Thursday 23rd November 2017,
Sports Alchemist
Spotlight

On being a sparring partner

Rashad Holloway’s 11-1-1 record maybe not that sterling but Rashad has a deeper resume compared to any other boxers out there. He fought against Mosley, Margarito and Pacquiao as sparring partner and prepares each fighter on their respective foes. The most underrated and unappreciated member of any boxing team and guys like Holloway took each opportunity and experienced as a stepping stone and make every occasion a learning experience to a path of greatness. A busted eye almost ended Rashad’s young career while sparring against a suspicious Margarito. Yes he was wearing a protective head and body gear but it doesn’t ensure protection on plaster hand wraps. All in a day’s work of being a sparring partner amidst the money and glamour win or lose when you wake up the next morning another session commence. It’s either you end up as a punching bag or just a good workout.
There are a hundred tales about sparring sessions and how it was kept secret when the outcome isn’t promising. Oscar De La Hoya the middle weight fighter who went down to welter weight to fight Manny Pacquiao went to a conference with a black eye. He credited Victor Ortiz a member of his promotion who inflicted his bruised eye but Edwin Valero begs to disagree as he sent Oscar all bloodied on their sparring session. He also spars with light flyweight Ivan Calderon on which his punches never connected. Those are just rumors a part maybe true but also some part maybe wrongly told. Manny Pacquiao used to spar with Gerry Peñalosa on closed doors on which either fighter having any advantage there are constant talks that they hit each other so hard people from a far could hear all the exchanges.
Choosing the right sparring partner needs a meticulous eye with someone who could imitate his opponents move or his vaunted bread and butter punch. Ivan Calderon was hired to be Cotto’s sparring partner to mimic some of Pacquiao’s move while Manny on the other hand hired the services of power puncher Urbano Antillon and the undefeated light middle weight Shawn Porter. Ivan can run and avoid Cotto’s punches but he couldn’t change the fact that Manny attacks in spurts moving side to side with fast combinations maybe Ivan is not a good idea after all but for sure Cotto has in store for power punchers who could imitate Manny.
Sparring partner isn’t only a job but it’s an opportunity to learn from the best. When Amir Khan got a TKO loss to Breidis Prescott he was invited by Freddie Roach to spar with Manny to prepare him against Ricky Hatton and it boost his confidence as he dominated former Pacquiao’s opponent and future hall of famer Marco Antonio Barrera on their WBO international lightweight title fight.
Rashad Holloway fought two fights after his eye healed having one draw and one unanimous decision. Maybe fighting all those marquee fighters could take its toll or maybe there are just fighters who are just good as sparring partners. For Rashad we hope not.

Jess Matthew Beltran

Jess has contributed a thousand plus articles to various international and local sports sites. He is still finishing up an e-book which talks about basketball and life. Message him at [email protected]

Jess Matthew Beltran

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Jess Matthew Beltran

Jess Matthew Beltran

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About The Author

Jess has contributed a thousand plus articles to various international and local sports sites. He is still finishing up an e-book which talks about basketball and life. Message him at [email protected]

japan says:

nice observation jess.