While all boxers use different moves, punches and combinations, there is a specific way in which they fight. This is called their style. There are different types of boxing styles. Each varies widely but not totally as one style may resemble a few elements of another style. There are 3 main types or at least, 3 generally known types of boxing styles, “the boxer”, “the slugger”, and “the inside fighter.”
The boxer – This is the technical type of boxing or often referred to as the “textbook fighter.” The boxer is a master of both offense and defense. He fights generally from the outside, come in to make few hits, and the back off again. The boxer may not be the most entertaining to watch if you are looking for some great action but he possesses excellent technical abilities that beginners can learn from.
He can fight well against sluggers because he is faster and more agile inside the ring. Muhammad Ali, Benny Leonard, and Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roy Jones Jr., Winky Wright, and Felix Trinidad are some of the most popular fighters who possess this style.
The slugger – This fighter may not possess the technical skills of “the boxer” but power and aggressiveness are his main weapons. A slugger is the most fun and most exciting fighter to watch. Also known as the brawler, he lacks finesse in the ring, but he makes up for it by his unpredictability and powerful punches which often result to knockouts. This is the reason why Manny Pacquiao is the most popular and well appreciated boxer today. Other well-known sluggers are Naseem Hamed, Sonny Liston, George Foreman, and Arturo Gatti.
The inside fighter – This fighter is not as technical as “the boxer” but he is as exciting to watch as the slugger. The inside fighter spends most of his time in the ring closing inside his opponent and throwing heavy blows of uppercuts and hooks.
He may take some shots on his way in but an inside fighter often has a strong chin that can resist any possible damages. Some of the most popular inside fighters are Marco Antonio Barrera, Ricky Hatton, Julio Cesar Chaves, Mike Tyson, Julio Margarito, and Joe Frazer.
There are two other boxing styles that are worth mentioning: hybrid boxer and the crowder.
Boxers may fall into more than one type of style. This is called the hybrid boxer. For example, Naseem Hamed is considered a slugger but his agility and ability to move around the ring makes in an out-fighter. Mike Tyson who is known as a brawler is a very intense inside fighter.
The crowder didn’t get his name from his ability to please the crowd but his ability to put pressure to his opponent inside the ring. Also known as the swarmer, this type of boxer puts constant pressure to his opponent through non-stop attacks and aggression. Crowders are a rare type since there are only few fighters who possess great stamina and can continuously attack his opponent throughout the game.
A boxer may not be a crowder throughout in his fight. For example, Manny Pacquiao is considered a slugger but become a crowder in his first fight against Marco Antonio Barrera. Some popular crowders are Henry Armstrong, Joe Frazer, and Ricky Hatton.
The ancient Egyptian civilization holds the very first records of bare hand-to-hand combats. Further records were found among the archives and art works of the Greek and Roman civilizations and these evidently suggest that boxing was already a public favorite. This is because during these civilizations, boxing has already become an organized and highly favored public spectacle.
However, only during the 18th century did England popularized boxing as a sport and not a brutal and bloody spectacle comparable with those fights seen in the gladiator arenas. But even in 18th century England, boxing was seen more of a bloody fight than a game. Nonetheless, this was the time when the first boxing champions were formally recognized and actually held titles in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The so-called boxing pioneers then fought with bare knuckles. While these pioneers had already passed out of history, they laid the substance of boxing as a sport as we know it today.
The Bare Knuckles Era is essentially the period when formal boxing fights were introduced. During these times, boxers fought without restriction and they fought only in an arbitrary ring created by the circling of the spectators themselves. Referees and gloves were just about to be introduced so during this period, fighters fought for as long as they can endure. Fight then could sometimes last for hours for there were no time limits yet and they could continue through the next day depending on the arrangements between the boxers.
Also, rules were not yet present so the game was basically governed by the fighter’s sense of sportsmanship. Naturally, there were no violations for hitting below the belt or for using a small cudgel. Blood was of course present and injuries were common. The main objective of the game, however, is somewhat the same with the current objective- defeat the opponent.
This type of boxing basically remained constant before modern boxing came into scene. So for many decades, there were no rules, no referees, no guidelines and no proper trainings that boxers received. In fact, there were no considerations for the weight classes of the fighters. So heavy weights can fight with flyweight and bantam weight can fight with super heavy weight and so on. During these times, bouts were organized by way of sending letter of invitations between contenders.
The working class was first to patronize the sport until it caught the attention of the titled class and the royalty. Wealthy enthusiasts then worked to somewhat organize the fights by sponsoring them. It was during this time that rings permanently became a square platform instead of the ring of people who surround the boxers. It was also at this time when the first formal rules were set by Jack Broughton, who himself was a former boxing champion.
Until 1838, the rudimentary rules as outlined by Broughton’s Rules were followed until a more detailed and more organized rule of the London Prize Ring Rules was put forth. This was followed immediately by the appearance of Daniel Mendoza who introduced a more scientific approach to boxing.
He was an English champion for four years and he helped recreate boxing fights, minus the usual anything-goes crudeness. And so, it was partially thanks to him that boxing eventually outgrew its marathon-like set-up, its crudity, and its characteristics that lent championship to boxers who were not actually skilled in boxing but were only cunning enough to defeat their opponents.
From this period, succession of developments occurred which led to the current system of boxing we have nowadays.
One of the biggest misconceptions about boxing is that it is all about punching. While it’s true that we can learn a lot about the power of our fists through sparring and even sparring with a partner, the most basic skill a boxer needs to learn is the jab. The jab is the key to scoring a knockout in boxing, but we don’t often hear about how to throw the jab.
I use to think the jab was about the physicality of the punch, but the fact is that a great jab can be thrown with the same amount of force and spin as a punch thrown at a fast pace. In fact, in boxing there is such a thing as a long jab that might give your opponent a chance to back off if you’re too far away. All a boxer needs to do is grab the hand to show them they mean business and go to work.
Let’s take the famous Marquez/Pena fight as an example. When Marquez came out to throw the first punch, he seemed to be using a fairly slow, open hand jab that he threw from about a foot in front of his opponent. I thought he was a lot like Floyd Mayweather as far as being a little awkward with his punches and the ability to connect with an opponent, but he came out swinging and got a pretty good shot in on Pavo’s shoulder. That was a good jab, because he threw it straight and fast, but it wasn’t a real deep one that really showed what he could do.
Later, however, Marquez worked up the gloves with his head down low and started throwing punches with his lead hand, hoping to try and take advantage of that open hand with the guy standing close to him. He was able to catch Pavo with a hook with his lead hand which sent him to the mat, which allowed Pavo to start working his own offense.
Now, both guys were still mixing in some kind of jab so it wasn’t totally clear which one of them was throwing the jab and which one was trying to clinch and throw their hands. But the real question to ask is, which one of them was connecting on their jabs and was controlling the fight. If one of them is throwing more jabs then you have to wonder if it’s really controlling the fight and if they can hurt each other.
When you are trying to get control of the fight and have your opponent back up or keep them down with a combination of strikes, the key is to throw your best shot that will send them sprawling to the ground. The best way to do this is to stand in the center of the ring and throw your best shot at their head. However, if you don’t have a good jab then it’s a little more complicated than that.
You can throw a jab and have it land, or you can have it hit your opponent and miss. If you’ve just been practicing with your friends and only hit the bag once then you probably don’t have enough experience to know exactly how to execute your job properly.
In boxing, having a good coach to tell you where you are going wrong and how to correct it is essential. You should try to learn about your defense at your own pace, not from a video or tutorial video, but from someone who has been in the ring with you and who knows you inside and out.