February 18, 2010 13 Comments
Perhaps 99% of the population misunderstands boxing. It can drive me mad because there are few things as annoying as belligerent ignorance. Fighting is right up there with pulling chicks and politics as a subject where every Tom, Dick and Harry is convinced they “get it” yet they are painfully and demonstrably wrong. About everything. Allow me to offer some of the more retarded boxing expertise I’ve suffered lately:
“Mike Tyson was the greatest heavyweight ever, in his prime. If he hadn’t gone to prison he’d have been champ for years.”
“Muhammad Ali was the greatest.”
“Roy Jones was tremendously skilled.”
Allow me to demolish these retarded statements and then I’ll get to the point. Tyson was an expert can opener – meaning he looked sensational against third-rate guys (“tomato cans”) who were terrified of him. But boxing is not about your record or how many wins you have – it’s about who you beat. Tyson didn’t beat top level fighters. Partly this was bad luck through entering his prime in the late 1980s when everyone was shit. So he beat Pinklon Thomas, Trevor Berbick, Tony Tucker and other low quality heavies. The only two top guys he beat in his initial run were a washed up Larry Holmes and a terrified, injured, outsized Michael Spinks. Whoopee. He ducked George Foreman because he knew stylistically Big George would murder him. He got sent down before Evander Holyfield could do him. The harsh reality is this: every guy who hit Iron Mike back, knocked him out. History will show he was a busy, short-armed fighter who had a short prime but could only fight while “on top” and only against guys who didn’t interupt his combinations.
Ali was a prick. He was so tremendously gifted with his chin, speed, co-ordination, and reflexes that he never had to learn to box properly. In his pre-Vietnam career he just outslicked the lesser opposition, and beat Sonny Liston cos he was old, slow and his primary two weapons (freaky power, intimidating person) were ineffective against a cocky iron-chinned Ali. So it was easy for the fast Ali to dance around the plodding Liston. Post-Vietnam Ali was much better but relied extensively on soaking up punishment, flicking jabs, and gift decisions. But to give him credit – judged by who he beat, he beat the best crop of heavyweights there’s ever been. Still, he was no Joe Louis or Jack Dempsey, or even Rocky Marciano.
RJJ was nature’s sick joke. The guy had unbelievable natural gifts. Lightning hand speed, laser-guided coordination, Neo-like reflexes. So he coasted through his entire career and never learned the skills. Go dig up copies of Ring magazine (or Boxing News) from the mid-90s and you’ll see the same thing repeated time after time: “Roy is so talented but when is he going to stop handpicking safe opponents and actually fight someone for real?” The pre-Tarver version of Jones only had three significant opponents: (1) An undersized and inexperienced Bernard Hopkins who fought competitively but couldn’t overcome the speed difference (2) A severely weight-drained James Toney who was never troubled but couldn’t catch up to Jones (3) A pitiful John Ruiz at heavyweight – Roy’s only brilliant performance.
So what happens when Roy gets old and loses the reflexes? He gets tooled by absolutely everyone. Because he never had world-class boxing skill.
Where does this link in to game?
Tyson is the classic no-game plower. He tramples into a club and hits on all the girls always the same way and keeps on them until they relent. Always the lower quality girls, always ones who are vulnerable in some way (lonely, 30+, drunk, slutty etc). A can-opener. He gets laid plenty but never with hot girls. He has one-dimension that he gradually refines and it works for him within the limitations he has unconsciously set himself. Not an all-time great.
Ali is the cocky natural. He’s born with advantages and his strength of character was there before he starting hitting on girls. He’s come up the normal way, getting girls through school and university – gradually upgrading the quality of girl as his skills improve. He does lots of things wrong (or more accurately sub-optimally) but he’s biffing quality girls and draws people to him. His style works for him but he wouldn’t know how to teach it. As he ages his gifts decline and he starts missing where he used to hit. His raw character continues to keep him in with a shot at a fairly high level. It’s a slow decline over many years and he still retires (marries) at a decent level.
RJJ is the poseur. He’s born with incredible gifts such as a handsome face, athletic body and a nice smile. So long as he puts a little effort in at the gym and spends a bit of cash on clothes he attracts women right through his prime. He never has to learn game. He never has to cold approach and then develop interesting conversation and methodical kino. He’s so damn good-looking that a high proportion of girls will jump on his cock regardless. But this is still only a proportion. If a girl doesn’t respond well initially he doesn’t know what to do. So he can never choose the girl he wants, he can only choose from the pool of girls who have IOI’d him. In his 20s this is still a world of abundance. As he ages and life sucks his mojo away, he gets less IOIs and he stalls. He starts suffering the metaphorical knockouts.
So if these guys are all successful but limited, what is the boxing analogy for the successful and unlimited guy?
Gentleman, I present James “Lights Out” Toney.
This guy came up the hard way. He had talent of course, but his pure boxing skills were learned in the gym through blood, sweat and tears. He learned to slip, to bob, to shoulder roll. He learned what is the correct position to stand in and where to hold your hands no matter what was happening. He learned to defend with foot movement and when feet are planted. He learned everything there is to learn about boxing and then he took tough fights on the way up to master it.
Watch Toney fight. He is always in full command. His ring generalship is second to none. He isn’t blinding the opponents with handspeed or flurries that mostly miss (RJJ, I’m looking at you), he isn’t soaking up punishment (Ali) or relying on overwhelming one-shot power (Tyson). He is standing there in the pocket and using superior timing, distance, body position and punch selection. It is mental superiority expressed physically. This is why even as a fat, 37-yr old middleweight he absolutely mullered that same John Ruiz for the heavyweight title. It’s why he could stand in front of the Samuel Peter behemoth twice when Toney’s natural division is 168lbs and Peter’s is 240lbs.
To boil the difference down to a single point: There are two types of boxer. Boxer One has his thing and he is going to do that thing, no matter what the opponent is doing. If he is good at the left jab-straight right-left hook combo he is gonna keep throwing it and seeing what sticks. Boxer Two is constantly reacting to his opponent, learning how he moves, and creating the openings to score. He is interacting.
Boxer One fights like it is two bulls running headfirst into each other. Boxer Two is like a dancer spinning his partner around.
Boxer One is like the 100m sprinter where every race is simply “run as fast as I can till its finished” whereas Boxer Two is like the tennis player whose every shot is based on how best to move the guy on the other side of the net.
Gamers game, players interact.
A gamer has his opener, his routine stack, and his close. He will run this shit mechanically on every girl he meets. When it sticks, he gets laid and pats himself on the back. When it fails, he moves on. He will get laid, but not as much as he could. Most of the time he’s firing his peashooter against a tank.
A player knows the principles of game and tailors the interaction to the girl. He processes her feedback and amends his game on the fly. He knows how to move her around and generate the desired responses. It is a two-way process, a delicate dance in which he leads and she follows.
It’s easiest to start as a gamer. It’s fun and it works. But if you are serious about transforming yourself into a high value man, keep your eyes on the goal - become a player.