By Sean O’Grady
As a broadcaster in boxing here is mine: I do not understand how a boxer enters the ring without a fight plan. A quarterback would not step onto the field waiting for the coach to explain the game plays. A golfer would not tee off without knowing the course. When General H. Norman Schwarzkopf led the battle in the Gulf War he knew everything about the enemy and Saddam Hussein.
So as a 25 year veteran of boxing broadcasts a common question to a boxer fighting on the card would be: “What is your fight plan?” To this day it amazes me when they respond with, “Oh, I’ll just wing it” or “I don’t want to know anything about my opponent.” This is so absurd to me. Can you imagine the consequence of a nation not knowing about their adversary? A soldier can polish his gun, but without a war plan he will not know where to shoot.
A fighter must absolutely know his opponents’ style, strengths, weaknesses, and record.
As a former boxer and world champion, it became evident to me that the more vivid and specific your fight plan, the easier your fight will be. I would go over my fight plan daily. Then I often broke down the rounds minute by minute detailing my plan of attack. Then finally, second by second. I wanted no ambiguity and no surprises. Even in my mind, when I scored a knockdown, I knew how I would react.
When I boxed I was afraid and fear is a great motivator. I wanted to know everything about my opponent. I wanted to know what hand was dominant. I would watch him write. I would watch him walk. I would watch him box. One can gain secrets and a little insight that may help him in a desperate situation. Inside the ring you are desperate!
I could detail specifically my fight plan so whenever I was allowed to box on television I had the answers to broadcaster’s questions. Watch every match on TV. Learn from the experts and the non-experts. Sometime you learn more from the bad fighters. Know the history of the division you are in and every current fighter of that division. Name the top 10.
Additionally, a good boxer must be able to change. If one cannot adapt he or she will soon find them self with many losses. Part of your fight plan must be adaptability. If you have the answers to the questions you won’t seem unpolished. If you have the answer to the punches, the technique, the maneuvers you will win the fights and gain respect.
An ill-prepared fighter is one that not only risks a loss but also injury. Being prepared is much more than working out. Fighters prepare themselves physically but mental preparation is much more important. You do not hear about the quarterbacks without a gameplan because they lose. Those golfers who cannot remember the course and plan, do not play on the tour.
Nothing happens by accident.
Sean O'Grady, with his father Pat O'Grady, was part of the first father/son duo to win a world championship. In 1981, he defeated Hilmer Kenty to win the WBA lightweight title and, when he retired from the ring at 25, he had amassed 81 victories against five defeats (70 KO's).
Long before he retired from the ring, Sean began a career in television. In March 1980, he became analyst for CBS and ESPN. Over the years he has served as a commentator for various pay-per-view bouts, FOX, FOX SPORTS NET and FX. Sean also spent 13 years as USA's Tuesday Night Fights boxing analyst. He was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.