Analyzing the Corner

Boxing Betting: Analyzing a Fighter’s Corner

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

Sometimes, having a solid corner can tip a close fight in a fighter’s favor. How many times have you seen a trainer pump up his fighter and spur him to victory? Remember when Angelo Dundee told Sugar Ray Leonard “You’re blowin’ it, son” when he was down on the cards to Tommy Hearns? Leonard came back and stopped Hearns in the 14th. And there’s been numerous other times where you’ve seen a trainer appropriately tell his charge that he needs a knockout or when a cutman stemmed the flow of a deep cut.

Major league fighters need major league corners or they’re operating from a deficit. Sometimes you see even good fighters entrust in a low-end cutman who couldn’t close a nick from shaving. You’ve seen trainers tell their fighters to coast in the final two rounds of a close fight. Or trainers who tell a fighter who is way ahead to get aggressive, leading to a shattering last-round knockout when they were actually ahead on the cards.

It’s nice to see fighters with head trainers who have been there before. It’s one thing to have a fighter be a little shellshocked when he arrives on the big stage, but a trainer who has experienced everything can better help guide a fighter through those tense moments. If both the fighter and trainer are new to the big-time, it’s a lot more difficult. They could be blinded by the glare of the big lights.

At the same time, there is an awfully restrictive view on the part of some in the sport on who the good trainers truly are. Trainers sometimes catch the most flack. Take Jack Loew, for example, who guided ex-champ Kelly Pavlik from a child to the middleweight championship of the world. No one heard so much as a peep about Loew not being good enough for Pavlik when he was riding high on the crest of a series of explosive wins. But when Kelly’s career got a little sideways, you started hearing how he needed to change trainers, that Loew had taken him as far he could.

There is this absurd notion on the part of some that only Freddie Roach, Emanuel Steward, and a few others are worthy of training a world champion. The fact is that there are boxing savants you probably never even heard of who are perfectly capable of training any fighter. Don’t think that just because you never heard of a trainer, that he’s not up to snuff. Getting a fighter in your gym who ends up fighting on PPV is akin to hitting the lottery. So there are many fine trainers out there who just never had the chance to do their thing on the big stage. Don’t make conclusions about a fighter’s corner without getting the proper information.

Fighters Who Change Trainers

It’s not like it used to be. Today, it’s not uncommon to see a trainer change his corner numerous times over his career. When you see a fighter who just likes to mix it up constantly, it’s usually not a concern. Oscar De La Hoya having a new trainer in almost every fight didn’t stop him from greatness. But sometimes when you see a fighter abandon his trainer, it can be a very bad sign.

It can suggest that a fighter is scapegoating or has character flaws when he dismisses a longtime trainer. Take former champion Michael Nunn, for example. The Goossen family brought him up from nothing. He was undefeated, a world champion, and a guy with a limitless future. Then all of a sudden, he ditched the Goossens and went right into the toilet. What kind of man walks out on the people who coddled him from nothingness to stardom?


Sometimes a change can be positive. It usually doesn’t hurt a boxer’s career when he starts working with trainers like Emanuel Steward and the like. But when you see a fighter walk out on a longtime trainer on bad terms or switch corners following a loss, it can suggest a mental issue that will usually manifest badly in the ring at some point.