Football players by day, pugilists by night? It appears that a boxer uprising has swept over the 49ers this spring as offensive and defensive linemen work on their punching and blocking after practice while others step into the ring after practice.
On Wednesday, running backs coach Tom Rathman noted that Frank Gore has been boxing at night (It's obviously helped Gore drop weight in the last few weeks.) Meanwhile, agent Drew Rosenhaus on Wednesday re-tweeted video of his client, Anthony Davis, sparring in San Jose. (Both Gore and Davis are represented by Rosenhaus).
As guard Alex Boone explained last month, the purpose is to improve hand-eye coordination and, at least for offensive linemen, to develop a better strike. It also doesn't hurt that boxing is excellent for stamina. All of the offensive linemen as well as defensive linemen like Justin Smith and Ray McDonald have added boxing to their after-practice repertoires.
Throwing punches, of course, is not a new concept in Santa Clara. George Chung, a five-time karate champion, consulted with the team in the 1990s and early 2000s and routinely would spar with players like Andre Carter, Bryant Young and Derrick Deese after practices and before games. Chung always said that the close-quarters combat between offensive and defensive linemen was like a heavyweight bout.
-- Matt Barrows