Boxing Styles and What they Mean
Just like many other sports, fighters tend to have their own unique boxing styles. These fall into a few categories and some styles, when matched with certain others, can produce highly entertaining bouts. If you want to know all about these to inform your next bet, then we have you covered. Main photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images
A less sophisticated style, those that use the brawler style will rely on their strength to push through the fight. They’re not the fastest or most mentally agile fighters, but they will beat down their opponents with powerful punches. They don’t care as much about dodging or countering, as they just use their punching pattern to take down their opponents.
Rocky Marciano is probably the most famous brawler, as he’s the perfect example of this boxing style. They have to be resilient enough to take the hits while powerful enough to dish them out too.
See also Ron Lyle; John L Sullivan; Sonny Liston; and Max Baer.
They use distance to their strength and rely on the jab and movement to maximise this distance. They may look to wear down or frustrate an opponent before going in go for the finish when he is tired and demoralised, but they most often get victory due to a points decision.
There’s a lot of finesse in this boxing styles and boxers need good timing to box effectively like this. They have been known to struggle when the action becomes close – Muhammad Ali, for all his skill, was never at his best when fighting at close range.
Muhammad Ali; Jack Johnson; Larry Holmes; James J Corbett; Gene Tunney; and Wladimir Klitschko notably fought in this boxing style.
This is the opposite of the out-fighter, as swarmers want to close the distance between themselves and their opponent. They put huge amounts of pressure on their opponent to keep up with them and use flurries to their advantage. These are speedy, pushy fighters that direct the fight to go their way.
Some of these swarmers are shorter in stature that other boxers, therefore they have little option but to bring the fight close and minimise their opponent’s range advantage.
Manny Pacquiao is a great swarmer and he always keeps his opponents on their toes with his aggressive style. Many Mexican fighters adopt this style too – the all action, never give you a second to rest method.
Notable Swarmers were: Julio Cesar Chavez; Tommy Burns; Nigel Benn; and Joe Frazier.
Defensive fighters that wait for a mistake to be made are often known as counter punchers. They wait for their opponent to overstretch or leave themselves open to strike. For this reason, they have to hone their reflexes and be able to predict what their opponent will do next.
This kind of fighting style can be difficult to adhere to as the fight goes on, as it requires a high level of concentration even when tiredness kicks in. Furthermore, as their career progress, counter punchers may struggle more due to the natural slowing of reflexes with age.
If you watch fights featuring a young Mike Tyson; Floyd Mayweather; Bernard Hopkins; and Archie Moore you’ll see this boxing style in action.
This kind of fighter is often known as an all-rounder, as they have the technique and the power. They tend to posses many of the skills common in other boxing styles, which means they are have that level of adaptability – this often makes them difficult to classify, as spectators may see different traits in different bouts. Worth noting is that they usually lack the mobility and defensive skills of a pure ‘Boxer’.
Marvin Hagler; James Toney; Carlos Monzon; Joe Louis, and Oscar de la Hoya are great examples of this style of fighter.
Knowing which style a fighter uses can help you to predict your next bet, so make sure you pay attention to these in upcoming matches.