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Fathers and sons in boxing – For and against

boxing Joe Frazier
The recent success of Teofimo Lopez must come with a warning, writes Jack Hirsch

WHEN Teofimo Lopez defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko last month a new star was born. Not just the fighter himself after a virtuoso showing, but the man who has trained him from childhood, his father Teofimo Lopez Snr.

For the last couple of years the antics of the elder Lopez, while calling out Lomachenko, had garnered substantial media attention and not much of it was favourable. At times, it was considered distasteful and disrespectful. Behind the scenes, we were privy to what can only be described as an intense relationship between Teofimo and his father.

However, it is hard to quarrel with the end result. Lopez [below] was well prepared against Lomachenko, he showed maturity beyond his 23 years in the ring and for that his dad should be given credit. Joey Gamache was brought into camp as an assistant trainer, but it is Lopez Snr who built the foundation for his son’s success.

The Lopez-Lomachenko contest made a mockery of claims that father and son teams don’t work. Furthermore, Lomachenko’s father, Anatoly, has trained him since childhood, achieving an incredible level of success.

Teofimo Lopez boxing
Mikey Williams/Top Rank

There have been other very successful father and son teams. Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Snr had a bumpy ride but ultimately resolved their differences on the way to a historical journey. Joe Calzaghe, like Mayweather, never lost a professional contest under the guidance of his father, Enzo. Also enjoying success in more recent times are Danny and Angel Garcia, Shawn and Kenny Porter and Demetrius Andrade is trained by his dad, Paul.

But there remains objections to such closely knit pairings. As recently as 2017, the WBC put forward a motion to ban father’s from being the lead voice in their offspring’s corner. The concern at the time was that they would push their son too hard. Another drawback is that out of the ring problems lead to an ugly carryover.

Former middleweight contender Michael Olajide Jnr and his father failed to often see eye to eye, resulting in them parting ways. Olajide had his own ideas about how he wanted to train and eat, but senior was insistent they do it his way. Floyd Patterson and his adopted son, Tracy Harris Patterson, were close. It was a heart-warming story when Floyd led Tracy to a world title in his trainer/manager role, but ultimately there was a falling out that ended their professional relationship and fractured their personal one as well.

There’s more. Joe Frazier trained and managed his son Marvis but at times seemed frustrated that his son could not replicate his own brilliance.

To a degree, the fathers appear to be living their dream through the son. Acting bold and cocky might be their way of trying to instill some confidence, but should realise how they conduct themselves is a reflection on how they are both perceived. Which is why Lopez Snr would be well advised to tone things down a bit. By denigrating the opposition rather than praising it, he is making his son look arrogant. There is no way team Lopez can benefit by that.

Angel Garcia, an extreme example, has been known to have horrible tantrums which should have resulted in a hefty suspension and fine by now. Ultimately, his antics outside of the ring overshadow the fine work he does as a trainer inside of it.

Then there is Floyd Mayweather Sr. a fine boxer in his day, but not quite as good as he would lead you to believe. Rather than let the results of what his fighters have done do the talking, Mayweather Sr is always reminding us that he is the best trainer in the sport.
One the one hand, the father brings out the best in the son and vice versa. But the bond will always be tested by the pressure of a son trying to keep his father happy.

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