By Ray Ender
As much as I respect legendary boxing trainer Emmanuel Steward, I don’t think he is the right trainer for NFL player Tommy Zbikowski. I could be wrong and Steward and Tommy Z make a good tandem, but I think Tommy would mesh better with Manny Pacquiao’s coach Freddie Roach. Freddie focuses on explosive power and angles, he also loves to push his fighters stamina to the limit, and wants them to throw combination punches, Steward is more of a finesse style trainer, jab jab and move, he focuses mainly on the jab and textbook boxing.
Tommy needs to get his conditioning up to par, he was gassed out but what his recent fight against a former MMA champion Caleb “True Grit” Grummet showed was he has heart. Tommy also can take a punch, he was hit with some heavy shots by a hard charging Grummet, who clearly outweighed him and showed no quit, so he definitely has the heart and will of a fighter.
Conditioning and stamina is something Freddie Roach fighters are known for, they are also known for their aggressive in and out style, throw combos and get out tot he side and comeback with a hook or power shot to keep the opponents guessing or to knock them out off guard. Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan are an example of that in and out style, both guys have top condition and throw hundreds of punches a fight.
This fight was a huge step up in opponent, Caleb Grummet isn’t a seasoned boxer and is relatively new to the sport but he came into this fight in shape and with determination to pressure the highly talked about Zbikowski.
Caleb didn’t back down and kept smothering Zbikowski in this fight. Tommy was focusing more on being slick and timing his jab, he was pacing himself because he probably knew his gas tank wasn’t the best and he probably wanted to get more rounds in since his first two fights ended in the first round, but this MMA fighter fought him like an aggressive pitbull and wasn’t going to be some tomato can, he came with the intent to win and with more fury than any of the Klitschko brothers previous opponents.
It would be nice if more boxers had that type of hunger that Caleb Grummet had, imagine if the fight was a 6 rounder instead of 4? Tommy would have probably lost the fight or possibly been stopped by the referee because of too much damage.
Overall this was a good test for Tommy Z because his will was tested and he was pushed to the limit by an aggressive opponent and never wilted. Fatigue was his enemy but he had the composure of an old pro, not bad for a guy who just took his first fight back after a 5 year break from the sport on short notice to fill in for an injured Christy Martin a few weeks ago on the Cotto vs. Mayorga PPV.
In my opinion, I think Tommy Zbikowski has potential and after this tough fight he can either call it quits and say boxing isn’t for me and focus on football, or he can say I am not going to quit and after tonight I will work even harder in the gym to prove the doubters wrong.
If Tommy Zbikowski continues to fight and gets better, he could turn out to be a huge star in boxing, he already gets more publicity than any boxing prospect and he gets more exposure boxing than he did playing football for the Baltimore Ravens. A likable American champion is something boxing is missing in the United States, Tommy Z can definitely fill that void if he continues to succeeds in the sport.
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