Sparring Partner: The Toughest and Worst Job in Sport
Have you experienced being beaten up with you unable to fight back? Did you get punched in the nose by your friend at party last night? Or, did one of your friends crack your rib and cut your tongue with a right hand? Perhaps he did all these damages and didn’t even bother to pay the medical bills. Well, in the world of a professional boxer’s sparring partner, this is entirely legal.
What if they had to be Manny “PACMAN the Destroyer” Pacquiao’s sparring partner? You might think that anybody would rather mop the floors all day at a peepshow than have their beak knock around backwards everyday. Well, the truth of the matter is, many of those who just mop the peepshows’ floors all day still prefer to trade their jobs to sparring partner. Wondering why? The reason is very simple – they see it as a learning tool.
The sparring partners, as commonly defined, are anonymous fighters hired by the not-so-anonymous fighters to help them prepare for an upcoming match. To put it simply, the sparring partners are the ones who get beat up regularly, with the ability to not fight back too hard, during the course of a training camp.
Now what makes this job an excellent learning tool?
Many of those who prefer working as sparring partners are basically those who got interest in the art of boxing and sparring. They do the job first for experience and with the notion that it will help them develop their defense. It’s worth noting that hundreds of the professional boxers today have tried and experienced the life of sparring partners. To some point in their lives, they have passed through this stage and from it turned pro, earning title shots.
Some of the professional boxers, who once became sparring partners, even owe much of their success to the fighters they sparred with in the early days. Well, I have read an article about a man who got beat up so much for being a sparring partner, but in the end learned and mastered defense and remain big, strong and so young. It is for that reason that he continually takes pride of his job and even wears it like a badge of honor. The man is none other than Willie Chapman, the Las Vegas-based heavyweight who has sparred with former heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman, Wladimir Klitschko, and other professional boxers.
The life of sparring partners, as what I’ve mentioned earlier, is hard. In the first place, the work is highly irregular for the fact that it only depends on the fighting schedule set by the guys who hire them. Aside from that, the sparring partners get paid inconsistently. It was reported that the top sparring partners of today’s fast-paced world could only make a few thousand a week. Plus, there is no medical coverage. And, perhaps what’s worst about being a sparring partner is that there is no one to take care of yourself, other than you. No one is there to give you water in the corner and you are not in charge in anything. You are just told when to get in the ring, when to get out, get up, to run or even when to eat.