Monday, July 26, 2010

All-time Fastest Boxers

Check out the Fight Geek's post All-Time Fastest Boxers. It features some all-time greats (and some of my favorites), including: Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson, Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Roy Jones.

These are some of the greatest boxers in history, for many reasons. Speed alone does not make one a great fighter. There are many gym fighters who are scary when hitting the pads, speed bag, or even the heavy bag. What made these fighters fast was not their hands - it was their body control and eerie sense of distance and timing; the ability to see live, in time and space, what an opponent was doing, how he would react to a given punch and where he would be as a result. It's the same uncanny vision that enables a baseball player to hit a 95-plus mph fastball or a Michael Jordan to make opposing players look lie they are standing still as he penetrates to the hoop.

Where does that come from? I don't know. I do know that I've experienced that feeling and skill many times, to a much lesser degree than you see on those videos, but don't know from where it comes. I do know that I just get into a zone and am laughing inside, not mocking my opponent, but laughing with joy at the experience of moving, slipping, sliding, and countering, or blowing through his defense, then clearing before he fires back.

Some of the saddest times in sports, for me, are when these phenoms are on the decline; watching them display a loss of the vision and timing that made them untouchable, and descend to the ordinary.

In MMA, the only thing that I've seen come close to this mastery is GSP or Anderson Silva. How about you?

Go over to watch the videos, and enjoy.


Patrick Parker said...

I heard a story one time that Joe Lewis (the boxer, not the kickboxer) said in an interview after his retirement that while he was on top he never actually saw an opening in his opponent. He said that he always threw the punch so that it landed as the opponent was opening up.

He said that he retired when he realized that he was seeing openings and then hitting them. He said he realized he was past his peak and was slowing down.

That is sad in one sense, but on the other hand, it is incredibly wise as well as being comfortable with your own limits and mortality and having good control over your ego.

Bravo on him for recognizing his approaching peak and decline and living with it.

Matt said...

Yes I think Anderson Silva would probably be the best example of that kind of timing and rhythm in MMA. It's a treat to see him at work in his prime.

Assuming he doesn't get kicked out for antics!

Nathan Teodoro said...

Thanks for the comments guys. I thought Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali were great examples of what Pat mentions. Jordan adapted to his changing abilities by becoming a better outside shooter and won more championships. Ali unbelievable quickness and timing, it can be argued, escaped him in his exile. No one can discount the effects of the wars with Joe Frazier, which left both men shells at the conclusion of their battles. He adapted by utilizing the slippery style of covering up and deflection a la "Rope a Dope." He paid the price, though. A Roy Jones is someone who didn't make that change when needed, and it's a shame, as he had a similar brilliance.
Thanks for the comments!