Every fighter has strengths that we admire when watching them in action, from knockout power to dazzling hand and foot speed. But what if you could take their strongest gifts and morph them together to create a complete fighting machine? For me, the following boxers combine to form my ideal “Perfect Fighter”.
HEAD MOVEMENT – WILFREDO BENITEZ
The split-second anticipation from the extremely gifted Benitez was astonishing to watch. He would slip, pull back or roll with incredible ease, almost like he knew what his opponent was going to throw before they knew themselves. You just can’t teach that.
JAB – THOMAS HEARNS
Hearns devastating right hand often overshadowed one glaring fact: NOBODY outboxed The Motor City Cobra. Whipping out his long jab, every fighter from welter to cruiser felt the speed and snap it possessed.
HAND SPEED – ROY JONES JR
Jones’ speed of punch was something to behold. Whether it was delivered as a counter shot or overwhelming opponents with a flurry, he threw his fists with blinding quickness.
POWER – JULIAN JACKSON
Still the hardest one punch knockout artist I have witnessed. At any given moment he could take you out with either hand and he left quite a few unconscious before they hit the canvas.
CHIN – MARVELLOUS MARVIN HAGLER
Sixty-seven fights and no official knockdown (do not even get me started on the ridiculous count he received against Juan Roldan). The Iron of Philly, Hands of Stone, the Hit Man and the Beast couldn’t dent this incredible set of whiskers.
BODY PUNCHING – JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ
Chavez left hook to the liver was a thing of beauty, thudding under his opponent’s right elbow like it was magnetized. Meldrick Taylor and Edwin Rosario were both worn down by his relentless torso attack.
FOOTWORK – MUHAMMAD ALI
The 1960’s version of Ali glided around the ring like a skater on ice. The speed and balance he exhibited was a thing of beauty.
DEFENCE – PERNELL WHITAKER
“To hit and not be hit” could have been coined for Sweet Pea. Slipping, twisting, turning and blocking, landing a clean shot on this elusive southpaw was nigh on impossible.
TECHNICALITY – JOE LOUIS
The Brown Bomber’s delivery of every punch was straight out of a textbook. Straight through the target, full pivot on the ball of the foot and complete weight transfer. He never wasted a shot.
INTELLIGENCE – SUGAR RAY LEONARD
Leonard may not have had as many fights as his rivals but he found a way to beat them all, adjusting his style throughout each contest to make sure he would prevail. And when you consider that the list was topped by Hagler, Hearns, Duran and Benitez then you realise just how great he was.
STAMINA – HENRY ARMSTRONG
Homicide Hank, Hammerin’ Hank and Hurricane Hank tell you all you need to know about the perpetual motion of this truly great fighter. The only fighter in history to hold three world titles in three divisions at the same time, he knew only one direction: forwards.