What I set out to learn about boxing styles is not what I did learn. I guess in the grand scheme of things; that’s a life lesson in itself. What I hoped to find was an explanation which was logical, easily understood, and at best, cut and dry. That didn’t happen but I did learn many interesting facts along the way. it has given me a deeper understanding of the sport we call boxing.
There are some givens that seem to be true relating to boxing styles and that was a comfort. First, there are indeed different boxing styles. Second, boxers happen to come in all varieties like ice-cream. Thirdly, anything can happen in boxing and usually does. In reality most fights come down to boxing skills, a fighters personality, and his approach to his style on fight night.
What exactly does “styles make fights” mean? A loose definition accepted by many is that the boxing styles of 2 fighters determine the type of fight they will have. We must also consider when discussing styles; that every fighter possesses a unique style which can and most likely will be adjusted from fight to fight and being successful in the ring depends on taking advantage of those particular skills. What helps to compose a boxers style is also open to debate, however hand-speed, punching power,quickness, a good chin, stamina, will all contribute to the style he adopts.
With that in mind let us see if we can sort out what the most common styles among today’s fighters happens to be. We need to keep in mind a few things before we can convincingly call one fighter’s style 100 percent genuine. Any style can be beaten. Each style has its strengths and weaknesses. Fighter styles are as different as their origins and psyches. A perfect match-up on paper doesn’t guarantee an exciting fight. Boxing is truly a sport made of individuals not one that allows cookie cutter patterns.
As I see it,most fighters today can have 1 of 5 different styles they are: Boxer, Puncher, Brawler, Counter-puncher and Boxer/Puncher:
Boxers – outside fighters who stay closer to the ropes then the center of the action. They moves in and out of range quickly. There MO is to wear their opponents down, relying more on speed and accuracy to score points with combinations rather than go for the KO. They attempt to control the bout by using jabs to keep opponents at range.
Punchers – also known as inside fighters. These fighters are fan favorites and very exciting to watch. They like to get inside and stay close. They are capable of ending a fight with one punch and often stalk their opponent. They are the “in your face” type. The intensity of punches is great and they favor hooks and upper-cuts. (I love upper-cuts.)
Brawlers – another name for a slugger or banger. Most of their power comes in a single powerful wham-bam punch. Even though they tend to be slow-moving they are capable of over-whelming the opponent with constant forward moving pressure. Perhaps less focused on technique and sometimes reckless they are very exciting to watch.
Counter-puncher – These fighters like to let their opponent take the lead in order to take advantage of the openings. He uses his opponents offense against him. He takes his time and picks his opponents apart and counters every move.
Boxer/Puncher – is a popular style used by fighters. They are successful due to the fact they use both punching and boxing styles to keep their opponent off-balance. He usually has more punching power than a boxer.
After a general understanding the styles of fighters it is normal that fans and the people closest to the fighters start to predict and plan bouts according to these styles. The most talked about theory in regards to predicting a bout is called “rock, scissor, paper” it is suggested that one style may beat another style but generally loses to the third. This theory seems to have validity but all theories can be disproven at some time. It is my personal opinion when all is said and done the fighter with the best skills and the most experience will usually be victorious over one with the a flashy and impressive style.
Without a solid, cut and dry formula for making the outcome of any fight exciting, successful or even boring one observation still rings true. That is, the most interesting bouts are those which display competitiveness in styles: Boxers vs. brawlers, boxer vs. puncher, banger vs. banger, boxer vs. boxer/puncher and puncher vs. puncher. These fights will always be pleasing to the fans as well as the fighters themselves.
In conclusion, boxing is anything but simple and that seems to be just fine with everyone inside the boxing community. The unpredictability of those hard-fought minutes inside the ring is what gives every fighter hope no matter what style he embraces. Styles do make fights but heart makes the fighter.