Following on from Mark’s attempt at creating the Perfect fighter, Like him I also found myself rewriting sentences after changing my mind of a winner for each category half way through, It’s a tough subject to tackle due to the greats that have left legacy’s which are added to further by the current landscape of fighters.
So without further ado here is my attempt:
HEAD MOVEMENT – MIKE TYSON
In his prime ‘Iron’ Mike’s head movement on offence and defence stands alone in the heavyweight division and for me in boxing period. His head was on a spring from the moment a fight started, bobbing and weaving his way in to avoid shots and close the gap between himself and his pray. Cus D’Amato drilled the skill into his young protege so much so that it became second nature and a feat that led the way to him becoming one of the fiercest heavyweights of all time.
CHIN – HARRY GREB
The ‘Human Wildmill’ was only stopped twice in 240 contests, I know what you’re thinking that it’s got to be a typo, but the stats don’t lie, which becomes even more impressive when you factor in the reasons for the two times he was stopped, one because of being outweighed and the other because of a broken arm. Greb was one seriously tough man, it is interesting also to note that he fought the latter part of his career blind in his right eye.
Taking all that into consideration, that is the chin I pick to whether even the most brutal of storms.
JAB – LARRY HOLMES
I was conflicted by this category, going between my overall pick, Oscar De La Hoya and Thomas Hearns but in the end, opted for Holmes. His jab was simply incredible, It was accurate, sharp and would knock the head back of all opposition on the receiving end.
It was his main trait in his dominance of the heavyweight division, a trait where there were no equal around the time.
HAND SPEED – ROY JONES JR
‘Mr Untouchable’ had hands that were blurring to the human eye, combinations that would rattle off like rounds from an Uzi. Jones Jr had lightening in his gloves if you heard the crack it was often too late for another victim. Its what I found most impressive from a fighter I hold above all as my favourite of all time.
POWER – JULIAN JACKSON
I would expect to see heavyweights galore from this section in particular but I felt I would break the norm by selecting a fighter who competed north of the division.
‘Hawk’ had the type of power that could switch the lights off and tuck an opponent into bed at any given moment, one punch devastation that is forever viewed on Youtube, the best example of which would be the shot that rendered Herol Graham motionless for some seconds.
Due to Jackson’s power, he was never fully out of a contest, waiting to strike like a cobra he would unwind a right hand that that would shake the brain cell’s of opposition, taking his knockout ratio at the time of his retirement to nearly 90%
BODY PUNCHING – ROBERTO DURAN
Roberto Duran did everything with bad intentions which could also be said of his body punching, he would rip the shots under the rib cage which would often bring excruciating pain split seconds afterwards. He was also very clever in the way he would find a target, often if he couldn’t find the sweet spot whilst inside the guard of an opponent, he would slide to his right to gain an angle, all whilst giving the impression it was the most natural thing in the world, it wasn’t. Throughout history, boxing scribes will give their opinion but from this writers perspective, there wasnt many as good at finding a home for a power punch to the bread basket as Mano de Piedra.
FOOTWORK – SUGAR RAY ROBINSON
Sugar Ray Robinson tread the boxing apron as Ginger Rodgers would a dance floor, although not lucky enough to have been around in his prime years, video footage show a fighter who would dance around opponents like there was a symphony playing in his own mind.
Robinson’s movement was fluid, quick and always two steps beyond most of his opponents, while they were playing checkers, Ray was playing chess as he moved in and out of position with ease, all whilst rattling off combinations. It must have been a gift to watch live to which I am very envious of those who did.
DEFENCE – PERNELL WHITAKER
You couldn’t hit Pernell with a handful of sand in his prime years, he was a slickster and would slide inches from danger with ease, no matter the quickness or the footwork of the man in front of him, every man who shared the ring with Whitaker can testify to his defensive qualities.
He was the mongoose to in a division of deadly snakes, always using his reactions to stay a step from the danger that lurked.
INTELLIGENCE – MUHAMMAD ALI
Ali springs to mind when thinking of the Intelligence of a fighter which I suppose is further cemented when you take into consideration his tactics in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’
Ali knew how to get under a fighters skin doing as much to George Foreman in the run-up to the sports greatest spectacle, in Zaire he knew that George’s stamina wouldn’t stay true under the climates in Africa, sure enough as if he had looked into the future, George faded, the rope a dope a masterstroke in taking all of the bad intentions that George had on the arms and hips before biding his time, finding a combination that dropped and stopped Foreman. It was quite incredible, this is perhaps the best example to which I am sure there are many more.
STAMINA – HENRY ARMSTONG
The last category on my completion of Perfection is a category threw up a number of potentials, Rocky Marciano, Manny Pacquiao and Joe Calzaghe but in the end, there could be but one, the great Henry Armstong.
It is said he was born with an unusually slow heartbeat which meant he would need to shadow box for ten rounds just to warm up, before then going into fifteen round wars. Armstrong was perpetual motion, some statisticians say they had trouble counting the number of punches thrown because he wouldn’t stop from rounds one to fifteen.
This wraps up my checklist for the complete fighter, It’s always fun to look back and re-evaluate your picks, finding out more about a fighters history is what intrigues me the most when asked to contribute in lists such as this, Thank you for reading if you have gotten to this point as I look forward to the next writer to take the stand.