Woodchopper’s Ball

By Robert Ecksel on March 19, 2015
Woodchopper’s Ball
The formerly mild-mannered Filipino fighter is foregoing the beatific with mixed results.

Pacquiao, like his promoter Bob Arum, felt compelled to comment on Floyd Mayweather resorting to chopping wood…

The “everybody loves Manny” meme has legs. He was loved when he was carousing. He was loved when he was praying. But the one-time “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” prizefighter is speaking his mind these days.

It could be the pressure of facing Floyd Mayweather on May 2. It could be that he has taken a page from the book of Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trash talking trainer. But whatever the cause, the formerly mild-mannered Filipino is foregoing the beatific with mixed results. 

Mayweather recently posted a video of himself chopping wood. What many assume was a gag photo, even though Mayweather isn’t known for his sense of humor, is a tried and true old-school method of getting in shape prior to a fight. Jack Johnson did it, as did Jack Dempsey, Freddie Welsh, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Oscar De La Hoya, and Juan Manuel Marquez.

If it was good enough for them, it’s good enough for Floyd Mayweather.

But this being boxing, not everyone agrees. Manny’s promoter Bob Arum, for example, told esnewsreporting.com, “Knocking someone out doesn’t have to do with strength. It has to do with timing and positioning. I really believe Manny is concentrating on that, and therefore will knock him out.”

The last time Pacquiao knocked anyone out was in 2009, when he stopped Ricky Hatton in two rounds.

But Mayweather is no Hatton.

The Mayweather chopping wood video has inspired the inevitable comparisons to “Rocky,” which are as unwieldy, useless, and out of fashion as an 8-track tape.

Manny, like his promoter, felt compelled to comment on Mayweather resorting to chopping wood.

“Maybe he’ll cook rice,” Manny told abs-cbnnews.com. “Maybe he’s going to cook, that’s why he’s chopping wood.”

Some have described Manny’s comments as witty.

If that passes for wit, Oscar Wilde is alive and well and living under an assumed name in Scarsdale.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. Louie B 03:22pm, 03/25/2015

    Hey Manny, we have electricity in America!

  2. Koolz 02:53pm, 03/21/2015

    It doesn’t mean I think Mayweather will win.  I see Pac beating the crap out of him, even knocking him down in the fight.

    Yea I am in the Pacman camp!

    Imagine taking a sledge hammer to a tire.  Your taking all your effort all your body weight and swinging to a huge tire that then Rebounds with the Hammer, making you have to control your whole entire body to hit the Tire again. 

    A lot harder then swinging an axe down to a tree.

    Pac can get his LowT if that is what he has up and running from doing cardio work out and high level reps of weights and bio metrics.

  3. Kid Blast 12:00pm, 03/21/2015

    Dr. Jedidiah Smith , any powerlifting tips?

  4. Dr. Jedidiah Smith 10:17pm, 03/20/2015

    I believe some of the comments are misguided, as is Pacquiao’s dismissal of this activity.  In fact, in light of Roach’s recent comments about Pacquiao’s lowT, he should look into adding this activity to his routine as well.  Why?
    Because chopping a tree down has been proven in scientific studies to increase a man’s testosterone level more than any other “sporting event” or training activity.

  5. peter 03:29pm, 03/20/2015

    @ Mohummad—I think you’re on to something there. @ Koolz—Excellent insights.

  6. Koolz 03:00pm, 03/20/2015

    arrg you guys!
    Chopping wood works your arms, your chest, and your abs, it balances your mid section and also works your shoulders.  It creates a focal point in your mind for hitting harder by bring all your focus into that one point of where you are hitting with the ax.

    It’s an old mind trick.

    Same exercise would be Wood Chop for all muscle groups but not having any focal point for trying to punch harder.

  7. Mohummad Humza Elahi 01:21am, 03/20/2015

    It’s merits may be undoubted, by the cynical side of me thinks this is just as much about image management.  Since Pacquiao is doing things that one would consider uncharacteristic, so is Floyd.  Chopping wood has connotations of home and country, an “All-Americanism” reminiscent of the great outdoors and old-fashioned grit.  And since there going to be 24/7 or All Access, this may be part of the only glimpses we’ll ever see of their camps.

