Boxing is one of the world’s most popular sports, with millions of fans worldwide following the latest action. While many do so just for fun, some fans also make money from betting on the outcome of bouts.
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Seeing a top boxer at the height of his powers go to work is very enjoyable. Over the years, ring legends like Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis, Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao and Tyson Fury have entertained millions of fans. It is clear that these men all had something special about them which helped them succeed in a very tough profession.
Although this might not be the most fashionable trait to point out in modern times, aggression plays a key part in any top fighter’s make-up. After all, boxing is not a debating society or a book club! Fighters enter the ring with one thing on their mind – physically overcoming their opponent to win the match. We have already mentioned Mike Tyson and the sort of animal aggression he could show in his prime is just what we are talking about. One other thing that any boxer must have to be one of the greats is a killer instinct. When their opponent is hurt or faltering, they must not be afraid to go in for the finish to end the bout.
Footwork and head movement
Many people who do not know about boxing in detail assume that it is all about simply standing there and punching. While that is partly true, fluid footwork is something any truly outstanding boxer will have. Being able to move properly–Manny Pacquiao at his best was superb in this area– not only helps them avoid their opponent’s attacks but also puts them in the right place to mount their own. Head movement is also very important for any fighter who is at the top of the game. This helps to avoid any punches that their opponent throws while also getting in and out to throw their own without being hit. Muhammed Ali is a great example of a boxing legend who had superb footwork and head movement in his skills locker.
Even the best boxers can be sure of one thing – they will get hit hard or get hurt at some point in their career. This is why ‘heart’ is something that all great boxers must have to fall back on. When times get tough in the ring, having the will to carry on and win is very, very important. The great Muhammad Ali is another fine example here as anyone who saw the ‘Thrilla in Manilla’ will remember!
A vital part of any top fighter’s armory is hand speed – the faster, the better. A fast boxer can throw punches and unleash combinations of punches very quickly. Why is this trait so important? It gives a boxer the edge over an opponent, beating him to the punch and also exposing gaps in his defense with a barrage of punches. Without decent hand speed, it is hard to take advantage of any openings that good footwork or movement has created. All the best boxers had great speed in their hands, particularly Floyd Mayweather Jr to Amir Khan and Manny Pacquaio.
Power and accuracy
While not all top boxers have outstanding power, most will have enough to trouble opponents and many will hit like a mule. You only have to look at great knockout kings in boxing history like Sonny Liston, Rocky Marciano, Marvin Hagler and Archie Moore for proof of this. Having bone-crunching power is one trait you will see in many legendary boxers as it simply allows them to end fights with one blow. Even if they do not knock their opponent out with one punch, a combination of hard punches will have the same effect. Accuracy should also be mentioned as a vital characteristic of all top fighters. After all, if the punches do not land, then they are no good!
Top boxers made from the same mold
While truly special boxers may have various styles, it is true to say the vast majority share the same traits. While every great fighter might not have every trait we have looked at above, most will have a couple of them at the very least. From heart to aggression and power, there are some things which a great boxer cannot do without.