Anyone who is trained in boxing knows what segments the sport consists of: maintaining the correct guard, punching techniques, evasive movements, and finding proper angles with footwork. When you combine everything into one and adapt it to yourself, you get your own boxing style. Everyone can indeed find what suits them, and those who have achieved exceptional careers and their heads were crowned with titles. That’s exactly what our discussion today is: the diversity and effectiveness of the boxing styles of the sport’s legends.
Roy Jones JR.
Roy Levesta Jones Jr. was born in 1969 in Pensacola, Florida, USA. Jone was a true golden boy in amateur competitions, winning the national junior Olympics, two Golden Gloves, and silver at the Olympic Games. He took his skills to the professional level, where in 30 years of competition, he achieved 66 victories with 47 knockouts and 10 defeats.
In addition to his quality score, Roy’s fame consists of seven titles he managed to win in four categories: WBA in heavyweight, WBA, WBC, IBF, The Ring in lightweight, and IBF in middleweight and super-middleweight. He excelled in title fights 18 times, of which 14 times he stopped his opponents with knockouts.
Following his predetermined fighting stance, Jones frequently fought with his hands down and relied on head movement to deflect the threats. He also made rapid body movements, countering his opponents with impressive reflexes and building an envious career around his mastery of boxing style.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr. was born in 1977 in Michigan, U.S. He comes from a boxing family that was a wind at his back. As an amateur, Mayweather won a bronze medal at the Olympics, and he completely corrected his amateur mistakes in his professional career.
In twenty years of professional campaigns, he achieved a perfect record of 50 victories with 27 knockouts without defeat, winning world titles in 5 categories and defending them 18 times. His defensive Philly shell style played a crucial role in his success.
He functioned by taunting his opponent, catching their blows, and returning with sharp counters. Floyd’s timing and reflexes were at the highest level, and he would punish any loss of focus on the opponent’s part.
Mayweather used his footwork in combination with upper body movements, approaching from various angles and giving an uneasy feeling of powerlessness to anyone who happened to be across from him.
Dmitry Yuryevich Bivol was born in 1990 in today’s Kyrgyzstan. His amateur record reaches 268 wins and 15 losses. In his youth, he won several European competitions, a two-time Cadet World Championship, and gold at the World Combat Games.
It can be said that as a professional, he is fresh on the scene because he debuted in 2014. Since then, Dmitry has been undefeated, with 21 wins and 11 knockouts. The third-best active boxer according to BoxRec, Bivol has been holding the WBA light-heavyweight championship belt since 2017, and his career is going in the right direction.
In terms of style, Bivol is a classic example of a Soviet base with a flashy American style. He uses solid defense with fluid movements accompanied by accurate attacks. Bivol is highly unpredictable, as we could see even for Canelo. Dmitry uses low guard for balance and counter-attacks, doing it supremely well.
Vasiliy Anatolyevich Lomachenko was born in 1988 in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukrainian SSR. He enriched his amateur career with gold awards, such as four gold medals at the World Championships, including the junior and cadet championships, the European Championship, and two gold medals from the Olympic Games.
As for Bivol, we can say that Vasiliy is young meat in the boxing ring, as he debuted in 2013. He has 17 wins with 11 knockouts and three losses, fighting mostly in the title fights, and is the winner of six titles in three categories. Vasiliy trained in dance before boxing, which says a lot about his style.
In addition to fluid movements, he owns a master jab with which he keeps opponents at a distance while allowing himself proper angles for the attack, moving around the opponent, changing levels, and giving the opponent a sense of impossibility to hit him while thinking he is surrounded.
“The Professor” was born in 1958 in Accra, Ghana, and is one of the fighters who should have but didn’t get enough attention. The Ghana national team representative was a gold medalist at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and All-Africa Games.
Before his professional debut, he finished his amateur career with 50 wins and two losses. In twenty years of professional boxing, he achieved 37 wins, with 27 knockouts, seven losses, and two draws. He wins the WBC belts in two categories, defending them 15 times with 12 knockouts.
