Speaking as a trainer, there is no denying that some fighters have been blessed with physical gifts. Punching power is a prime example. While everyone has the ability to improve, certain fighters are natural punchers. For instance, Julian Jackson is one of the most natural punchers I’ve ever seen. He had the type of power that can’t be taught. He was born with it. On a similar note, I’ve seen kids walk into the gym on their first day who smash the mitts and bag with heavy thuds. They’ve never been taught anything, but are naturally heavy handed.
Similar to punching power, the ability to take a punch is also somewhat inherent. Certain fighters are blessed with granite chins. They can take huge punches and never seem to get hurt. One present fighter who is often described as such is middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin had 350 amateur fights and is currently 36-0 as a professional. He’s never once been knocked down throughout his career. As a result, it’s safe to say that Gennady can take a punch.
Gennady Golovkin doesn’t take his chin for granted though. Instead, he is a consummate professional who leaves no stone unturned. As evident below, he trains his neck diligently to ensure that there are no weak links in his armor.
Golovkin’s Neck and Chin Training
The following video is just one of many that can be found online of Gennady training his neck. He’s clearly no stranger to regular (and strenuous) neck work.
Young boxers can learn plenty by following Gennady Golovkin’s example. It’s great to see a fighter take his craft so seriously. Plenty of others in Gennady’s position would bypass neck training under the assumption that they can already take a punch. In fact, many fighters who train the neck only do so in response to getting hurt. When a fighter gets buzzed with a big shot, they often look to neck training afterward to prevent it from happening again.
Meanwhile, Gennady Golovkin has never been seriously hurt, yet continues to train the neck diligently as an unbeaten world champion. In my eyes, that says a lot about him as a fighter. He isn’t one to take anything for granted. He always prepares himself to the best of his ability. He stays in shape throughout the year, never gains a lot weight, and is always willing to fight.
Although certain athletes are blessed with natural gifts, great fighters remain consummate professionals throughout their careers. Gennady Golovkin is a prime example. Bernard Hopkins was certainly another. Such fighters do not rely on natural ability. They don’t settle for what they have or what they were born with. Instead, they work diligently throughout their careers with the goal of continuously improving.
All boxers can benefit by following such an approach. There’s always something in your game that can be improved. Never take anything for granted.