In modern times a fighter must do everything well to be elite. But just doing everything well doesn’t make an elite fighter. They must also do at least one thing great. Sure there are some who did not do everything well that have made it to the fringes of the elite and could be argued actually achieved it. But for the most part, that is the exception, not the rule.
Tyson’s power, Manny’s hand speed, Floyd’s defense, Duran’s ability to adapt, Wladimir Klitschko has that jab, Julio Cesar Chavez had the chin of a horse. This is not about who is best, like most boxing discussions. This is about what is best. What is the best weapon for a boxer to do great?
While having the jawbone of an ass, is a great quality for a fighter, sometimes it can get you whipped like that same ass. Some of the great journeymen had stellar chins, but less than stellar records against the elite. That CHIN allows a fighter to take more chances, sit down on more punches and improves almost all his attributes.
But really it’s like having a few stiff drinks while on the prowl. It’s going to make everything about your catch better, but ain’t going to turn her into Megan Fox.
Walk through the doors of almost any gym in the world, and the trainer will tell you, it all starts from the JAB. If you’ve got a stiff jab that gets back as quickly as it shoots out, your in. Everything works behind that jab. It opens up your opponents while at the same time shutting them down, it avails all your options, frustrates your target and wears them.
But, as much as trainers would like people to believe, they don’t climb over each other to get to a great jab. What makes a trainer slobber is a slobberknocker or a speed demon.
DEFENSE is often the difference in fights and fighters. One man has it, the other lacks it. One man is an artful dodger the other dodges the art by a lack of commitment to it. Most of those fights turn out the same. But defense doesn’t bring the fans in. And rarely brings the belts in.
Yes there is Floyd and a few, but would you rather fight someone you can’t hit, or someone you can’t afford to let hit you, or you can’t stop from hitting you? While really, one thing alone will rarely win a fight, defense alone never does.
And for every champ that wins with defense there is one that wins with relatively none. Like Wladimir Klitschko, his only defense is that jab and some awkward holding. It is often mentioned that a fighter has under appreciated defense. Have you ever heard a fighter having under appreciated power?
Hand SPEED makes opponents look bad. It causes shutouts and wins a lot of fights. It simply dominates. But speed does tend to slow as punches are exchanged, rounds increase and fights increase. There is not much difference between speed and boxing’s best attribute(to be so boldly named later). The line is thin. It is only a slight advantage, but power or defense does not age nor dissipate with rounds or fights.
Since the working premise is already that an elite fighter does everything well, a possibility could be the ABILITY TO ADAPT. To move from peppering an opponent to sitting down on punches, from jabbing to defense, depending on what the moment or fight is calling for.
The ability to adapt may be the most rare of the assets mentioned, but does not make it the best. Too many have been too great without that quality. A great jab doesn’t need to be turned off for any other option.
That leaves POWER. The first thing a fighter has and the last thing to leave him. It changes exchanges, fights and fight plans. Enough power makes your opponent more cautious which helps your defense. Regardless of what every opposing trainer begs for in the corner (keep jabbing!), heavy hands can keep an opponent’s lead hand back. It limits their willingness to throw combinations which limits an advantage of speed. And power doesn’t tire or limit itself if a fighter changes a strategy mid fight.
The power of power wins. It is very close between power and speed. It is difficult to put any one asset in front of the other, but if a big left hook is being held to your head, which one is best?