An old cliché in boxing states that Styles Make Fights. No two boxers are the same. Each fighter possesses his own unique style. There are boxers, punchers, and runners, just to name a few. There are tall, short, muscular, and thin fighters, each capable of utilizing a unique style towards victory.
Many young boxers harp on their failure to possess the raw punching power of Mike Tyson or the speed of Roy Jones. Is this reason to give up? Of course not, rather we must mold ourselves into the fighter that nature intends.
I have received several inquires regarding the relationship between genetics and boxing ability. One question read:
What shall I do, I am nowhere near as tall as the other fighters in my weight class?
Boxing is not a height, weight, or strength sport. If the tallest man were always victorious, the National Basketball Association (NBA) would lose athletes to professional boxing. If the strongest man were always victorious, power lifters would dominate the sport. Oscar de la Hoya recently knocked out Fernando Vargas who later tested positive for steroid use. No disrespect intended, but Fernando is proof that the stronger man does not always equate to the better man.
Boxing is a skill sport, first and foremost. Past champions have been short and tall, fast and slow. Just as no two boxers are identical, no two champions are the same. Each champion possesses his own unique blend of boxing ability, speed, power, and fortitude. One common denominator however is often described as heart. To be successful in this game, you must be willing to fight with courage and intensity. The most naturally gifted athletes will not last without the will and desire to win.
There is no path to the top of the boxing mountain without heart. To those fighters who are hung up on physical deficits, my advice is to focus your energy on factors within your control. Adapt a style that best suits you as an individual. Hard work and determination will often defeat the more skilled fighter who lacks the same resilience. Regardless of styles, there is no excuse to enter the ring out of shape. Kostya Tszyu once said that he was an average kid growing up who simply outworked the competition. He devoted himself to hard work and intense training. He refused to accept anything but victory. At present time, Kostya Tszyu is one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world, and a future Hall of Famer.
Do not harp on some perceived lack of natural ability, instead focus on becoming the best that you can be. Do not put limitations on your ability. Many aspiring fighters choke their potentional by assuming they lack the natural tools to succeed. Consider Micky Ward, perhaps the most courageous warrior in boxing today. He does not enter the ring as the slickest or fastest boxer. He developed a style that was successful for him. Is he the tallest boxer, with a jab that could hit you across the ring? Of course not, but he's proven his ability to succeed with the genetic hand that he has been dealt.
We cannot blame our lack of height or speed for failure. The only cause of failure is a lack of motivation and hard work. Do not impose limitations on your ability. The mind can either help or hurt you.
We have heard that styles make fights, so do styles make fighters? The answer is no. The fighter himself is responsible for his development as a fighter.
Whether your opponent is tall, a slugger, a runner, a southpaw or a speedster, there is a way to beat him. Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses. Do not allow your mind to play tricks on you. Pernell Whitaker was one of the slickest boxers ever at only 5’6". Mike Tyson was one of the most dominant heavyweights of all time at only 5'10". The list goes on and on.
Mark Twain once said, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."
This line speaks volumes for the sport of boxing. Take these words to heart when training and accept nothing but victory.
Make your style a champion style!
About the Author - Ross Enamait is an innovative athlete and trainer, whose training style is among the most intense that you will find. Ross is committed to excellence and advancements in high performance conditioning and functional strength development. He has a sincere interest in helping today's athlete in their quest for greatness.
Ross has authored several comprehensive training manuals, designed for athletes participating in combat sports such as boxing, wrestling, and MMA.