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Top 5 body punchers in boxing today

Credit: Ed Mulholland - HBO

Body punching is under-appreciated in the sport today, especially among judges, most of whom all but ignore it. Yet it is hard to ignore the results of having a good body attack in your arsenal. Novice boxers are routinely taught to throw downstairs as a means of spreading out an opponent’s point defense; in other words, hit them in the belly to make them drop their hands and expose their heads.

Beyond that, the body is a bigger, less elusive target, making it easier to reach on those slick movers. A sustained body attack can sap an opponent’s strength, with each blow literally draining his gas tank. Finally, body punches can be every bit as lethal as head shots, as the footage of boxers knockout out the sheer pain of a body shot attests.

With all that in mind, here are the five top body snatchers in the game today:

5. Lucas Matthysse: As a knockout artist, Matthysse understands how to use a body punch to set up his assaults. Matthysse’s straight right to the body, a rocket propelled grenade if ever there was one in boxing, is one of his standard tools for setting up shots to the head.

4. Juan Manuel Marquez: The King of Mexican Boxing is also one of the leading practitioners of the Mexican Liver Punch. As a top-notch counter-puncher, Marquez is very, very good at landing that hook on the sweet spot.

3. Gennady Golovkin: As a well-schooled puncher, Golovkin is a fighter who has developed skillful body punches as a way of taking the steam out of an opponent and making those hands come down. The knockout blows to the head might get all the press, but invariably its Golovkin’s body blows that set those knockouts up. We all remember the crippling, crushing body blow he landed against Matthew Macklin (painfully shown in above photo).

2. Canelo Alvarez: Body punching is a key, integrated part of Alvarez’s arsenal. As this guy walks down and breaks down his opponents, he slings power at the body to slow the other guy down and open opportunities to score upstairs. Virtually everyone he fights comments on the body hurt Alvarez dishes out.

1. Guillermo Rigondeaux:
When it comes to putting out a crisp, quick flurry of body shots, no one in boxing today tops Rigondeaux. If the Cuban is on the offensive, giving him an opening to go downstairs is the same thing as issuing an engraved invitation to getting your guts banged up. Worse, all of this body damage is taking place at 122 lbs, and the physiques of those smaller guys just can’t take a sustained pounding as well. Most casual fight fans don’t know about Rigondeaux’s rapid fire, monster body attack because they have only seen him fight Nonito Donaire, where he spent most of the fight moving away and boxing rather than going forward and body snatching, but Rigondeaux is a body punching monster.