Although once you get in the ring, you often come face-to-face with a variety of things you didn’t expect, the one thing you can absolutely control in boxing happens before you ever climb through the ropes.
You determine how well-conditioned you are and that happens in the gym, in your preparation. It's where you put in the work that yields results come fight time OR exposes you as an underprepared athlete. Skill, talent and adaptability will take you far, but conditioning is part of a strong athletic foundation that those traits depend on.
At your best, when you are in shape, you can press the action and will be able to handle whatever you're faced with. At your worst, poor conditioning limits your ability to do what needs to be done. Either way, it all starts and is crafted in the gym and it's the one thing in boxing that you have 100% control over...that is, if you choose to. So…if you can have total control over this one aspect of your training, why in the world wouldn't you? Why wouldn't you go that extra round or take one last lap around the track? It could mean having to dig a little deeper in your day-to-day training, but will keep you from coming up short once you hear the phrase "Touch 'em up." This might sound like the typical gym mantra of "Push yourself", but it's much more intentional than that. This is about setting a goal before you walk in the gym with no plan other than reaching or exceeding it.
Don't just go in the gym to do what you did yesterday or a little bit more. Plan your attack and then breakthrough what challenges you the most. Don't make these goals and plans unattainable, but DO make them hard. Do what scares you just a little bit. The biggest successes in the ring happen when you are faced with either breaking-through or breaking-down.
When the going gets tough and you start to doubt yourself, don't stop to do a gut check. Act on instinct. Don't allow yourself time to think and second-guess yourself, just power through it. Shut out any other thought than to just keep going. Simply don't negotiate with yourself.
If your mind wanders anywhere, make it go to the future. Control your thoughts. Don't focus on your current pain or fatigue. Instead, think about WHY you're there, WHY you're training so hard. It's to win. At the end of your workout and, more importantly, after the fight, you will live with the thrill of victory or the regret of giving-in one minute too soon.
These simple three techniques will help you master the one aspect of the sport that is totally up to you and that's being the most well-conditioned, fully-prepared athlete you can be.
Plus, there's another benefit of being strong and in shape. Being at your best doesn't only show in your performance, in your appearance, but it also shows up in your eyes. When you've done your homework in the gym, your opponent will be able to tell it. You will exude maximum confidence. When they look at your physique and into your eyes, they will see supreme confidence. There will be no shred of doubt or insecurity and that will win you a round before the first bell even sounds.
Your talent, your technique and your plan of attack, all go out the window when you get tired. So be the master of your fate. Take control of your conditioning take the fight into your own hands.