Boxing Styles: Swarmer, Slugger, Boxer, Boxer-Puncher
Boxers will generally automatically pick up a certain style. That style will depend on many things including the boxer's skill, quickness, aggression, ability to take a punch, and personality. Eventually as you begin to box more, you will probably find yourself fitting into one of the following moulds. The boxing styles are swarmer, slugger, boxer, boxer-puncher.
Styles are more of an instinct thing than a learned thing, but you should really know that in general, when certain types of fighters meet, the outcome can more or less be predicted based on the style they employ. As one of the coach's at my gym put it today, it is the trinity of boxing (even though there are 4 styles as boxer-puncher is a mixture of two of them). The rule is:
- Swarmer beats Boxer
- Slugger beats Swarmer
- Boxer beats Slugger
Of course their is an exception to every rule, the anamoly, a boxer-puncher generally does a bit better against a swarmer because he has that extra power in his punches that do the damage to the swarmer.
Sidenote: Below I've made lists of boxers who you should do your best to watch. They have distinctive styles and it would be worth your while to find them on video. Clicking on their name will take you to a page of fights on video you can choose from.Â I'm working hard to find free decent footage of these individuals.
The swarmer is the pure technical boxer's nightmare. A swarmer is aggressive and relentless. They will fight their way in close and unleash a fury of punishment. They can generally take a good hit and deliver a good punch. The punches are always in volleys and in close. They get inside to foul up their opponent's ability to throw their own counters. They are fleet of foot, and have phenomenal speed. This continuous pressure takes a toll on their opponents and they usually win the fight because they out condition the other boxer, not because they knock them out. However, with a boxer like Rocky Marciano, he would first tire out his victim and would still have enough left to deliver a crushing knockout blow.
The swarmer is also known as a crowder. Fights which have swarmers are usually pretty exciting to watch as there is always constant aggression and fighting. The swarmer gets in close, usually taking a few punches on the way in, stands in front of his opponent and delivers a windmill of punches and their opponent hopefully backs off or somehow gets away. Then it is game on again, the swarmer comes right back. There are no lulls in the battle. Every round is a full round. Obviously a swarmer's conditioning is beyond reproach. They are in the ultimate shape possible.
Some of the best swarmers of all time:
- Rocky Marciano
- Mike Tyson
- Tommy Burns
- Battling Nelson
- Harry Greb
- Henry Armstrong
- Carmon Basilio
- Jake LaMotta
- Joe Frazier
Sidenote: I am hardly a boxing history expert. However, I know where to find someone who is and that is where these names and others in this article come from. Feel free to visit his site: Monte Cox - Cox's Corner.
As the name suggests a slugger relies on power punches to knock his opponent out. That is why they are effective against a swarmer. Although the swarmer is inside throwing punch after punch, the slugger only has to connect with one and the fight is over. Sluggers usually have good chins and aren't afraid to take a few hits. They have to, because they are generally bigger and slower (not that you can't be big and fast). They throw fewer punches, but the ones they land do devastating damage.
These are the fights, most people love to watch because they end up with someone lying on the mat. If you get a good swarmer who can go the distance with a slugger, then the fight is fantastic. Lots of action and lots of hardcore hitting, perfect for the casual boxing fan to watch.
Some of the best sluggers of all time:
Notice Tyson is also listed as a swarmer. His power is incredible which gets him into both categories, however, his style is usually more of a swarmer.
Well, the name of this one sounds like he should take all and boxers are definately the nicest to watch technically. They are masters of their defense and their offense. They generally fight from the outside, come in to hit, and back off again. They generally do very well against sluggers because they are quicker and have more mobility.
Watching two boxers in a fight is quite boring. It is played out more like a chess match than a fight. To a person who doesn't know what they are doing, one could easily think they are both scared of each other. In reality they are cautious and looking for the right moment to strike. This is the reason swarmers really mess them up. They don't have the time to think and swarmers don't play by the rules so to speak.
The best boxers of all time:
- Benny Leonard
- Gene Tunney
- Willie Pep
- Tommy Loughran
- Billy Conn
- Maxie Rosenbloom
- Muhammad Ali
- Pernell Whitaker
The last category is a hybrid. He possesses the technical skill and grace of a boxer and also the devastating power of a slugger. One would think this would be the best style to adopt and in actuality it probably is. Boxer-Punchers do well against pure boxers because they can match their speed and mobility. They do well against swarmers because their extra power stops the swarmer's aggression. Their only downfall are the big sluggers because once again, it only takes one punch and the lights are out.
They make interesting fights and throw a sense of the unknown into some. Where a boxer-puncher is matched up against a swarmer, the fight is great because depending on the style the boxer-puncher tries to use more could sway the way the fight goes. It's just another variable in the whole package.
Examples of this kind of boxer are:
- Joe Gans
- Joe Louis
- Ray Robinson
- Ike Williams
- Alexis Arguello
- Tommy Hearns
- Erik Morales
While you may not be able to choose what kind of style you will eventually adopt, you definately need to know what style you are fighting. With that much knowledge at least you can adjust your fight accordingly.
There is no hard and fast rule that says a swarmer is always going to beat a boxer or a slugger will always beat a swarmer. It is a matter of skill and conditioning. There is no reason a boxer cannot be just as conditioned as a swarmer and no reason they cannot beat them if they outmatch them in terms of skill. A million other factors are in play as well including the mental condition of the fighters. It's the unpredictability which gives every boxer hope in every situation and which gives the viewer an edge of their seat performance.
It's all in the style, baby. Box on.So where do you go from here? Well, now would be a great time to put everything you've learned into practice and start training. The best way to do that is with the 12 week boxing training program which has been designed to condition you and help you learn the fundamentals. Maximize your success by going through the boxing nutrition guide to ensure you provide your body with the fuel it needs to train as a boxer.