost as important as talent. Well, maybe not quite...but close. Unfortunately this media-driven world, full of reality television and sensational news stories, has created a demand for "personalities." The bigger, the better. The more outrageous a person is, the more abnormal their behavior, the more attention and press they get. Good, bad or even a little of both translates into valuable face time these days.

    Being highly skilled and a great athlete may not be enough to get you recognized or get you paid any more. Think about it. How many fighters have you seen who create conversation, who have great records, who are surrounded by tons of hype and who get lots of exposure, but are just "okay" once the bell rings?

    Part of that marketability, that "buzz," is created by personality. So how do you become that fighter who can sell tickets, get the attention of promoters and get paid? Let's break it down in three simple steps...

    Be exciting. Make the fight happen. That doesn't mean being reckless to press the action. It does mean setting an action-packed pace that’s entertaining and keeps the crowd engaged. People don’t have a lot of time to spare and won’t invest their time on anything less than mesmerizing. You have to be worth watching.

    Be extreme. Be extremely angry. Be extremely gregarious and outgoing. Be extremely passionate. Be extremely talented. Whatever your strength is, focus on it, share it and showcase it for the boxing world to see. No one likes plain, boring or predictable. Take what you do best, magnify it and showcase it. Package it, present it and sell it. It's not being fake, it's being marketable.

    Be interesting. Everyone has a story and you have to be willing to tell yours. It might be sad, painful, weird, inspiring, interesting or somewhat boring, but there has to be a "human interest" element to it to get noticed. What in your life story sets you apart and will make people want you to win? Whether you were raised in an abusive home and are fighting for recognition or you have lived a blessed life and give back by donating your free time to help feed the homeless. No matter which side of the street you grew up on, people love underdogs as much as they love people who care. Find your story and tell it.

    In order to be that marketable commodity that gets people talking about you and wanting to pay to see you fight, you have to take your boxing personae to the next level. You don't have to be a character, you just have to know who you are. And you have to be willing to share that, be true to it, don't veer from it and work your butt off to be in a position to shine the spotlight on it.

    Those are three BE's of how you become a marketable fighter.

    Having spelled it out, now let me add that - None of it has any value unless you are hitting the gym, practicing your craft and getting better all day, every day.  You don't want to be all sizzle and no meat, but if you're "well done" then you deserve a spot on the boxing menu.

    Douglas Ward is the Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing.

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