The jab is the first and the most important punch you will learn when you start boxing. You will sharpen it over and over again to perfect it, and it will take you years. They say that the jab is the main weapon of every fighter, and the fact that all boxing greats jabbed their way to success speaks of its power. It is used to impose dominance, control the space, and set up every subsequent shot, and constantly picking the opponent with the forehand will disrupt his thinking and potential attacks.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd “Money” Joy Mayweather Jr. was born in 1977 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is one of the best examples of the perfect use of jabs. Born into a family of boxers, Floyd continued the tradition and became the best to ever do it.
He completed his amateur career with 84 wins and eight losses, and among his successes is a bronze medal from the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. In the same year, Floyd became a professional, knocking out Roberto Apodaca in the second round in his debut.
In a two-decade-long career, he continues to write history itself. Twenty years later, Floyd retired as a fighter with a perfect record of 50 wins and 27 knockouts, winning 15 world titles and 18 defenses in five categories. The main purposes of Mayweather’s jab were to establish range and prepare for his powerful punches.
Joseph “Old Master” Gant was born in 1874 in Baltimore, Maryland, and died in 1910. He was a devastating power puncher, along with being a defensive master with intelligent approaches to combat. Joe started boxing professionally when he turned 18, and his career looks like a score of average Muay Thai fighters from Thailand.
Although he died at the very young age of 35, Joe managed to complete 197 matches with 157 victories by knocking out 100 opponents. The dark side of his record is 12 losses, 22 draws, and six no contests. His lightweight reign lasted from 1902 to 1908 when he defended the title 15 times against 13 different fighters.
He is also the first African-American champion of the 20th century who has deservedly kept a place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame since 1990.
Another owner of incredible jabs that served him in light heavyweight and cruiserweight is Virgil Eugene Hill, born in 1964 in Clinton, Missouri. His boxing success was obvious in his amateur days, where he secured 288 wins and 11 losses.
Under the US flag, he holds a silver medal from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and a bronze medal from the 1983 World Championships in Rome. At the age of 20, he turned to professional campaigns, and from his debut in 1984 to 1991, he was undefeated.
After 58 fights, Hill recorded 51 wins with 24 knockouts and seven losses. If you count the break before the last fight, Virgil’s career spanned 31 years. He won five titles in two divisions with 20 successful title defenses during that time.
Gennadiy Gennadyevich Golovkin was born in 1982 in Karaganda, Kazakh SSR, a well-known boxing genius and masterful jab user. He started boxing at the age of 11, and his success under Kazakh colors is unmatched, with 345 wins and only five losses.
Before professional fights, GGG excelled at the World and Asian championships, winning five gold medals and silver at the Olympic Games. A man whose success can be written books managed to complete 45 fights with 42 wins, two losses, and one draw in a 16-year career.
During that time, he managed to win the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles with 21 defenses, and his only defeats and lost titles came by decision against his rival and kryptonite, Canelo Alvarez. Despite everything, GGG is still active, and it is our honor and privilege to watch him in the boxing ring again.
Klitschko was born in 1976 in Semipalatinsk, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union, although he is Ukrainian by nationality. He began boxing as a boy in the late 1980s.
His path to the professional ring was paved with successes of 134 wins and six losses, including gold medals at the 1996 Olympic Games, the 1993 Junior European Championships, and the 1995 Military World Championships, as well as silver medals from the 1994 Junior World Championships, and 1996 European Championships.
His more than two-decade-long career consists of 64 wins and five losses, and the WBA, IBF, WBO, and The Ring titles, which he successfully defended 23 times. His jab was the main weapon used to impose dominance during Wladimir’s reign. His plans to end his almost perfect career were disrupted by Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, who stand as his last two defeats before retirement.
The legendary Larry Holmes had a first-class left jab that damaged many heads in his day. This heavyweight was born in 1949 in Cuthbert, Georgia, in a large family that barely survived the poor days. He started boxing late at the age of 18, and he turned professional after 19 amateur victories and three defeats.
He made and won his professional debut in 1973, followed by a phenomenal streak of 48 wins. In an incredible 29-year career, he collected 69 wins with 44 knockouts and six losses. He was crowned with the WBC, IBF, and The Ring titles, which he defended successfully 20 times by knocking out 15 opponents.
Unlike many boxers, he ended his career with a four-fight winning streak, saying goodbye to the sport as he deserved it. Larry was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008 with great merit.
