Table of Contents
- 1: Joe Gallagher
- 2: Brian McIntyre
- 3: Derrick James
- 4: Shane McGuigan
- 5: Ronnie Shields
- 6: Abel Sanchez
- 7: John David Jackson
- 8: Virgil Hunter
- 9: Robert Garcia
- 10: Freddie Roach
- In Conclusion
Boxing coaches are fairly often the unsung heroes of the sport. Providing guidance, strategy, and emotional support to fighters who put their bodies on the line. While boxers themselves often receive the most attention.
A fighter is properly ranked by what you see him do in the ring. Factoring in who he has done it against. But a trainer’s real work takes place in the weeks, months and years before the fight. And during the frantic one-minute break between rounds.
To properly rank the best boxing coaches, one would need to spend a whole heap of time in a lot of different gyms across the globe. Unable to do that, one falls back on ranking the results of their pupils.
For that reason, there is a strong emphasis on boxing coaches who are currently sending some of the best-prepared fighters in the sport into battle. Resumes over the years have been balanced alongside recent performances.
The result is more of a snapshot of who has done great work more recently. Not an assessment of all-time standing. Some familiar names will go absent from this list. Nacho Beristain is one of the best trainers of this century and could be in the all-time top five.
So based on real-world results, let’s take a run through some of the best-performing master and student partnerships. Our aim is not to place any one individual coach at the top of the heap. But rather give a solid overview of the very best boxing coaches in the business/sport today.
1: Joe Gallagher
The Manchester native Joe Gallagher turned to training fighters after an amateur career and built up his stable slowly and steadily over the years. He now handles some of the best boxing coaches on the British scene.
Some of those names have included bantamweight champion Scott Quigg and Anthony Crolla who was the WBA lightweight world champion. Along with fighter Liam Smith who has unfortunately had the pleasure of being knocked out by pound-for-pound great Saul Alvarez.
Gallagher is known as one of the sports likeable characters. When combined with his deep knowledge of being a boxing trainer since 1993. Helping many boxers’ careers to flourish and achieving multiple world titles along the way. Joe is highly regarded by his peers and boxing pundits alike, making him an obvious choice for our list.
- Joe Gallagher: Gallagher has trained several world champions, including Anthony Crolla, Liam Smith, Callum Smith, and Scott Quigg. Collectively, his fighters have won 19 world titles across various weight classes and boxing organizations.
2: Brian McIntyre
Brian McIntyre is a great example of an old boxing head meeting a rare opportunity and riding it straight to the top. From 1994-2007, McIntyre was a club-level heavyweight pro—and not a particularly good one.
But it is his work with Terence Crawford. One of the great boxing talents of this generation from Omaha, Nebraska. Which has traditionally been the furthest thing from a boxing hotbed. But Crawford and his team have turned it into one.
Crawford has substantial physical gifts, but the most noteworthy thing about him is his boxing intelligence. Perhaps no current fighter makes better mid-fight adjustments.
- Brian McIntrye: McIntrye is best known for training Terence Crawford, who has won world titles in multiple weight classes and boxing organizations. Crawford has won a total of eight world titles under McIntyre’s tutelage.
3: Derrick James
Derrick James is on this list because of the work he has done with a single fighter. That fighter would be welterweight phenom Errol Spence Jr. But building a fighter like Spence from the ground up is an amazing accomplishment.
James began working with Spence in 2008, just as he was finishing his own professional career as a super middleweight journeyman and club fighter. At the time, Spence was winning local amateur tournaments on pure athleticism.
James turned Spence into an elite amateur, culminating in an appearance in the 2012 Olympics. But he is being recognized here for the work he has done transforming Spence into a dominant professional.
- Derrick James: James has trained several world champions, including Errol Spence Jr., Jermell Charlo, and Jermall Charlo. Collectively, his fighters have multiple world titles across various weight classes and boxing organizations.
4: Shane McGuigan
Shane McGuigan is the son of boxing legend Barry McGuigan from Ireland. A featherweight champion and major box-office attraction in the 1980s. To this day remains one of the sport’s most interesting commentators. The younger McGuigan was a decent amateur boxer but hung up his boxing gloves at 21 to focus on a career as a trainer.
McGuigan is primarily on this list due to his work with Carl Frampton. While Frampton had great natural gifts, what has been most notable about his ascent to the top of the sport has been his conditioning and game plan.
Frampton beat the larger, more imposing Leo Santa Cruz with a great tactical fight that relied upon relentless energy. Behind any such performance is a great boxing coach.
McGuigan has also turned into a hired gun of sorts. Being brought on board to help plot the comeback of heavyweight David Haye and lead super middleweight George Groves to an elusive title places him amongst the best boxing coaches in the sport today.
- Shane McGuigan: McGuigan has trained several world champions, including Carl Frampton, David Haye, and George Groves. Collectively, his fighters have a host of world titles to their names across various weight classes and boxing organizations.
5: Ronnie Shields
Ronnie Shields was a good amateur featherweight and fought for a world title as a professional. But his true mark on the sport has been made as a trainer.
Over the years handling a huge number of world champions and superstars. Those have included Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Mike Tyson, Arturo Gatti, Raul Marquez, Juan Diaz and Kermit Cintron. To name a few.
Coaching WBA super welterweight champion Erislandy Lara. Who was regarded as one of the sport’s best boxers. Alongside another one of boxing’s stars IBF super welterweight champion Jermall Charlo.
