As any kid who took up boxing from an early age, I had my fair share of heroes. While other friends of mine dreamed of being Superman or Spiderman, for me, the real superheroes were those who lived their moments of glory inside a ring, facing their opponents fair and square. In this post, I will talk about my favorite boxers of all time, and why I still feel inspired whenever I watch or re-watch their matches.
For me, Muhammad Ali will always be the best boxer who has ever walked the earth. His death left the world poorer and he will forever be missed. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was his credo, and I tried to followed this to the letter in my training. He taught me that it doesn’t really matter how good you are at throwing punches, if you are not well aware of how to create the best opportunities for you in the ring. Everyone knows that Muhammad Ali was not the strongest boxer during his active years, nor did he have the heaviest punches. On the other hand, he was extremely quick and his rapid fire was what took his opponents by surprise. What he based his success on was unpredictability, and this is the most important boxing lesson I took from him.
Some called the Filipino boxer the man who reinvented the sport, and I stand by their side, too. An orthodox boxer to the bone, during his early years, Manny Pacquiao learned, sometimes the hard way, that always playing by the book and counting on a single trick was not enough to compete against the biggest names in box. For a boxer who was a natural leftie, what he achieved using his right hand is something worthy of being written in history books. Another thing I highly appreciate and I learned from Manny Pacquiao is how to make the best out of your feints. The same thing that made Muhammad Ali great counts for Manny Pacquiao’s success, as well. His unpredictable feints have made his opponents fall for the deceit and, consequently, lose important battles in the ring.
While some may say that the best defense is offense, the one boxer who taught the world that the reverse is also true is, without a doubt, Mike Tyson. Capable of landing really powerful punches, but still protect himself against whatever opponents have tried to throw at him, Mike Tyson is the definition of a complete boxer who can teach you both the book and some tricks like no other. Cus D’Amato was the man to invent the so called peek-a-boo style, but I can bet Mike Tyson really made the best out of it. This is a technique I much appreciate and love because it offers you the best solution to protect yourself, and to attack without compromising yourself. I can tell you, hand on heart, that a broken nose is no joke, and that this style of boxing can protect you from many broken nose episodes. Also, the ability to blindside your opponent and perfectly hide your intentions is what makes the peek-a-boo technique a must have in any boxer’s book.
These are my top 3 favorite boxers. I have others I like and admire, but I’m afraid I’ll have to write an entire book to include everyone, so I hope this short list will motivate you to find your superheroes, too.