Nelson has used a fairly adaptable style throughout his career to assert his superiority over opponents. When needed, he was very violent, going through his opponents handing punishment, but also patient using defense like Mayweather counterpunching the hapless opponents to victory. With his deceptive style, he established himself as the best fighter from the African continent.
Prince Naseem Hamed
Naseem Hamed was born in 1974 in Sheffield, England, and has Yemeni roots through both parents. Naz achieved 62 amateur victories with five defeats, competing with quality before his professional career. He started as a pro in 1992 and went undefeated in 35 matches over the next nine years.
During that period, he won the WBC, IBF, and WBO featherweight titles, defending them 15 times with 14 extinguished opponents. He closed his career in 2002 with 36 wins, 31 knockouts, and only one loss, mostly doing the title fights. Known for his relaxed and cheerful approach from the southpaw guard, Naseem was a master of dancing evasive movements and challenging opponents.
Hamed often kept his hands under his belt, waiting for a missed shot to use his reflex-quick counterattacks. He moved too well, even for a featherweight, showing flexibility, speed, and efficiency. He was very capable of knocking out because, as they say, “it’s the punch you don’t see that knocks you out.”
Pernell Whitaker Sr. was born in 1964 in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. He died in 2019 at the age of 55, but he left behind his undeniable successes. His eternal fame consists of gold medals from the Olympics and Pan-American Games and a silver medal at the World Championships.
As a professional, in 16 years of fighting, he fought for 40 wins, four losses, one draw, and one no-contest. Pernell conquered seven world titles in four categories with 15 belt defenses. From his score of only 17 knockouts, we can conclude that he did not have a strong punch, but his defensive and counterpunching style caused huge problems for other boxers.
His offense and superb evasive movements made him a difficult target to hit, and the main tool of his defense was right in his head as a high fighting IQ.
Nicolino Felipe Locche was born in 1939 in Tunuyan, Mendoza, Argentina, and died in 2005 at the age of 56. Taking recipes from other old-school boxers, Nicolino had as many as 136 matches to his name. He won 117 times, lost four times, drew 14 times, and had one no-contest.
Nicolino won the WBA and The Ring super lightweight titles, which he defended five times. Locche is also known as Iron Lungs because he was a heavy smoker, but that did not stop him in the ring, where he was quick, clever, and a master technician with one of the finest boxing techniques.
One of the best defensive fighters, Niccolino, proved that you don’t need punching power to win matches. His innate instinct to avoid dangerous blows was exceptional enough to defeat his time’s great fighters.
Emanuel Tarot Francis Augustus was born in 1975 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Many things can be said about Emanuel, but what is inevitable is his warrior heart and unique boxing style. After debuting in 1994 until 2011, Augustus fought in 78 fights, winning 38 opponents and knocking out 20.
His resume also includes 34 defeats with six draws, and he added the IBF super-lightweight title to his colorful record with a knockout victory. His style was like a mirror because it was as if Emanuel adapted to his opponent’s skill level, which is crazy.
Not everyone could use the famous Drunken Master style, but it suited him perfectly. It meant strange movements that would be awkward and difficult to judge in the eyes of the best opponents. Emanuel went down as well-known and loved for showboating opponents without disrespect and always took part in entertaining fights.
Dmitry Yurievich Pirog was born in 1980 in Temryuk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. As a youth, he played chess, which speaks volumes for his intelligent boxing style, and as an amateur, he achieved 200 wins with 30 losses. In a professional career that lasted a little over 15 years, Pirog achieved a perfect record of 20 wins with 15 knockouts without a single loss.
He is the winner of the WBO middleweight title, which he managed to defend three times before retiring due to back injuries. Dmitry was always interesting to watch as he mastered the boxing shifting style. His IQ was over the roof, and his combinations from various angles were merciless.
Justifiably known as the Grandmaster, he would quickly switch from offensive to defensive stance, and when the opponent started to attack, Dmitry was nowhere to be found with his cat-like reflexes.
