Boxing Styles and Technique
As boxing fans, I’m sure you’re more than aware of the “Styles makes fights” cliché that is ALWAYS trotted out without fail whenever there is a semi-interesting fight on the horizon. In short it is an exceptionally lazy way of saying that due to the two boxer’s fighting style, be it conflicting, or congruent , they will natural complement each other making for an interesting (close) matchup.
But what are these “styles” specifically, and what makes for a good match up? Continue reading to find out one fight fan’s opinion.
The four Basic Categories of Fighter
Each style can be said to fit within this basic (and admittedly limited) typology:
The Swarmer or the In-fighter
The in-fighter is typically a fighter who attempts to overwhelm his opponent by applying constant and indefatigable pressure. Often they are shorter fighters, who prefer to operate close up to negate the longer reach of their opponents. They try to slip the jab by bobbing and weaving, having a good chin, and strong stamina with the high work rate manifesting itself through a higher punch output. Preferred punches are usually hooks and uppercuts.
Notable swarmers: Mike Tyson, Jake La Motta, Rocky Marciano, Ricky Hatton,
Often confused with the in-fighter ot the pressure fighter come swarmer, sluggers tend to have a lower output of punches than the swarmer, footwork and ignore combination punching as they often lack the hand speed. Instead, they make up for these deficiencies with high punch power which means the opponents can be backed up and reluctant to trade. Further confusion lies in the categorisation of these fighters because swarmers can often exhibits slugger tendencies throughout their career, particularly towards the tail end when their physical attributes have declined somewhat.
Notable sluggers: George Foreman, Vitali Klitschko, Nigel Benn, late Mike Tyson and Sonny Liston.
Pure Boxer or Outfighter
The purist fighter, the boxer aims to create a distance between himself and opponent by landing fast, longer range punches and not allowing him to set an offense. With the exception of the occasional show stopping hook or uppercut, they prefer to throw quick, straight punches and outwork their opponents to a points decision rather than a knock out. Lastly they often have great footwork to evade the oncoming flurry of punches, and are athletic enough to evade most things thrown at them.
Notable boxers: Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Zab Judah, Pernell Whitaker, Jack Johnson, Bernard Hopkins
Boxer-Puncher or the hybrid
Lastly we have the crossover category that can be applied to boxers that are capable of switching between styles when the necessity occurs. They can possess the out-fighter skills and ring intelligence of a boxer, but the power of a slugger, and the preference for aggressive attacks. Although not always the case, one of my favourite and in my opinion examples of this class, is the counter-puncher who tries to make his opponent miss, or make a mistake before landing shots of their own. This of course requires great technical ability, and timing and thus is much rarer than a boxer who can box comfortable on the outside yet sometimes mix it up.
Hybrid Fighters: Lennox Lewis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Erik Morales, Marvin Hagler. Felix Trinidad
Notable Counter punchers: Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd Mayweather Jr, James Toney, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roy Jones Jr
The Rock Paper Scissors theory?
Predicting the outcome of fights can be difficult, hell if it was easy we’d all be rich, but that clearly isn’t the case. At the end of the day, when the cows come home, it’s all about the individual boxer’s capabilities as a fighter in the ring that counts, rather than the fact he has a certain style… And on that note, here endith the article.