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Andrew Bynum has turned to boxing to improve his footwork and overall fitness level during the NBA lockout. Boxing trainer Freddie Roach says that like in boxing, a basketball player has to attack their opponent’s lead foot. Photo by Jeff Lewis By Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
The NBA is not very far into the lockout and players are already finding unusual ways to pass the time. Lakers center Andrew Bynum may have found the best use of his time by taking up the sport of boxing. It does not appear that the Lakers big man is looking for a career change, but just a new workout program that could help him on the court. Step into Wild Card Boxing gym, run by Freddie Roach, who is the hottest trainer in the sport right now, and you’ll see a number of up and coming boxers, and some getting ready for pay-per-view fights. And then you’ll see seven foot tall Bynum in the ring, and he appears to be right at home according to Roach.“I’ve had him do a lot of advance work already,” Roach said. “A lot of footwork. His footwork is unbelievable actually. He knows exactly how to use his feet. I’m very impressed.”Roach believes that there is a lot of cross over between boxing footwork and the footwork that a basketball center uses. “The thing is that when you’re fighting a right handed fighter, you’re attacking the front foot,” Roach said. “When you’re fighting a southpaw, you’re still attacking the front foot. It’s the same in basketball. You’re always attacking the lead foot because that’s the foot that they’re going to go off on.”
Roach has a program set up for Bynum, and he seemed surprised that Bynum has been able to get way ahead of schedule. “He’s such a professional, he knows if you’re a left hander or right hander, because that’s part of his job,” Roach said. “So it works in boxing and it will work well on the court also.”It is good to know that Bynum is keeping himself in shape through the offseason. Last year he took a lot of flack for waiting an extended period of time to get knee surgery after the season ended, which caused him to miss the early portion of the season. Bynum’s dedication has been questioned, but doing two a day workouts with Roach should quite down some of Bynum’s critics. Roach has Bynum doing roadwork in the morning, and then work in the ring in the afternoons. This training regiment gives the appearance of a Kobe Bryant type of dedication. Bryant has been known to seek help from all kind of sources in the quest to be the best athlete that he can possibly be. If Bynum continues down this path, by the time the lockout is over, he should be in the greatest shape that he’s ever been in.
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