Julio César La Cruz
Julio César De La Cruz Peraza was born in 1989 in Camagüey, Cuba. What characterizes this man is the many golden medals in his amateur career. Julio is a competitor in heavyweight and lightweight, where he won two gold medals at the Olympics, five world championships with one bronze, three Pan American Games and one Championship, and two gold medals at the Central American and Cuban Games.
As a professional, he fought twice in 2022 and won both times by knockout. Cesar says he always trains for gold, and his best weapon is his mentality. In his orthodox stance, he operates by keeping his hands low and exposing his chin, thus luring his opponents into an attack to display his superior evasive reflexes and hand speed on the counterattack. With his dancing footwork, he is one of the best representatives of the Cuban boxing style.
Born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest boxers ever. Talking about his high-quality amateur success is unnecessary because he has done more great things in his professional career.
In 20 years of competition, he scored 56 wins with 37 knockouts and five losses. He won eight titles in heavyweight WBA 3x, WBC 2x, and The Ring 3x, which he managed to defend 19 times with 14 knockouts. What brought him to the result was, certainly, his warrior mentality and unique “hit and don’t get hit” boxing style.
His unorthodox boxing style consisted of phenomenal footwork and slick movement with the use of a sharp jab. From round to round, Muhammed would constantly move and dance around his opponent, which, after a long fight, presented a problem for his opponents to follow him, let alone catch him.
Of all the things he will be remembered for, Ali left the saying “move like a butterfly, and sting like a bee” to echo through eternity.
Michael Gerard Tyson was born in 1966 in New York City, USA. In his time, he was a monster in the ring, and today, Mike is justifiably considered one of the greatest of all time. As a junior in his amateur days, he won the National Olympics twice and the New York Golden Gloves.
In his professional career that spanned two decades, he secured 50 wins with 44 knockouts, six losses, and two no-contests. Mike won the WBA 2x, WBC 2x, IBF, and The Ring heavyweight titles with ten defenses, nine of which were knockouts.
Tyson was relatively short for a heavyweight, but he adequately used that shortcoming to his advantage. He was aggressive and able to easily avoid blows with his height, enabling bombastic attacks after every opponent’s miss. Although best known for his devastating power, he was very much someone who could move and excelled at walking his opponents down with a flurry of punches.
Sugar Ray Leonard
“Sugar” Ray Charles Leonard was born in 1956 in Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S. Ray was quiet and withdrawn outside the ring but a natural killer inside. As an amateur, he won the Olympic Games and the Pan American Games in lightweight.
Before the professional campaigns, he secured a record of 165 wins, with 75 knockouts and five losses. Leonard’s twenty-year professional career is marked by 36 wins with 25 knockouts, three losses, and one draw.
His incredible achievement is ten world titles in four weight classes, including WBA, WBC, and The Ring, which he defended five times with knockouts. He had a special way of closing the opponent’s distance.
He was a master at faking footwork moves and throwing a lot of faints, and he tricked opponents into throwing punches that he was ready to avoid. He often used an overhead right that, with his great set-up, came completely unexpectedly in the direction of the unawarded opponent’s head.
Retired Mexican boxer Jorge Paez Jr. was born in 1965 in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. In his younger days, he was a prodigy of the boxing sport, coming from an experienced boxing family whose footsteps he followed successfully.
Paez achieved an amateur record of 77 wins and only three losses and made his professional debut as a nineteen-year-old. In 19 years of fighting, Jorge performed as many as 98 times, defeating 79 opponents, 52 of which were knockouts; there were also 14 defeats and five tied matches.
He won the IBF, WBO, and WBC featherweight and super-featherweight titles. He managed to defend them six times by knocking out four opponents. Jorge was a fighter in an orthodox stance whose priority was the work of his front arm.
Paez is known for his acrobatic moves and taunting of his opponents, providing always exciting fights, and his Mexican heart and fearlessness only added to his boxing charm. He tended to close corners and find his way to opponents; his chin could take a hit, and from his score, we can see the ability to shut down opponents.
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