Several weeks ago, Andre Ward tweeted about the top ten bad habits for any fighter to avoid. The social media reaction has been mixed, and it is no surprise that the ones countering or trying to create an argument about any of the bad habits, is a world champion themselves. Here is my breakdown of the top 10 and why they are correct in my opinion.
- PUTTING DRUGS OR ALCOHOL IN YOUR SYSTEM: This one surprisingly created the most comments, weather it was an athlete admitting that they have a hard time with it (mainly the alcohol part) or fans making comments to suggest that a little weed is not a bad thing. The last couple of years the biggest debate I have gotten into has been when I refuse to train a fighter that smokes weed. It is a big deal because it’s not allowed! For those that think a drink here and there won’t hurt a fighter…well 95% of the ones that say or believe that, are not World Champions themselves.
- GAINING 20-30 POUNDS IN BETWEEN FIGHTS: This one is more of an American habit. International fighters that come to train in the States are surprised to even find out that most American fighters don’t train on Sundays? There is a training system that goes back to the Old Russian republic and other nations that recruited the top athletes and sent them to training centers from youth. What is affecting the American fighters most is the lack of staying in consistent fighting shape or as I learned in the Army “Combat ready at all times!”
- ONLY TRAINING WHEN YOU HAVE A FIGHT COMING UP: This one hurt me in my career the most. After weeks of training camp, you have the fight and then you go for what you think is a few days, but those days for me would turn into weeks and perhaps it was a sign that my career was close to the end when it took a bout being negotiated to motivate me back into the gym. It also goes hand in hand with the weight gain between fights. I do find that fighters in the gym between fights, they stay in decent shape, but more importantly observe some of the other gym fighters and often help them improve on mistakes, mistakes that they themselves realize that they do. Staying in the gym keeps you improving one way or another.
- BELIEVING YOUR OWN HYPE (THERE IS ALWAYS MORE WORK TO DO): I think back to when Teddy Atlas left as Shannon Briggs’s trainer as the then contender was climbing the ladder. He said that he didn’t think Shannon could improve because he runs around as if he has already accomplished something. It also goes towards amateur fighters that may have competed nationally and turn pro expecting to have easy pickings in their careers to start out. Nowadays commissions decline more bouts then they approve and you shouldn’t feel that you deserve to be pampered. Be ready to work hard and earn every victory!
- LOVING THE NIGHT LIFE: This one speaks for itself. I did train old school during my career and even refrained from Sex. As a trainer, I’m not worried about a fighter being sexually active as much as the picking up of women and the late night socializing that it in tells. If you are out and bring someone home, you aren’t likely going to be getting your rest, which is essential in your body strengthening.
- BELIEVING THAT YOU CAN’T BE BEAT (ANYBODY CAN GET CLIPPED): This one seems to effect more undefeated fighters after they taste defeat for the first time and the aura of invincibility is gone? Confidence is needed to be a rising star, but I’ve seen more fighters then not that struggle to rebound after that first loss. Lennox Lewis after his first defeat against Oliver McCall said he didn’t have trouble rebounding from the loss because he never saw himself as invincible. He had lost amateur fights so he knew it can happen and he moved on after the defeat.
- HAVING A BUNCH OF PPL AROUND YOU WHO ONLY GAS YOU UP AND TELL YOU WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR: Entourage’s can be what keeps things fun and the accomplishment of fulfillment in helping out your ‘boys’ feels good, but they will be nowhere to be found if you reach a struggle period in your life and are no longer living large. Also they ‘hype’ people around you make you feel invincible to normal life and make you think you can get away with murder. Once you can’t except or hear criticism, you stop improving. The gassing up makes you proud and pride comes before the fall.
- LAZINESS: You have to wanna get up and you have to wanna train everyday. Going back to resting between fights and what I said about how a few days off turns into a few weeks off. Sure, it feels good to rest after a fight and as your injuries heal it feels even greater! However, don’t forget the hard work it requires to win a bout, get back in the gym and find your motivation!
- PRIDE (NOT ALLOWING YOURSELF TO STILL BE TAUGHT): As I said in number 7…Pride comes before the fall. The entourage can also separate you from coaches and start the conflict because they make you believe that you are perfect and the trainer’s criticism is a joke. Be willing to always learn and never feel that you’re at the point where you have nothing left to learn. It’s a life lesson, not just a boxing lesson.
- ENTITLEMENT (NOBODY OWES YOU ANYTHING): Like I said previously with amateur fighters expecting an easy road in the pros, it also goes with fighters in the gym. Too many try to make a trainer feel like they should be privileged to work with such a fighter and so should bow down to a fighter’s demands… Coming in late to the gym or being on your own schedule is a sign of entitlement and the kind of lack of work ethic that can ruin a career.
About the Editor
Army Veteran and former Professional Boxer Simon Ruvalcaba started boxing at the age of ten and Had a 71 fight amateur career which featured a 139 lbs. 1998 8th U.S. Army Boxing Championship out of Camp Casey, Korea and a spot on the prestigious Army Boxing Team at Fort Hood, TX. After a journeyman pro career of 18 fights, which included sparring sessions with many champions and contenders including Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker, Simon started writing and has contributed to many publications and websites including fighthype.com, pound4pound.com, Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA), Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV) and also writes a monthly boxing column for Tahoeonstage.com. He has also been the Boxing Instructor for Ken Shamrock and The Lions Den and was UFC star Paige VanZant’s first boxing coach!
Born and Raised in South Lake Tahoe, California he now resides in Sun Valley, Nevada and spends as much time as possible with his Son Gabriel! Beyond boxing, Simon is an all around sports fanatic and is passionate about the teams that he roots for!