Exclusive Interview: Emanuel Steward On What Made Him The Great Trainer He Is
By James Slater - Hall of Fame boxing trainer Emanuel Steward is and always has been his own man. Unlike other accomplished boxing trainers, Emanuel doesn’t feel he owes a debt of gratitude to any “father figure” coaches of yesteryear. When recently asked by this writer if any one trainer taught him any invaluable lessons as he was making his way up the coaching ladder, Steward replied instantly “No.”
Article posted on 12.04.2011
A natural at simply watching and learning from the ringside, it wasn’t long before Emanuel became famous and established via his tremendous success with the Kronk gym he opened in Detroit.
During his time in boxing (he began training guys at age 16, in 1961, when he was still boxing himself), Steward has learnt a lot. Here he lists the things he feels are the most important when it comes to becoming an effective boxing trainer.
“I never learnt from one particular trainer. I was always my own man, in my own little world with the guys at Kronk,” Steward explains.
“I just watched and picked things up when I was an amateur. I know Angelo Dundee quite well, but I never learnt anything from him. I never read books about boxing training. I worked against Eddie Futch twice - his fighters against mine. Both times I won - Tommy Hearns against James Schuler and Evander Holyfield against Riddick Bowe the second time..
During his great career, Emanuel has collated a number of “Golden Rules” - he lists them here:
“Pretty much, I make sure I stick to the basics, basic boxing. The fundamentals. Guys [trainers] don’t seem to do this now, they look to get too complicated.
“I look at balance and the correct delivery of a punch as being extremely important for any fighter I work with. Footwork, coordination. Common sense stuff, really. A fighter has to master the fundamentals to be successful. I see a lot of guys trying to get too technical today.
“I’ve also learnt that you cannot treat each guy the same. All boxers are different. You have to get to know each guy and his mental makeup. You can’t take one fighting style and use it with every guy. And you can’t take one style and try to make it successful against each opponent your guy fights. As a trainer, you have to study each opponent’s style and work with your guy on what he needs to do to overcome him. As a broadcaster and analyst (On HBO), I pick things up watching the fights. And Larry Merchant has said some interesting things that I’ve picked up on. For example, he told me that tall guys don’t need to use their jab aggressively; they can be more relaxed with it and dominate that way. Things like that are interesting.
“Another important thing is, you must realise that amateur and pro boxing are totally different - they are two different levels of boxing. Boxing is all about levels. There are things a pro can do that an amateur can’t do.
“And finally hard work. If a guy isn’t prepared to put in the hard work, if he isn’t dedicated, then he’s wasting your time as well as his own time.”
A fighter, a fan, or even a fellow trainer, can learn a whole lot by listening to what “Manny” Steward has to say!
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