Jackie Kallen:

8 Career Tips for Up-and-Coming Fighters

by: Abby Murphy


Going from knowing nothing about the sport, Jackie Kallen has become a great manager for elite boxers for over 30 years. She fell in love with the sport back in the 70s when she did an article on Thomas Hearns.  Now she manages three professional boxers.

Kallen has learned much about the sport and what it takes to make it a career. Being a manger, she has seen a lot and shares with us eight career tips for all up-and-coming fighters to take into consideration.


1. Training dedication is everything

If you want something bad enough, you have to put the time and effort into it. Kallen sees the most success in fighters who make the sacrifices and live for the sport. No one will be successful if they do not stay out of trouble and put in the work.
“You have to stay away from the street life, focus on your career and you are bound to have success. I have seen so many talented fighters lose it all because they gave into the street life.
You have to make sacrifices; you can’t take days off just because. To make it a career you have to be dedicated and make it your life.”
2. Get a good Trainer

There are many decent trainers out there, but fighters need one specific to them. Kallen wants her fighters to learn as much as possible from their trainer so it key to find the best trainers out there for each fighter.
“If you do not have an excellent trainer in tune with you, you will only get the basics. Everyone has different strengths; you need someone who works with your skill set. Make sure to get a really good trainer, a former fighter if possible, and always listen to them.”
3. Partake in good Sparring

Athletes who practice with others who are no better than they are will never get better themselves.Kallen makes sure her fighters get a challenge in practice.
“You need to be sparring with someone who can teach you something. If you are going to be the top you need to find people who will give you a good sparring session. I watch my fighters and talk with their trainers to be sure of this. I want my fighters to be the best.”
4. Do not listen to anyone else

It is important to tune out irrelevant opinions. Kallen never listened to other people while advancing in her career. If she did, she would not have been as successful. She relays this same advice to her fighters and anyone else going after their goals.
“People will say you are not good enough and what you are doing is wrong. If you want to be successful, you cannot listen to other people. You know if you are good or not, follow your heart and do what is good for you, opinions mean nothing. People are jealous and will try to knock you down, don’t let others take you off your game plan. People like your trainer and manger will be honest and talk with you, ignore the other people in the gym whose opinions don’t matter.”
5. Use the best equipment you can get

Quality of equipment can change the fight. It is important to have gear that is in good condition. Kallen tells this to her fighters so that no one gets hurt from equipment.
“You want to protect everything while training. Gloves can get torn and have cuts, they can hurt yourself or others. Learn to invest in good equipment and get the best you can afford.”
6. Watch tapes of successful champions

The professionals are professionals for a reason. Kallen has fighters look to them to gain knowledge. They have made careers of the sport, learning from them can only be beneficial.
“Study what the champions do. Each one has something you can learn from. Look at the greats and study from them. Go to YouTube and watch the fighters you admire.”
7. Good Sportsmanship

Kallen advises against trash talking. It makes fighters look bad and does nothing good for them. Being humble makes them look much better. Everyone is out there trying to do the same thing, respect for your opponents is important.
“Respect the other people in the sport who put on the gloves as well. Don’t trash talk, it doesn’t help you. Even if you are the best have some humility, learn to help other fighters, and show respect to your opponent.
8. Never Take a fight at the last minute

No one ever wants to be ill-prepared. Doing things at the last minute means no preparation mentally or physically. Kallen recommends against this.

“If you are not properly trained, you will not do well. The other fighter has been training for this fight. Taking anything less than a week notice is risky.”


To use these tips in action compete in State Games of America August 3-6, 2017 in Grand Rapids, MI.
Check out Boxing for more information.

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