Isufu “Bazooka” Quartey was born in 1969 in Accra, Ghana, as a member of the Ga-Dangbe tribe. The representative of Ghana was born in a family with 27 siblings in a place where fighting was the most normal activity. As an amateur, he achieved a record of 50 wins and four losses. With solid experience, he boxed in his professional debut in 1988, where he celebrated with a knockout in the second round. His career spanned 18 years, where he managed to box in 42 matches, winning 37 with 31 knockouts, which highlights where his nickname came from. Ike also had four defeats with one draw, and he won the WBA welterweight title in 1994, which he managed to defend six times by knocking out all opponents. He retired from sports in 2006 after two defeats by the referee’s decision.
When talking about fighters with quality jabs, the name John Conteh should not be left out of the conversation. Born in 1951 in Liverpool, England, he started boxing at the age of ten. After an amateur career of over 50 bouts and winning middleweight gold at the British Commonwealth Games, John made his professional debut in 1971, knocking out the French fighter in the first round.
Conteh’s career did not last long, but it was successful. He managed to box in 39 matches, with 34 wins and 24 knockouts, and the small stain on his career is three defeats and one draw. He is the winner of the WBC lightweight belt with three title defenses. He was considered a fighter with talent, looks, good hands, good footwork, a durable chin, and, most importantly for our discussion today, a phenomenal jab.
The Tiger was born in 1968 in Gdańsk, Poland. Dariusz was a Polish-German fighter with an enviable European career with 139 wins and 11 losses. Before joining paid fighters, Dariusz won the German National Championship in 1990 and the European Championship the following year.
He started his almost perfect professional career in 1991 with a knockout and continued that way for the next nine fights. Boxing for 14 years, he managed to get into 50 matches with 48 wins and 38 knockouts; two defeats brought him down at the end of his career.
He is the winner of belts in two categories, WBA, IBF, WBO in lightweight and WBO in cruiserweight. The only thing crazier than his 23 title defenses is the fact that he knocked out 20 fighters who came to dethrone him.
Carlos Roque Monzón was born in 1942 in San Javier, Argentina, and died in January 1995. This old-school Argentine boxer started boxing when he was 16 years old. He collected 73 wins, six losses, and eight draws in his three-year amateur career.
After switching to a more “serious boxing track” in 1963, he had an amazing streak of seven knockouts in the first eight fights, boxing in Argentina, where he fought the most matches. In his 14-year career, he boxed in 100 matches, won 87 of which 59 were knockouts, lost only three, and also nine draws and one no-contest.
He competed in middleweight, where he was crowned three times with the titles WBA, WBC, and The Ring, counting 14 title defenses, ten of which were by knockout. He said goodbye to the sport in a champion way, undefeated since 1964 with many defended titles behind, with no defeat in sight.
Joseph Louis Barrow was born in 1914 in LaFayette, Alabama, U.S., and unfortunately died in April 1981 of cardiac arrest. Brown Bomber had an incredible amateur career with 50 wins and 43 knockouts, with four losses.
The winner of three gold medals in the 1934 US National Championships, Chicago Golden Gloves, and Golden Gloves, in light heavyweight, promising a bright professional career. He justified all expectations after he started his heavyweight career with knockouts and maintained that streak.
In 17 years, he fought in 69 fights, won 66 with 52 knockouts, and has only three defeats behind him. He won the NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring heavyweight titles, where he had an enviable reign with 26 title defenses. Luck did not help him in the end because he retired after a defeat, making it impossible for him to say goodbye with a winning streak.
The inventor of the flicker jab, Thomas The Hitman Hearns, was born in 1958 in Grand Junction, Tennessee, USA. This smiley-faced killer was brilliant in his amateur days, where he racked up an incredible 155 wins and eight losses, boyhood glory days adorned with both the National Amateur Athletic Union Championship and the 1977 National Golden Gloves.
From his debut in 1977, he managed to tie a streak of 17 victories by knockout, and by the end of his career, he had 61 victories with 48 knockouts, five losses, and one draw. Hearns was also experienced in title fights as Thomas won the WBC, WBA, WBO, and The Ring titles in as many as five different divisions.
The incredible numbers in Hitman’s resume show what kind of boxing quality we are talking about, and another incredible fact is that his career lasted 29 years.
Don’t think lethal jab owners were also not present in lighter categories. One of them is Ricardo López Nava, born in 1966 in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. El Finito is known as one of the best amateur fighters ever, as he was never defeated.
After winning the Mexican National Championship four times in a row, it was clear that he should turn professional. From his debut in 1985 until the end of his career in 2001, Ricardo has a perfect record of 51 wins with 38 knockouts and only one draw.
He is the winner of the IBF belt in Light-flyweight and WBA, WBC, and WBO in strawweight, with 23 title defenses and 19 knockouts. He is one of the few fighters who perfectly retired from the sport as an amateur and a professional. In 2007, Lopez was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.
