It’s a comparison often made that boxing can be like a chess match – I’ve even heard of a sport where people spar and then play chess in between rounds.
So if boxing is like a game of chess, I suppose I’m at that novice stage where you go out and capture as many pieces as you can, hoping that you’ll be the one with more left at the end to take the King… well not that bad.
Today I had a great training session of technical with future champ Deon Reid. The sparring started off really to work on the jab – when and when not to throw it, distance, timing, bodyweight positioning etc. With no head guard on we lightly sparred, stopping and starting when we pleased to give each other pointers.
We eventually progressed to throwing any shot we wanted, always lightly. We both became so relaxed with each other that we tried different styles out – things we would never do in a normal spar.
The spar was less of a fight and more of a game. Like a game of chess. You want to hit and not get hit. You want to trick or throw feints to get that opening so you can score a shot. I’m not a mastermind at chess, so I suppose the stage we were at is just like the beginning. I’m sure we’ll learn to better record mentally what the other guy does, and then work out plans that can be executed over the course of three, four or more rounds. I’m sure that will all come.
But the lesson which really hit home today was to relax and play chess. Look at greats such as Mayweather or Ali, so relaxed in front of their oponent so that they can concentrate on figuring them out. Athletic ability is a great tool in boxing, but if you relax, be smart and look to figure the other guy out, you can end up winning whilst working twice as easy.