51 Questions Segment -- Top 10 Fighters
WHO IN YOUR OPINION IS THE BEST FIGHTER YOU HAVE EVER TAUGHT?
This is a very hard question to answer. Being diplomatic, on every
fighter I have trained I can tell you each and every athlete's strong
points and weak points. Some were very smart technical fighters, some
were physically strong fighters, some had great offense, some very
tight defense, some just had great fight in them, etc. I could tell
them how to win their bouts but also I could tell you how to beat
them. Of course my job as a coach was to try and make the holes in
their game disappear or tell them how to capitalize on their strong
points to make it very hard for opponents to exploit their
weaknesses. Even watching my athletes years later (whether with me or
having moved on), I can still make out where they are strong and
where they are weak. I have trained a lot of amazing athletes and I
am not interested in snubbing any athlete of mine or getting anyone
in a huff. So I will mention the top 10 males I trained (and a
separate list of top 5 females) that I sparred with and/or did pads
with who gave me personally the most grief with their skills. I can
only go by integrity on my thoughts and opinion.
These particular athletes never complained about tough challenging
sparring or difficult pad work when being tested for endurance,
skills, fight readiness and fighting heart.
So by using the following criteria (fight intelligence, elusiveness,
offense, defense, ability to adapt, speed, power, and fighting heart)
I will rate them by top ten athletes that gave me personally the most
grief. There are no favorites here!
1) JESSE MILES
Very smart, very crafty, well rounded (multi dimensional), a fighting
mans fighter. He learned from the age of 3 1/2 years old on by
watching me training and emulating endless skills and drills. He
absorbed everything like a sponge. Explosive at getting in and out,
hard hitting, extremely good fakes, very difficult to hit, he was fun
to spar and do pads with. He could use all his weapons very well with
a very impressive mentally thought out game. Very adaptable to making
changes on the spur of the moment with his game. Sometimes very hard
to figure out. I loved it as it was a huge challenge when sparring.
While as he grew into his teens, the competition between youngster
and father started and increased, as did his skills. With Jesse it
was always a chess game with all weapons. It was very fast exchanges
always trying to be a step ahead. Chess fighting all the way. He
finally quit fighting because he got tired (like me) of only getting
last minute fight opportunities with little pay. Very smart man and
athlete. His complete career was under me.
2) JEFF APPLEGATH
Built like the proverbial brick ----house, Jeff was very difficult to
spar with. He was built of iron compounded by the fact he had
ridiculously frustrating broken timing. We would literally beat the
daylights out of each other before our fights. I had to beat him with
speed because he was very strong. The old saying is true, do not bang
with a banger. Ha ha ha. In 1980 he boxed as an amateur and threw a
kick during a boxing match. The result was amateur kickboxer's being
banned from amateur boxing for a few years in Alberta. You had to
know Jeff to understand why this is funny. Against Jeff it was hard
physical sparring, with me relying on speed, evasiveness, fakes, and
endurance. I remember our knockdown drag them out sessions! Sadly,
Jeff passed away years back. He was a good man.
3) SCOTT CLARK
Nicknamed the Pitbull, it is easy to see why when you watch his
fights. Very tenacious, in great shape and well rounded skills (multi
dimensional). Like Jesse could flow from each range to the next very
quickly and effectively. In order to deal with him, I had to set up
road blocks to break his battle plan. Had to make him walk into a
wall so to speak. Once while preparing him for a bout while doing
pads I accidentally caught him with an elbow that cut him open. He
could not take the fight (against an athlete from Japan). I felt
terrible as I had no intention of catching him (that's a no brainer).
Scott had very workmanlike rounds to keep you on your toes. During
preparations for one of his last fights I threw a right cross at him
and tore my shoulder to pieces. I needed massive surgery to put
myself back together. Payback for the elbow unfortunately (joking).
Strange way for me to remember his sparring and pad skills. Scott
like those rated above him came to fight and was always 150% ready to
go! Good man and excellent athlete. His complete fighting career was
under me. Awesome and proud of him.
4) HAKEEM DAWODU
I am much older now and he is so young ha ha ha! I am only speaking
in terms of MuayThai/Kickboxing not about his MMA skills, and he
would be top 5 with me for sure! Remember 4 is just a number! Guy
trains extremely hard, is well rounded, and listens very well. Now in
the UFC I predict he will make his millions. Definitely got into UFC
because of his striking ability, and though I know he is capable on
the ground, striking has been his selling point. Definitely the
MuayThai training under me has had a huge impact on his reputation.
His complete MuayThai and Kickboxing career was under me. I helped
corner him for half of his MMA career as well. Of note, Calgary's
only two athletes to fight in the UFC (Hakeem Dawodu and Nick Ring)
both spent many years under me learning to stand up fight and how to
prepare for the pressure in the ring and for the big time (UFC). Of
note, he just keeps getting better and better. Love the guy and want
to make sure he is watched by only those with HIS interest in mind.
Too many want to take advantage of him.
5) BILLY BEVANS
He had good hands and kicks. Very fun to spar with. He worked very
hard. He absorbed techniques and theories quickly. We spent a lot of
time sparring during my mid career. He was durable. He just wanted to
train and learn. Even when he had a broken hand in a cast he wanted
to spar. Of course we did so I only used one hand ha ha ha! That is
dedication on his part. I am sometimes dumbfounded that he was a
fighter because in all truth..., he is a great guy with a big heart.
A very nice man. He spent his complete fight career with me. Can not
judge him on 'niceness' as he was good and focused in the ring. He
could have become a world champion had he stuck with it a little
longer. Still he had a lasting impact with me. His complete career
was under me.
6) DAVE REYE
Most of our time was spent boxing and sparring early in my career. He
pushed me to the limit and I learned so much about footwork and
placement with him. We spent so much time together. A true gentleman
and man I admired. I miss seeing him and wonder how he is doing.
Good man. Have tons of sparring video with him.
7) CHAD SAWYER
Chad was a very good boxer for MuayThai and kickboxing. His strength
for fighting was in his hands for sure. He used his legs to set up
his punches. Compound that by the fact that he was a southpaw. With
his hands he tried to emulate Roy Jones Jr. so he definitely was not
a plodder when sparring. Good strong rounds sparring as he was smart
in setting up and using his hands. Challenging skills for sure but I
found him easier to figure out than those rated above him (still was
a daunting task). In preparing for one of my last fights, he would
give me rounds sparring in preparation (as did several others). My
biggest challenge was he was still in his twenties and I was on the
way to forty so I did not have the endurance and quick recovery time
he did. Sparring was competitive and hard enough that in fact, that I
broke his nose during these specific preparations. Our sparring
petered out after that (no slight meant). He spent his complete
competitive MuayThai career under me then a few years later he
changed to boxing to pursue the bigger dollars. On a side note, as a
professional boxer he had 8 professional fights compiling a 5 wins, 2
losses and 1 draw record. Of note, he fought and unfortunately lost
to American Chad Dawson who himself four years later, would win
multiple world boxing titles. Was proud of him.
8) ROY LILLEY
Roy was multi dimensional as well (like Jesse and Scott). I was
always impressed by his calm demeanor and how tough he was. Great
poker face as he showed nothing when taking a hard shot. Listened to
instruction and learned very well. He spent his complete fighting
career with me. He is a little lower in these rankings because he
passed away while still on the ascent in his career. I think he could
have achieved some pretty great things had tragedy not occurred. Even
when injured, the man did not refuse a fight. I've had a few fighters
like him that even if he was physically beat up and could barely
move, he still wanted to fight. He fought for a Professional World
Muay Thai Council title with damaged ankles and should have won the
bout. He worked hard to achieve what he did. Was a very good man.
Miss him a lot. His complete career was under me.
9) PETER TSE
Very athletic, in great shape, well rounded, physically fast and
strong for his size. Also a thinking man's fighter. He always pushed
me for more speed and more brains when we sparred. Eventually he went
to boxing and did quite well there. He had a lot of influence on me
becoming better on my craft. Can not understate how good his
abilities were. Great guy! Miss him.
10) NICK RING
Very tough. That was his strong point. He eventually went on to the
UFC for awhile. So I am judging him on his MuayThai not MMA career or
his post MuayThai boxing fights that he had. His complete MuayThai
career was under me. He did well in MuayThai as he was a southpaw who
walked his opponents down. He did this as he really pushed forward
mostly for the clinch. Thus for me was easier to figure out. He
changed his stand up style once he went to MMA (as dynamics are
different). What I remember the most is my last sparring session with
him I had just literally got off of crutches the day before (from
being run over and crushed by a semi-truck and having part of my body
replaced) and I decided to spar without even training first (duh, ha
ha ha). So I could barely walk from being on crutches for months
(very dumb), and I decided I would spar. Of course with the recovery
time off, my timing was really off too, so I was stuck on the starter
block, I could see what to do but my body did not do it. Needless to
say Nick did extremely well and I did not (bwah ha ha). In that same
session I was sparring a few other guys and while body punching I
took an elbow to my bicep (from another athlete) and it pulled my
bicep off. It was time for surgery again. That was a tough year... oh
boy! Nick still participates in MMA sparring I understand. Good guy.
Miss him too.
Though I rated the males I will only block these ladies into a group of five.
She was awesome and well ahead of her time in Canada. She moved
better than a majority of men. Extremely well rounded, she could
kick. punch, elbow, and knee moving through all ranges with ease. She
is the ONLY female athlete under me in Calgary and area who ever won
a Professional World Title. In fact she won two!!! Her complete
fighting career was under me. She trained hard and took in changes
and modifications to her style with ease and enthusiasm. She still
stops by and says hi. Even today I see few who come close to her
natural and developed skills.
She is also very focused on her training and doing big things in the
sport. Multiple world titles, she is preparing for 2018 IFMA World
Championships and competing in the S-Cup in Japan in July. Listens to
coaching, quick with a smile, great work ethic, and a good role model
she still has many big things ahead of her. Her last coach Elroy
Meyers did great things with her.
One of the most decorated female athletes in Canadian MuayThai and
Kickboxing. Her complete MuayThai career was under me (early in her
kickboxing career she worked with the very respected Gil
Lafantaisie). She worked very hard and understood and listened on how
to overcome her weaknesses. She is the only Canadian girl to win Gold
at IFMA World Championships as well as Best Female Athlete of the
tournament. She teaches now and I miss her. We have a rivalry (ha ha
ha... sucked you all in ha ha ha).
Southpaw who has fought some of the best in the world beating them or
giving them a run for their money. Tough athlete who was skilled as
well. She was a tough southpaw who worked all ranges very well as
well. Fought some very respected athletes like Joanna Jedrzejczyk to
very close decisions. Her complete career was under me as well. She
stops by and trains once in awhile. Miss her in the gym too.
Again another athlete who moved very quickly and smoothly. She made
world ratings in the 1980's and if she would have continued I believe
she would have won a world title. She was very good with great boxing
and kicks. She has dropped a few notes to me in recent years. Very