By Barry Lindenman
History shows that the most controversial and most talked about decisions typically involve fights between boxers with different styles. Some people refer to these contrasting boxing styles as a “boxer vs. a puncher,” a “bull vs. a matador,” or an “aggressor vs. the counter puncher.” In general, these are the high level categories that distinguish one boxer’s style from another and when boxers with these contrasting styles fight each other that we sometimes see wide scoring variations from the judges. That is because one judge might favor one style and another judge might prefer a different style. For example, people still argue about the Leonard (boxer) – Hagler (puncher) fight in 1987 or the Chris Algieri (boxer) – Ruslan Provodnikov (puncher) fight in 2014. Let’s examine in greater detail the different types of fighting styles.
Swarmer (“in” fighter) – is a fighter who attempts to overwhelm his opponent by applying constant pressure by taking away an opponent’s spacing and timing. They tend to be very aggressive and relentless in pressuring their opponents. Examples of swarmers are Rocky Marciano, Jake LaMotta and Joe Frazier.
Pure Boxer (“out” fighter) is the exact opposite of a swarmer. The pure boxer seeks to maintain a distance from their opponent and fight with faster, longer range punches. They tend to be experts at both offense and defense. Pure boxers are typically known for being very elegant and extremely quick on their feet, which often makes up for a lack of power. Examples are Muhammad Ali, Pernell Whitaker and Floyd Mayweather.
Sluggers(brawler, puncher) characterize everything brutal about the sport of boxing. Many sluggers tend to lack finesse in the ring, but make up for it with raw power and are often able to knock out almost any opponent with a single punch. Where a swarmer will be relentless in throwing punch after punch, sluggers seek to end the fight with one devastating punch and often do. Examples are Sonny Liston, George Foreman and Mike Tyson.