Better known as Winky Wright was born in 1971 in Washington, D.C., U.S. His high guard and first-rate jab are something to be heard in both his amateur and professional days. With an amateur record of 52 wins and four losses, Ronald won many gold medals in American competitions with convincing and impressive victories.
He made his professional debut in 1990, where he won by decision. His 22-year-long professional career consists of 51 wins with 25 knockouts, six losses by decision, and one draw. His wall of success consists of WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring super welterweight titles with nine defenses.
Winky boxed against many boxing greats, and unfortunately for him, his phenomenal career ended in 2012 with three last defeats.
Buster Douglas is one of the few fighters who managed to distance himself with his jabs and then knock out Mike Tyson. James was born in 1960 in Columbus, Ohio, USA, with the boxing genes he inherited from his father, and he showed us that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
After a great opening to his professional career with a third-round knockout in 1981, Buster spent the next 18 years as a formidable obstacle for anyone who stood in his way. In all those years, he boxed 46 times and won 38 times with 25 knockouts.
There are also six defeats, one draw, and one no-contest. Douglas won the WBA, WBC, and IBF heavyweight titles in a never-to-be-forgotten upset against Iron Mike. Still, unfortunately, he failed to defend them in the next match against Evander Holyfield. If nothing, at least he said goodbye after two consecutive victories in 1999.
When the name Sonny Liston is mentioned, all of us should stand up. Charles L. Liston was born in 1930 in Sand Slough, Arkansas, U.S., and died before the new year in 1970 when, unfortunately, his wife found him dead. Before his death, Sonny left something to be remembered for: his sporting achievements.
After only half a year of amateur career, where he won the St. Louis, Chicago, and Intercity Golden Gloves and the national AAU tournament, Liston won in his professional debut by knockout in the first round. Until his death ended his career, Sonny recorded 50 victories with 39 knockouts and four defeats.
He was honored to be crowned with the top world titles, such as WBA, WBC, and The Ring, in heavyweight with one title defense, which he later lost to the famous Muhammad Ali.
Oscar De La Hoya
A former boxing great and today a successful promoter, Oscar The Golden Boy De La Hoya was born in 1973 in East Los Angeles, California, in a boxing family. Undoubtedly, his amateur career was a great tailwind where he recorded 243 wins with 168 knockouts and seven losses before his 18th birthday.
De La Hoya won a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and a gold at the 1990 Seattle Goodwill Games. One could write a lot about other gold medals, but what is more important is his 16-year-long career in which he has 39 wins with 30 knockouts and six losses.
And in professional waters, Oscar continued to be golden, winning ten titles in six weight categories, and out of 17 challengers, he knocked out all 17. He retired after losing to the famous Manny Pacquiao in 2008.
Sugar Ray Leonard
Another all-time great and fantastic jab thrower is the well-known Sugar Ray Leonard. Ray Charles Leonard was born in 1956 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Throughout his childhood, he was a person who avoided trouble and was very quiet until he found his passion in the boxing ring at the age of 13.
Of all the golds, the most important thing to mention is that Ray won the gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games and the 1765 Pan American Games in Mexico City. He transferred his success to his professional career, where in 22 years, he secured 36 victories with 25 knockouts, three defeats, and one draw.
He won the championship in as many as four categories, including The Ring, WBC, and WBA, and he defended them five times.
If you are unfamiliar with Riddick Bowe, you should ask yourself if you are a boxing fan. Riddick Big Daddy Lamont Bowe was born in 1967 in Brooklyn, New York. It was to be expected that someone like Bowe would excel at amateur performances, where he won silver at the 1987 Olympic Games, bronze at the 1988 Pan American Games, and gold at the Junior World Championship in 1985.
After a record of 104 wins and 18 losses, he went on a professional journey. His career lasted almost 20 years, where he boxed and won 43 matches, with 33 knockouts, and recorded only one loss and one no contest.
With three defenses, this heavyweight won the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO, and he boxed mainly in the United States. It is important to note that he managed to retire with an eight-fight winning streak, which we could conclude so far is a big success for boxers.
To end today’s article, we will discuss the last fantastic jab user on this list, who is not Harold Johnson. Known by the nickname Hercules, he was born in 1928 in Manayunk, Pennsylvania, and left this world in 2015. He started boxing as a soldier while serving in the US Navy.
He made his professional debut in 1964, winning by knockout in the second round. This member of the US Armed Forces had his ups and downs in 87 fights in his 25-year career, with 76 wins, 31 of which were knockouts, and those 11 defeats cast a slight shadow on his career.
Harold, as a light heavyweight competitor, gets the taste of the WBA, WBC, and The Ring titles, with four defenses. He secured his place in the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993, where his fame will echo for centuries.
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