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Tolbert doesn't pull any punches

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Blue Bolt, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Tolbert doesn’t pull punches in offseason workout
    By Nick Canepa

    Chargers running back Mike Tolbert hits the gloves at the CYAC gym in National City. — Sean M. Haffey

    Mike Tolbert will tell you quicker than a left jab. The sweet science is not about chefs making dessert. The cream puffs get recognized and quickly are noshed in the ring.

    Boxing is a brutal business. You get hit hard by not-so-sweet people who love hitting other not-so-sweet people as hard and as often as they can. Next to conditioning for the fight game, football workouts are like hoisting mojitos at the Bellagio’s pool.

    But the Chargers’ running back, a late arrival to pugilism thanks to the NFL lockout, is one of those who don’t mind the thought of getting hit — if he has a good chance to hit back. Tolbert has taken to boxing — or at least the sparring and conditioning part of the sport. He loves it, all of it. Can’t get enough.

    Even if quarterback Philip Rivers has called an unofficial workout for Chargers players banned from the team’s facility, Tolbert will be there for that in the morning and then head for the Community Youth Athletic Center in National City for more difficult work with boxing trainer David Soliven.

    “Mike Tolbert can be a fighter, without question,” says Soliven, whose CYAC will benefit from “Barona Battle of the Badges,” featuring 14 bouts between peace officers from SDPD, Marines, Navy, Border Patrol, the Probation Department and the Donovan Correctional facility today starting at 4 p.m. at the Barona Resort and Casino.

    “He’ll tell you this workout kills. Boxing is different from football, baseball and basketball. There’s no playing in boxing.

    “Mike’s work ethic is unbelievable. He spars with heavyweights. I have to tell him to slow down. He’s lighting ’em up.”

    Tolbert may not be tall in stature at 5-9, but he’s a heavyweight. Mike dressed out at 258 pounds before he checked into the CYAC.

    He isn’t preparing for a fight. It isn’t as though he has to make weight, but he approaches his newfound avocation as if he does. If you’ve watched him play football, then you know he isn’t one for shortcuts.

    There is no halfway to Mike Tolbert. He was an undrafted free agent (and likely will be a restricted free agent if the NFL and the players association get together on a new CBA). He didn’t get to where he is playing cards in the locker room.

    “I’m down to 244 now,” says the fourth-year pro and October father-to-be. “I work out here five times a week for around two hours. I try to spar twice a week.”

    He wishes he could do more.

    “I’m naturally born aggressive,” he says. “Before this, I’d done some Jiu-Jitsu and taekwondo, but never strictly boxing. It’s rough; it’s the roughest workout I’ve had in my life. It’s a completely different type of animal. In the NFL, you’re like a tiger, but in boxing you’re a lion.

    “My first day here six months ago I was taking it light and I was exhausted. I felt like I was going to die. But I fell in love with it. If I could do it 24 hours a day, I would. I feel like I could go 7-8 rounds now without breaking a sweat. Conditioning is so difficult; I really think it’s going to translate to what I do on the football field.”

    It doesn’t bother Tolbert if he runs through all of the Rivers workouts and then takes on a totally different sport.

    “When I work out four days a week with the team, I come here after that, so I’m usually going from 8 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon,” he says. “We’re having great turnouts at the workouts, sometimes 30 or 40 players. Since we started in early March, we at least have between 15 and 30 players. But those workouts are nothing like this.

    “And sparring takes your training to a different level. I’m naturally a physical guy and when you get in the ring it’s man against man. It takes motivation and adrenaline to a whole other level. Hit somebody with a three- or four-punch combination and it gets you inside. You can feel the rush.”

    Tolbert has felt more than a rush. He’s been hit hard, probably a lot harder than he’s been hit on a football field.

    “I’ve been caught with a few good punches,” he says. “I took a standing-8. I’ve been 8-counted. One of the SDPD guys. I threw a hook and he slipped in a body shot. I had trouble breathing for two or three minutes.”

    Two others Chargers, safety Paul Oliver and guard Louis Vasquez, also work out at the CYAC, and Tolbert, who says he’ll be ringside “screaming” today at “Badges,” would like to see more players around.

    “(Safety) Steve Gregory wants to come and (guard) Kris Dielman and (center) Nick Hardwick are talking about it. I’d like to get some of the guys together for a three-day audition camp so they can see what it’s all about.

    “It’s great that the team’s so together. Everybody’s been talking about other teams working out, but we’ve been at it since March. I think we’re going to have an advantage.”

    Maybe, for once, a puncher’s chance?

    Video clip here
  2. Bergo23

    Bergo23 BoltTalker

    Sep 28, 2006
    He is gonna be so valuable in the next few years to keep the mileage off of Mathews' tires, and keep our running game productive. Love the guy, but he needs to fumble less and dance more!!!
  3. ThunderHorse17

    ThunderHorse17 Lone Wolf

    Apr 10, 2010
    I can imagine a few of his sparring partners think Oshi when they step in the ring and see hes on the opposite side.

  4. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    how, with guns like that, could he ever fumble
  5. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Simple...... with that much padding around the middle, it's easy to lose track of the ball. ;)

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