Charlo’s victory over former champion Austin Trout was one of the year’s best performances. It was a perfectly executed game plan and textbook work for a Shields-trained fighter.
- Ronnie Shields: Shields has trained several world champions, including Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Pernell Whitaker. Collectively, his fighters have a tonne of world titles across various weight classes and boxing organizations.
6: Abel Sanchez
Abel Sanchez has been a successful trainer for decades. But it was his work with triple GGG Gennady Golovkin which made him a big name in the sport. Sanchez took the Olympic silver medalist and turned him into a true boxing terror with his aggressive Mexican style.
Sanchez also trained world champions such as Terrible Terry Norris, Carlos Baldomir, and Lupe Aquino. And has become widely regarded as one of the very best boxing coaches in the business.
Training his fighters out of his own gym based in Big Bear lake in California. Sanchez. With multiple world champions on the roster of boxers who have come through its doors. And while he may no longer be working with his protege GGG. His skills are still in very high demand on the professional boxing circuit.
- Abel Sanchez: Sanchez has trained several world champions, including Gennady Golovkin, Terry Norris, and Lupe Aquino. Collectively, his fighters have various world titles across various weight classes and boxing organizations.
7: John David Jackson
John David Jackson is a former world champion himself. However, it was his training with the world light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev that put him on the map as one of the very best boxing coaches. He turned Kovalev into a pound-for-pound superstar who dominated his opponents.
Establishing Jackson as a force to be reckoned with in the sport. And a man whose talents would go on to be in very high demand. Just a pity he would later fall out with Kovalev with a rather unsavoury exchange of accusations thereafter.
His list of other notable fighters he has trained included his former opponent “The Alien” Bernard Hopkins. Along with former IBF world lightweight champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Jackson continues to be one of the strongest coaches in the sport today.
- John David Jackson: Jackson has trained several world champions, including Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley, and Beibut Shumenov. Collectively, his fighters have plenty of world titles across various weight classes and boxing organizations.
8: Virgil Hunter
Virgil Hunter might not be a household name. But for his work with Andre Ward, who has become a pound-for-pound superstar under Hunter’s tutelage. Hunter is known for his technical acumen and psychological insight. Making him a valuable trainer for struggling stars like Andre Berto and Amir Khan.
An old-school trainer who made his way through the ranks by completing a boxing apprenticeship. Outside of many world champions, Hunter also helped numerous troubled youths turn their lives around via the boxing ring.
A highly respected trainer in the sport, Virgil’s acumen for spotting and nurturing natural talent has led many of his fighters to great heights. Allowing those who he trains to show him what they can do, as opposed to him imposing his style on them.
- Virgil Hunter: Hunter has trained several world champions, including Andre Ward, Amir Khan, and Daniel Jacobs. Collectively, his fighters have won a lot of world titles across various weight classes and boxing organizations.
9: Robert Garcia
Robert Garcia was a world-champion boxer himself. But it’s his training that earned him a spot in the boxing Hall of Fame. Garcia’s Boxing Academy in Oxnard California is one of the most respected institutions of its kind.
With fighters coming from all around the world to train. Garcia’s greatest pupil has been his younger brother, Mikey. Who himself was a two-division world champion. So there is little doubt this family has got something special going on when it comes to boxing.
After officially becoming a trainer in 2004, the boxer-turned-boxing coach has worked with multiple world champions. A three-time Ring Magazine trainer of the year, Garcia has built strong relationships with all the main boxing promotions. And with a stable of loyal and talented fighters. There’s little doubt Garcia will continue to be one of the best boxing coaches in the world for many years to come.
- Robert Garcia: Garcia has trained several world champions, including Mikey Garcia, Brandon Rios, and Nonito Donaire. Collectively, his fighters have won multiple world titles across various weight classes and boxing organizations.
10: Freddie Roach
Freddie Roach may no longer be active like he used to be. However, his time as one of the best boxing coaches in the world is widely known. And is one of the most celebrated of this century in the sport.
Roach turned Manny Pacquiao into a superstar. Rounding out his skills and helping him win world titles in multiple weight classes. Roach’s work with Viktor Postol also shows that he’s still one of the best trainers in the business.
The son of a former featherweight champion Paul Roach, with his mother who was the first female professional boxing judge in Massachusetts. From a young age, it’s obvious the sport was deeply instilled in Freddie’s life.
A decorated amateur boxer himself, he finished his pro career at 40 and 13. As a professional trainer, he learned his craft under legendary trainer Eddie Futch. But Roach has gone on to imprint his own legacy on the sport and will no doubt be remembered as one of the best boxing coaches to have ever graced the sport.
- Freddie Roach: Roach has trained several world champions, including Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and Virgil Hill. Collectively, his fighters have won numerous world titles across various weight classes and boxing organizations.
Boxing coaches are the unsung heroes of the sport. Providing fighters with the right often spiritual guidance, game planning and emotional support they need in the ring. The trainers on this list have all made significant contributions to the sport.
Helping their fighters to become champions and legends in their own right. From Abel Sanchez’s aggressive Mexican style to Virgil Hunter’s psychological insight, each of these trainers has a unique approach that has helped shape the sport of boxing over the years. And without some of the best boxing coaches in the world, where would many of these fighters end up? That’s a story for another day.
Hi, I’m Ross and I am nearer to 50 than to 40! I have been involved in Martial arts and fitness for most of my life. With a professional working background as a licensed insurance agent. I wanted to share my journey with the world. So that others too can learn from my experiences.