This picture was taken in May of 1963 while Liston was in training to face Floyd Patterson for the second time. Liston knocked out Patterson in the first round just like he did the first time they fought. With this victory Liston retained the WBA, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles and won the vacant inaugural WBC heavyweight title.
It was said that this early training at the forge helped build Fitzsimmons’ punching power and considerably develop his upper body which certainly contributed to his later profession in the fistic arena. Fitzsimmons was well-known for his wiry but strong physique and for delivering short, accurate, and very hard punches on his way to winning world championships in three different weight classes.
Here’s a great example, The Boxer of Quirinal, a Hellenistic Greek sculpture from the first century BC. This famous work of art shows an ancient warrior seated, likely resting after a match. This fellow certainly earned his bread, with scars and bruises inlaid with copper adding to the detail. Also of note is the Cestus, which are the leather wraps covering the knuckles of each hand. These were more for increasing knockout power than protection.
As far as preparation for the ring, Johnson’s condition bears the unmistakable mark of physical training and the old photos from the training camps in his era certainly back it up.He threw the medicine ball performed calisthenics, jumped rope, chopped wood and generally engaged in exactly the kind of physical training he would have needed to in order to compete for (and Win!) the Heavyweight championship of the world.
The tale of the tape from the Johnson/Jeffries fight indicates that Johnson had a 7-7/8 inch wrist, 15-1/4 inch flexed forearm and 17-inch flexed upper arm all at a 210-pound bodyweight. You may not realize this but Jack Johnson also was a performing strongman after his boxing days were over and one of his favorite feats was the human chain.
“…Of all boxers it seems to have been Rocky Marciano who trained with the most monastic devotion; his training methods have become legendary. Marciano was willing to seclude himself from the world, including his wife and family, for as long as three months before a fight.
Apart from the grueling physical ordeal of this period and the obsessive preoccupation with diet and weight and muscle tone, Marciano concentrated on one thing; the upcoming fight.
Every minute of his life was defined in terms of the opening second of the fight. In his training camp the opponent’s name was never mentioned in Marciano’s hearing, nor was boxing as a subject discussed. In the final month, Marciano would not write a letter since a letter related to the outside world. During the last ten days before a fight he would see no mail, take no telephone calls, meet no new acquaintances.
During the week before the fight he would not shake hands. Or go for a ride in a car, however brief. No new foods! No dreaming of the morning after the fight! For all that was not the fight had to be excluded from consciousness.
When Marciano worked out with a punching bag he saw his opponent before him, when he jogged he saw his opponent close beside him, no doubt when he slept he ‘saw’ his opponent constantly—as the cloistered monk or nun chooses by an act of fanatical will to ‘see’ only God. “Madness? — or merely discipline? — this absolute subordination of the self. In any case, for Marciano, it worked.”
Joyce Carol Oates
The newspapers of the day followed Heenan’s training regimen with great interest and among his preparations for the fight, Heenan swung Indian clubs to condition his shoulders (a gift from Sim Kehoe himself!) Despite giving up forty pounds and five inches in height, Heenan was in fine fettle come fight time. Above is a rare engraving showing Heenan’s clubs and exercise shoes. As for the fight, the action lasted forty-two rounds spread out over two hours. you can read more about the outcome HERE.
Greenwood Lake is a nine-mile finger of water that extends right into New Jersey and offers spartan living and a way to get away from civilization. There were plenty of roads, footpaths and other natural amenities that boxers could take advantage of for their preparation efforts (as you can see above.)
… and, in addition, thanks to the wonder of modern technology, we can show you the Marciano v. Matthews fight as well: