The year was 1987 and Nintendo boxing fans all across the country experienced the wonder that was Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (later changed to just Punch Out). Fans were exposed to one of the most explosive fighters to ever set foot on a canvas…L’il Mac.
He was the little guy with the green gloves jumping up and knocking full-grown heavyweights on their backs; the ultimate underdog story.
Though Mac retired from the ring years ago*, there are so many lessons we can learn from him and his successful boxing career. Here is the Lil Mac Guide to Boxing!
Mac recently came out of retirement to take his fighting to new heights in the Super Smash Brothers Arena. GO MAC, GO!
NEVER BE INTIMIDATED…
And you thought Rocky had it bad when he faced Ivan Drago back in the 80’s. L’il Mac had to fight guys who were 4-5 times his size and easily 4-5 times his weight (I guess the Nintendo Boxing Commission has some rather strange rules in place). But the thing that made L’il Mac the mighty champion that he became was that he NEVER backed down from anyone. If he got knocked down, by even the most powerful of punchers, he picked himself up off of the canvas and fought his heart out!
LEARN THE ART OF DODGING…
Dodging is a skill that’s easier talked about than applied. It takes a keen sense of timing and awareness to be able to slip a mighty punch from another professional boxer who may be just as fast as you, just as strong as you…maybe even faster, maybe even stronger.
I have three words for you Super Macho Man! In one of L’il Mac’s most classic matches against a rather aggressive champion, we see just how important the art of dodging truly is in boxing. You either get out of the way, or get walloped!
Super Macho Man, L’il Mac and Mike Tyson were like the Hearns, Leonard, and Duran of their boxing era. All were incredibly tough, and the L’il Mac vs. Super Macho Man fight was a Nintendo boxing classic!
The gyroscope punch was thought to be unbeatable. It was what scored Super Macho Man a reigning champ for so long. He just ran through some of the top people in heavyweight division (nearly killing Don Flamenco). But when he and L’il Mac met, Mac showed the world what true skill really was, using only the basic one two and some masterful dodging skills.
LEARN THE ART OF THE UNORTHODOX PUNCH…
Unorthodox styles and unorthodox movements can be one of the best ways to defeat an opponent. What made Manny Pacquiao so effective in his heyday? Punches from unorthdox angles. While many thought this unorthodox punching style was unique to Manny, little do people know that L’il Mac was invited to many of Manny’s early training camps to help him apply this concept (Manny became great at it, but Mac was has always been the master).
The Star Uppercut is hands down one of the most underused punches in boxing. Generally used against larger opponents, you bend your knees, jump as high as you can while turning your head away from your opponent*. You sling your punching arm like there is no tomorrow. If you connect, it’s guaranteed lights out for whoever you hit with it.
*While turning your head away from an opponent does seem counter intuitive, doing so helps with the uppercut rotation, giving you extreme knockout power.
HAVE A GOOD COACH…
Cus D’Amato, Angelo Dundee, Eddie Futch, Emmanuel Steward, Freddie Roach, and world famous Doc Louis. What do all of these guys have in common? They’re the coaches behind some of the biggest (or smallest in this case) champions in the world. These guys trained everyone from Iron Mike Tyson to Muhammad “Float Like a Butterfly Sting Like a Bee” Ali, from Ken Norton to Smoking Joe Frazier, from Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao to The Kid With the Green Gloves (L’il Mac)
The coaches are the unsung heroes behind the belts and championships. These are the ones that push you to fight when you’re down on the scorecards, or when E. Honda has swollen both of your eyes shut.
Your coach is your mentor, and will take your basic skills to an entirely new heights, if you mesh well.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING…
Speed and Power are huge, but a fighter with impeccable timing can overcome even the faster and stronger fighters. When L’il Mac faced Bald Bull back in the Summer of ’89, though he had speed but he was grossly outmatched in terms of power and size. His timing allowed him to not only beat Bald Bull, but he KO’ed him like he stole his pink jumpsuit…
TRAIN YOUR BUTT OFF!
In a world full of talented fighters, where some may be bigger, stronger, or more naturally gifted, how do you win? You outwork ’em! No world champion, even the naturals, just walked off the street to become champion. Consistent hard work, day in and day out, pays off.
SOLID BASICS GO A VERY LONG WAY…
Some of the best boxers in history didn’t have to be flashy to win.
Left jab, right jab, left body hook, right body hook, and a star uppercut. These are the only five punches you need to become a boxing phenom. Only five punches? That’s right! It’s not how many different punches you know, it’s how you use the ones you have in your arsenal.
“The punch is mightier than the sword.”
-Doc Louis, World Class Nintendo Boxing Trainer
BEING AGGRESSIVE PAYS OFF…SOMETIMES…
When you think of aggressive fighters, who comes to mind? Iron Mike? Tommy Hearns? George Foreman? L’il Mac!
The reason why Mike Tyson’s punch out was so incredible was because these were two fighters in their primes going for the heavyweight Nintendo Championship of the world and all that came with it: the money, the fame, the endorsement deals, the women, the drugs, and everything in between.
Iron Mike had a solid, grounded style that relied on slipping bigger opponent’s punches with incredibly quick head movement. This would create holes which allowed Kid Dynamite to unleash his raw, precise, punching power.
L’il Mac on the other hand used a spring-style that used either dodging to create holes or raw speed to beat opponents to the punch. Because he was fast and small-statured, Mac would spring from the canvas to add power to the blazing speed he possessed. Being that he was such a driven champion, Mac would often have punch rates that were ten times his opponent’s stats. He never lost when it came down to score cards.
Overly aggressive isn’t always good though. Mac was knocked down twice in his classic bought with Mike Tyson.
A. B. L. F. P. (ALWAYS BE LOOKING FOR PATTERNS)…
Every fighter has a “tell” if you study them hard enough. Even the best fighters on the planet will repeat some of the same patterns. If you can master the pattern you can disrupt it! Disrupting your opponents pattern pays dividends in the ring: punches that stun, punches that catch your opponent of guard, stars (for uppercuts), and knockout opportunities.
DEFEND YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES…
This can also mean be ready for any and everything!
It was rumored that when Muhammad Ali fought Sonny Liston that Sonny may have wiped a chemical into Ali’s eyes to increase his chances of winning (Liston still get his arse kicked!). While blatant cheating is never the way to go in the ring, when it comes to the Nintendo Boxing Commission we have to ask the question “What is cheating really?” Many of the bouts allow for much more leeway than say the WBC (World Boxing Commission).
Whether your opponent cheats or not doesn’t matter…
What does matter is being ready for anything. Mac’s many fights are clear demonstrations of this very principle. Whether it’s someone being 300 lbs over the agreed upon fighting weight, a brawler, a puncher, or someone who uses magic tricks in the ring, you have to find a way to adjust and then defeat them. Speaking of adapting, who was better at adapting in their prime Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Or L’il Mac? Hmm…
There you have it, gang. Train hard and be champion. But before you do, a quick Punch Out Question: