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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.

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  • Take the Lead: Putting the Heavy Bag to Work for You

    Take the Lead: Putting the Heavy Bag to Work for You

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Heavy Bag Workout Tips & Techniques

    For as long as the modern day sport of boxing has existed, the heavy bag has been at the core of nearly every prizefighter’s workout routine. In the beginning, they were constructed of everything from canvas bags to gunny sacks filled with sand or grain. Although construction methods have advanced, the purpose that the heavy bag serves has remained the same. It provides a substantial target for a fighter to practice the art of power punching, movement and crafting a full arsenal of punches. Everything in the book, from the jab to the body shot, can be perfected on the heavy bag. The key to this integral piece of equipment and getting the most out of it is to be sure that you work it and don’t let it work you. What that means is that you don’t let it become a force that you only react to.  Instead, control its’ movement, dictate the pace of the round, the direction of the bag and every aspect of what you do with it.

    Too many fighters stand in front of the bag, hit it a few times (or once) and allow the bag to swing back and forth while they wait to hit it again. There’s really much more you can get out of the heavy bag than that, by not allowing yourself to follow, but lead the charge. If it were a dance, you would want to be the man, not the woman.  Lead, don’t follow.

    One of your goals on the heavy bag is to keep it moving, don’t let it settle into place. When you strike the bag, either pursue it and throw an additional combination or step to the side and throw. It is best not to hit the bag when it is coming straight back at you. Instead, step off and counter the direction the bag is going to interrupt its natural movement or hit it so that it continues its motion. The idea is to control the bag, where it goes, how fast it moves and when you stop its motion. If you have just hit the bag and it is swinging back at you, step off to your right and let a right cross go or plant a solid right hand to the body. Or as it swings back, step off to your left and rip a left hook to the body or head. By stepping to the side in this manner, you are accomplishing three main objectives.

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    First you are training yourself to remain in perpetual motion and making each minute of each round on the bag a real workout. Time spent standing flat-footed, waiting for the bag to come back it pointless. That means you are conditioning yourself to wait for your opponent to lead and take control. That’s a bad habit to get into and a dangerous position to put yourself in.

    Secondly, as you step of to the side, you should be shifting your weight to the lead foot that you stepped with. When you do this it is re-establishing a firm foundation and is putting you in the proper position to throw another punch or combination.

    Although it may sound basic, by working around the bag or pursuing it, you are hitting a moving target, as opposed to an “opponent” that is just coming straight at you or running away from you all of the time. That is both unrealistic and too simple. When the bag moves and you move to counter it…that’s more like a real fight. It requires you to respond and place your shots more precisely.  When you’re attacking a moving target, it requires better timing, judging range and adjusting your distance. You have to think more and work the bag more deliberately.

    It is also good to sometimes follow the bag. This form of attack may play into your already aggressive fighting style or is just good to work on in case you ever find yourself in the type of situation where you need to apply pressure and force the attack. By keeping your head planted on the bag while you bury punches into it, pressing the action and firing off powerful combinations, this will get you accustomed to moving forward. Even if this is not your typical fighting style, it will get you in the type of shape that you will need to be able to constantly apply effective pressure and will make you a more adaptable fighter.

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    What you do on the heavy bag, the types of drills you incorporate and the various routines you work on are virtually endless. But, more important than what you do, is how you do it, because ultimately, the heavy bag will never make you work harder than you want to. It’s not going to push you or punch back or make the rounds any more difficult than you dictate. Let the seconds tick by while you watch the bag swing lazily on its chain or take charge and put it to work for you and you’ll quickly find that the heavy bag can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy.

    Get your heavy bags here and your bag gloves here.

  • Intelligence Before Bravery

    Intelligence Before Bravery

    By Fernando Vargas - TITLE Board of Advisors

    Boxing Tips & Advice

    My father figure, mentor and coach, Eduardo Garcia always told me "Intelligence before bravery." I didn't hear him say it to all of his fighters, but he knew me and knew I needed to hear it. He knew I needed to hear it often. I loved to fight and I loved to get my anger all out, but he knew the importance of keeping my head and being more of a thinking fighter.

    These were words that I started to live by. The philosophy and these words became something I was able to slowly apply in the ring and it was a very important lesson in my development as a fighter.

    It was an approach he really stressed going into my first world championship fight with Yori Boy Campos in 1998. I only had 14 fights, against Campas' 74 going into that fight. He had a lot more experience, so Eduardo really wanted to be sure that I kept my head about me, not get over-anxious or over-aggressive. I listened and it paid off. I thought my way through the fight, applied just the right amount of pressure and knocked the champion out in the seventh round. I broke him down by fighting a smart fight, not just going after him.

    Intelligence before bravery can have meaning in all parts of your life. Having heart is important and it's a good trait, but there are times that you should think before acting careless or being reckless. This is something I pass along occasionally when I see my fighters getting too caught up in brawling, a reckless lifestyle or just thinking they're invincible.

    There are times that you have to bite down and just fight, but don't lose your head or let your emotions get the best of you. Know when to lead with your head, instead of your heart. Brains before brawn. Intelligence before bravery.

    Bio:Fernando bio image_BOA

    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.

    Shop 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.

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