JUNE 2005


Poem of the Month
By Tom Smario

Cinderella Man
Book Excerpt by Mike DeLisa

Entertaining Fighters and Prospects
By Adam Pollack

Fatty Langtry: Pudgy
Pugilist of the Past

By Robert Carson

John Klein: 19th-Century
Trainer Extraordinaire

By Pete Ehrmann

Ring Leader
By Ron Lipton

Incentives in Professional
Boxing Contracts

By Rafael Tenorio

Fight Town
Book Excerpt by Tim Dahlberg

The Regulation of Boxing
on Tribal Lands:
Towards a Pan-Indian
Boxing Commission

By James Alexander

Spotlight on Cut Man Lenny DeJesus
By Sam Gregory

Dick Wipperman
by Pete Ehrmann

Jack Johnson: The Dates,
the Events, the Sources

by Stuart Templeton

Touching Gloves with...
"Irish" Art Hafey

by Dan Hanley

SPOTLIGHT ON
CUT MAN
LENNY DEJESUS


by Sam Gregory


Lenny DeJesus has been a cornerman for close to 40 years. As a cut man and a trainer, Lenny has worked the corner with the likes of Angelo Dundee, Eddie Futch, Al Gavin, and Carlos Ortiz, just to name a few of the greats. Among some of the fighters DeJesus has worked with are Roberto Duran, Hector Camacho, Wilfredo Gomez, Wilfredo Benitez and, most recently, Joel Casamayor and Manny Pacquiao.

DeJesus is also one half of the team known as Wrecking Crew Boxing. The other half is Norm Bagi, a former amateur boxer who can be seen working the corner with DeJesus in the capacity of trainer to some of the noncontenders or as the third man in the corner, assisting and advising.

I had the opportunity to get acquainted with both men a few years ago while working on an article. Since then we've kept in touch. They work and train fighters in gyms throughout New York City.

Not long ago I had the chance to talk with DeJesus about his work as a cut man and what goes on in the corner of a professional fighter in general.

Understand that talking with a cut man about how he prepares for a fight isn't much different from talking to a trainer or a fighter about how they prepare for fights. When talking about fight preparation in general, DeJesus told me he just comes expecting anything. Asked if he prepares different for different fighters, DeJesus said: "Not really, I just come well prepared for all types of cuts and injuries. I know what to expect from certain fighters based on their history, but I always prepare for the unexpected."

When I named a few fighters I thought would be more susceptible to cuts because of things like high cheek bones (Arturo Gatti), or guys with lots of scar tissue, he told me, "Without giving away any trade secrets, I will prepare for certain things based on a fighter's history. Other than that, for fighters that are susceptible to multiple cuts, I will of course work on the more serious cuts first and work down to less serious cuts and swelling after that."

Just to change gears, I asked DeJesus about talking to a fighter in the one minute between rounds, and what he feels is important to tell them in that 60 seconds he has to talk to them: "Different fighters are like different people in general and can't all be motivated in the same way. So in spending time with your fighter, you have to understand their psyche. Some people need to get pushed into getting to work; some just need to be told and some need a swift kick in the butt."

So when you're trying to get them motivated do you tell him or her if they're losing rounds? DeJesus said: "Of course, if he's losing, it's part of motivating your fighter. You have to let him know how high the hill is he's going to climb or he might burn out before he reaches the top. If he's winning, then there is no need to tell him, because that part doesn't matter and can get him to relax or mentally take a break. If he's winning I will give him advice for the coming round to keep him ahead and not even mention being ahead or behind."

Then I asked DeJesus, "How do you get your fighter to stick to a game plan, especially if he's losing rounds or somehow the game plan isn't working against a particular fighter?"

DeJesus told me: "Working on a game plan is done in the gym, but actually sticking to the game plan is up to the individual fighter. An experienced fighter knows when a game plan isn't working and knows how to make adjustments during a round. We've usually already worked on a plan B or C in the gym, and that, of course, is based on countering adjustments the other corner is making."

DeJesus continued: "You have to remember, especially in big fights, the fighter you might have trained for is rarely the fighter you see on fight day. His corner is preparing him for your fighter. They're working on your weaknesses and defending against your strengths you in turn are trying to do the same. So adjustments must be made during the fight, or you will surely end up on the canvas."

"Okay," I said, "I can understand all that, but what if your fighter isn't very experienced? How do you keep a fighter from getting too excited, losing control? How do you keep him calm?"

DeJesus said: "I can answer those questions similarly. The first way to calm your fighter is to lead by example; too many times you will see some fighter's corner lose control emotionally and be in disarray."

You mean like John Ruiz's corner when he fought Roy Jones?" I blurted.

"Yeah, Sam, like John Ruiz's corner" DeJesus grinned. "Even if the worst infraction has occurred, we try to keep it together, talk the fighter through it, and try to get past it and move on. You almost can't do anything about it, so you have to move on."

"Second, a trust and friendship has to develop between the fighter and the trainer. As trainers, we want to build world champions. As fighters, they want to be world champions. We're both working toward the same goal; we have to work together or the system is doomed to fail. So trusting in my advice is as important as my trust in the fighter's ability."

DeJesus finished up with telling me, "Understanding what the fighter is capable of is part of my job."

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