Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BOXING: The Wisdom of Charley Goldman.

My deepest thanks to marbleheadmaui of for posting this.

Charley Goldman was a pre-WWI bantamweight. He stood 5'1. He had over 130 fights and was by most accounts a competent journeyman though he did get a shot at the bantam crown on one occasion. Goldman retired at 29 due to among other things, terribly brittle hands.

But Goldman is far better known as the trainer of a series of undisputed champions. Middleweight Al McCoy, featherweight Joey Archibald and lightweight king Lou Ambers. Goldman is most well known as the man who shaped Rocky Marciano. In 1957 Goldman, Marciano and a manager, judo expert and writer named Al Bachman published a how to book. The book is just under 200m pages and loaded with insights on every element of the sport. It is clearly designed for the young man just taking up the game and is titled Rocky Marciano's Boy's Book of Boxing and Body Building.

One section really had me thinking after the fights of the last two weeks. It is authored by Goldman and is titled The Art of Infighting. He writes separately for the unusually tall and the unusually short fighter and goes so far, along with Marciano, to detail two fictional fights, one from each perspective, near the end of the book. But here I'll stick to the basic instruction. As usual these are Goldman's thoughts with mine in parenthesis.

Short Fighters
  • With hands held reasonably high either bob, weave and shuffle towards the taller foe or take deliberate steps towards him while moving the head from side to side. (Think Joe Frazier for the former and Marvin Hagler for the latter)

  • When the tall fighter leads, make him miss and then close until you are close to his stomach and let go short punches. (Making him miss is only half the task at hand. Turning it into an advantage is a must)

  • "When you get inside, stay there!" (A mistake too many fighters make. They get inside, throw a few punches and then voluntarily retreat. Though not a short guy, Brandon Rios is a good example of a guy who when he gets inside stays there).

  • "When you are close to [the taller foe] keep moving almost rushing forward at the same time shooting short chopping punches to the body. Your opponent will try to back away or hold on if he can. Don't let him. Keep ripping your arms away from his clinches and chopping those punches to his midriff. Also when in close push your opponent's arms away from the front of his body and outward." (I found the two bolded sections the most illuminating. I noted that 13 hadn't stepped inside, but completely missed that even if he had he had to rush forward to counter Wlad's retreat. The second bold we've seen how many times? Wlad grabs and the shorter foe goes completely passive. He doesn't battle for position or punching room at all. Now some of that is surely Wlad's strength, but nobody even tries to make him fight inside!)

Tall Fighters

  • Long arms are a handicap in infighting. (Mr Paul Williams, calling Mr. Paul Williams!)

  • If you (the tall man) are fighting a strong, shorter man who keeps rushing you? Grab his right arm in the crook of his elbow, underneath his bicep with your left glove. (Yup, ole Charley recommends the clinch! Why fight at a disadvantage?). The force the forearm between your right bicep and side.

  • Keep your left foot between the shorter man's two feet and your right foot outside. Keep your body pivoted to the right. Now make your right arm do double duty and pound at the ribs with short shots. Now push the shorter man backwards and push his arms back as you do so. (Wlad does about half of this. He doesn't punch. He just clamps down until a break is called for).

Things for both to remember

  • Do not keep your chin on the other guys's shoulder or above his head. Too big a chance of injury.

  • When the referee calls break, take your right hand and push the other man away and then move to your right and fast with your hands up. (It's pretty obvious you don't want to stand in front of a guy, but how often do you see this?). As Goldman notes at the end of this section "Protect yourself at all times."



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