  8. kID bLAST 07:09pm, 03/19/2015


  9. Eric 06:34pm, 03/19/2015

    Irish…I hear ya. I was in the service with a guy that smoked a couple of packs cigarettes a day and wasn’t bashful about drinking a beer or 12. The guy had a six-pack, despite eating junk and rarely ever exercising. Short guy, built more like a gymnast than a hardcore iron pumper. Never seen him touch a weight, although he would run like a deer despite the cigarrette habit. Of course he was only in his 20’s at the time. So that definitely helps.

  10. Koolz 04:16pm, 03/19/2015

    Chopping wood screw that look for Fedor’s training videos where he takes a sledge hammer to tires!  Now that’s Training!

  11. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:12pm, 03/19/2015

    Eric-Maybe so….but some of these fighters were quick twitch/testosterone freaks and could literally build their abs just by straining at the toilet bowl…..sometimes it’s as much in the genes as in the hard work…..at least it was that way before the advent of steroids, HGH and whatever else is out there now.

  12. Eric 09:20am, 03/19/2015

    Kid Blast… The Shavers vs. Howard Smith fight can still be seen on Youtube. Tom Brookshier comments on Shavers muscular physique and Jerry Quarry acknowledges, Shavers has been lifting weights. Quarry goes on to say that most fighters didn’t lift because it might “tighten-up” their muscles (guessing he was referring to limited flexibility) and it could cause “stamina issues.” No question that larger muscles require more oxygen, and Earnie had a massive upper torso, but he loaded up on a lot of his punches too, so that might have been his problem as well. I’m guessing Big George’s huge arms and his anxiety had a lot to do with his poor stamina in his first career. I believe Randolph Turpin lifted weights and I “suspect” people like Norton, Weaver and maybe even Sonny Liston might have touched a barbell occasionally, even though they claim their physiques were 100% “natural.”

  13. Kid Blast 08:59am, 03/19/2015

    Shavers was one of the first to use weights but forgot about working his legs. His upper body was monstrous but he had chicken legs. Thus , his stamina issues.

  14. Eric 07:15am, 03/19/2015

    IMO, it makes more sense to train by chopping wood than hitting a heavy bag with a baseball bat. I’ve seen clips of Manny hitting a heavy bag with a baseball bat as part of his conditioning “exercises.” That exercise certainly didn’t help him in the batting cage and I really question how much it might help in the boxing ring. I’ve read that Marciano and Mancini hit a tire with a baseball bat as part of their routine, who knows, maybe it might work. The chopping wood thingy is no different than when you see athletes hitting a tire with a sledgehammer.

  15. Clarence George 06:30am, 03/19/2015

    By the way, Robert, I agree that there’s nothing wrong with Mayweather chopping wood as part of his workout.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  Arum should give it a rest, while Pacquiao’s sneer is as unwarranted as it is uncharacteristic, not to mention unfunny.  It’s also perhaps revealing, akin to a boxer smiling after getting hit.

  16. Clarence George 06:09am, 03/19/2015

    I recently came across a photo of Primo Carnera chopping wood, looking more like the Villisca axe murderer than anyone else (whoever he was).  Also, he appears (shades of Jack Dempsey) to be sporting wingtips.

    Interesting that Mayweather isn’t wearing protective goggles.  I’m not really in favor of such sissifyin’, but a wood chip in the eye will put paid to the “Fight of the Millennium,” or however it’s being hyped.

  17. Eric 05:54am, 03/19/2015

    Love him or hate him, one thing about Floyd is that he is always in shape. You will never see a flabby FMJ entering the ring.

  18. peter 05:40am, 03/19/2015

    Interesting. Floyd is favoring his right hand when chopping wood—he’s chopping like a righthander. He bats lefty. Those two activities usually coincide. ...As for the music! Boxing.com has, once again, hit it out of the ballpark! Glenn Miller would be tickled pink seeing his “Woodchopper’s Ball” on a boxing site.

  19. Eric 05:13am, 03/19/2015

    Floyd said in an interview awhile back that as a kid his father had him running in combat boots and chopping wood, so I think Floyd is very familiar with chopping wood. Chopping wood for fighters back in the day was as common as hitting the bags or skipping rope. Strengthens the hands and wrists, works the arms ,core and back, increases stamina, etc. Some fighters like Earnie Shavers credited it for increasing punching power. Earnie said that chopping wood probably increased his punching power by 25%.

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