Boxing is different from other sports for a whole host of reasons. One of the key factors is it is just much more fan friendly than other sports. Boxers are accessible while baseball, basketball and football players are not.
If you go to your local batting cages or basketball court, the chances of seeing A-Rod or Dwayne Wayde practicing are slim to none. However, go into your local boxing gym and there's a decent chance you'll see some pros.
This has happened to me time and again. Of course, I live in South Florida where many top fighters come to train. I used to work out at the same time as Zab Judah, when he was in his prime. If you like a boxing workout, I can't even begin to tell you how much fun it is to work out next to a world champion.
Yesterday, instead of lunch, I ran over to Palm Beach Boxing to work out. Bermane Stiverne, a heavyweight prospect who I have written about before was finishing his training for the day. This is a guy who will be a top 10 contender in two years and has a legitimate shot at winning a title. We talked for a while (he said Jameel McCline is the hardest puncher he's ever been in with and that includes both Klitschkos and Sam Peter).
Then as I was skipping rope, Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander walked in. I talked with those guys for a few minutes and let them start training.
I tailored my work out to try and emulate what they were doing. It's like getting free coaching from top pros. As I was working the heavy bag, I told Cory to pay attention, he might learn something.
The best part of encountering these guys in the gym is that it's their office. It's where they're comfortable. They're much more relaxed than when being interviewed. I've met Bermane several times and always got one or two word answers from him. At the gym, he was talkative and we had a normal conversation.
The highlight of yesterday's session was watching Cory shadow box. As soon as the round ended, he'd spend his minute of rest, practicing dance moves. I didn't get the impression this was something done for his ring walk. I think he just likes to get his groove on.
I all of my years covering boxing and watching fighters train, I've never seen anyone do that.
If you haven't already, check out your local boxing gym. You never know what or who you'll see.