When I was asked to put together my perfect boxer, my initial thought was that it would be the easiest piece I have put together….how wrong was I! With so many great fighters to choose from, each using a specific attribute in their own special way, it became near on impossible task. My list has changed so many times over the last 24 hours, and no doubt by the time you are reading this I will have had a change of mind about at least one of my choices! But here goes, here is what my perfect boxer would look like………………
Head Movement – Kicking off my list is the one and only ‘Smokin’ With a style that saw Frazier walking into his opponent in straight lines, it meant that he had to have great movement of the head, constantly bobbing and weaving and using that movement to give him the momentum to slip out of the way of his opponent’s punches with ease. This constant movement which started at his head also made him a very unpredictable fighter to have to face, as you could never tell if what was happening in front of you was just an innocent slip, or whether he would use the momentum to come back up with a beautiful hook.
Jab – This element of my perfect boxer was probably the easiest for me to choose, with the great Sonny ‘The Bear’ Liston having one of the best all-round jabs in the business! He could effortlessly control the pace of any fight by constantly adjusting the length of his jab to keep his opponent exactly where he wanted him…….close enough to land some bombs, but far enough away that he could swing his whole body into a punch if he so chose!
Hand Speed – When choosing my boxer for this attribute, there were two names that I could not really split, but given that I have picked Mayweather further down the list, I will go with the hand speed of Amir Khan for my perfect boxer. The rate at which Khan can throw a flurry of punches is phenomenal! His speed has, of course, started to slow down over time, but in his prime, I honestly believe that his speed bettered all others, and at least matched that of Mayweather.
Power – With just over 90% of his 74 wins coming by way of knockout, it would be hard to argue against the huge power that Earnie Shavers holds! Shavers always linked his huge knockout power to his regular training regime of chopping wood with his trusty axe – something you can see alongside him in many a photograph! His power was so great that he could regularly just punch straight through even the most solid of guards, often pile driving a trademark shot straight into his opponents liver.
Footwork – Here I might find myself with possibly the most controversial of my choices, and one that I have even argued with myself over….. Gennady Golovkin…The Kazakhstani is my pick for footwork but I cannot really tell you why. He has an ability like no other to constantly walk an opponent down, to cut the ring into the smallest of proportions and to always be balanced to throw that perfect shot. There are boxers with far fancier footwork for sure, but for pure efficiency, I don’t think you can get much better than GGG.
Defence – With a stance that is never square on from his opponent, his left arm down to protect his body, and his chin tucked deep into his shoulder, Floyd Mayweather Jnr has to be the greatest defensive fighter of all time. His opponents get very little to aim for, with his shoulder and his infamous shoulder roll taking the sting out of any punch which very rarely finds his elusive chin. The fact that his early nickname was ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd highlights the fact that he would come out of his fights without any real facial damaged.
Technicality – The unified Super-Middleweight Champ, and Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward has to be one of the most technical boxers to step through the ropes? His style might not always be a crowd pleaser, but the skills that he can call upon surely cannot be questioned!
Intelligence – Dazzling spectators with his incredible and intelligent boxing through the 40’s and 50’s was Sugar Ray Robinson! He was a master at it all, in fact, when I was asked to put this article together, I just wanted to write “Sugar Ray Robinson” and call it job done! Due to his epic ability to do everything and anything perfectly, he is still studied very closely by boxers of today.
Body Shots – For someone who could possibly be called a journeyman for much of his career, the twilight years defined Micky Ward as one of the greatest and most devastating body punchers of all time. His ability to find the ‘floating rib’ of his opponent was second to none! In what was supposed to be probably his career closing fight saw him sink a left hook into the rib cage of Alfonso Sanchez sinking him to his knees and signalling the end of that fight but the start of a path that would eventually lead him on to a trilogy of fights with Gatti.
Granite Chin – This last attribute needs no more than four words……...Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch……….
Tomorrow is Paul Daley’s attempt at Creating his own Perfect Fighter