Boxing has many different fighting styles, and throughout the history of boxing, there have been different ways to categorize these styles, and different styles which have risen to prominence.
This article is going to focus the boxer-puncher, and my top 10 personal favorite fighters throughout boxing history who deployed this style aggressively and effectively.
Of course, boxer-punchers fight both on the inside and outside. They will usually set up the attack on the outside using an effective jab and right hand. Once their opponent shows a sign of weakness, they attack on the inside throwing powerful combinations. Unlike a pure outside fighter, boxer-punchers like to mix it up, but unlike pure brawlers, they like to set up their plan of attack first in order to make it more efficient and devastating.
- Sugar Ray Robinson– There is nothing this man couldn’t do. He had lightning speed and always had a plan of attack. Whenever he saw an opening, he took it. Not many fighters could stand up to his power, either. There isn’t enough space to explain why he is the best boxer-puncher, and arguably best fighter, to ever step in the ring.
- Roberto Duran– I know what some of you are thinking. Duran isn’t a boxer-puncher, is he? He tends to have this label as an animal that is just on a constant attack, swinging wildly until he lands. This isn’t the case at all. Duran was very composed in the ring. He not only used effective lefts and rights to set up his opponent, but he also was a master at cutting off the ring so that he could trap his opponents in the corner to start his powerful, damaging barrage of punches.
- Joe Louis– Joe Louis is the definition of a boxer-puncher. He was very patient with his attack. He wouldn’t start his assault until he knew that he could be effective. He had a quick, hard jab and threw some the best and prettiest combinations the boxing world has ever seen. Once he smelled blood, it was over.
- Sam Langford– As boxing historian Monte Cox stated, “Sam was like an experienced version of prime James Toney in terms of size and skills, but possessing punching power that was Mike Tyson=like.” A man that was no more than a super-middleweight was beating up heavyweights. Why was this? It was because he could move, block, counter, punch, etc. Jack Johnson wanted no part of him later in his career, and he goes down as the best fighter in history to never get his chance at the title.
- Ezzard Charles– Considered by many as one of the very greatest light heavyweights to ever live, Charles was a boxer that could finish off his opponent. He was beautiful in the ring. One of his great attributes was that he could throw a jab, a right, a hook, or an uppercut from the outside to set up his inside game. Once inside, he was so quick and accurate that many opponents couldn’t handle him anymore.
- Marvin Hagler– One of Hagler’s best qualities was his toughness. He had a chin made of granite, but this didn’t make him reckless. While he was a seek-and-destroy type of fighter, he also came forward with his jab and broke his opponent down with it. He wasn’t the type of fighter to circle around a lot; he just wanted to get to his opponent but be smart doing it. And he wasn’t a one punch knockout artist, but he did wear his opponents down with his relentless attack.
- Tommy Hearns– Hearns had great attributes for this style. He was a tall fighter with long arms. He had a very quick jab that was difficult to get by. In addition to that, his right hand was deadly. This made it very easy for him to set up for the kill. Of course, he was in some of the classic fights and battles of the ’80s.
- Manny Pacquiao– Pacquiao became more of a boxer-puncher later in his career, which put his speed to better use. He was able to stay on the outside a lot more and hurt his opponents from there until he was ready to unleash his attack on the inside, quickly darting inside and back out again to avoid incoming fire.
- Ike Williams– A great fighter who tends to be underrated historically. He was probably a better inside fighter than outside fighter, but that’s more because his inside fighting was superb. His outside game was still solid because of his quick hands and feet.
- Oscar De La Hoya– The Golden Boy did it all. He was a great boxer and puncher. He fought according to how he thought would best match up against his opponent, with an always powerful jab thanks to his converted southpaw-to-orthodox stance. Could switch between pure boxing, inside-fighting, and more.
Of course, there are many more fighters who could have been included on this list of my top 10 favorite boxer-punchers, but these are my top choices. Chime in with your thoughts on who you believe the best or your favorite boxer punchers are.