Throughout boxing history, many warriors have been forged in the ring. Epic back-and-forth battles have taken place within the confines of four steel ring posts. From them, stories of awe-inspiring performances have been written, and heroes were born.
There are two kinds of fighters in this sport. There are those who turn to their defense when they get hit with a big shot. This is the natural reaction.
But then, there are those who fight back. Fans call these fighters boxing’s “blood and guts warriors” — all-action superstars who know never to back down nor how to take a step backward. They keep moving forward no matter the circumstances.
These fighters have hearts of fire and chins of granite. They use the boxing ring as a platform to showcase the best of the human spirit. It doesn’t matter how many times they get knocked down. They always get back up, and they’re always looking for a fight.
You’ll be surprised at just how tough and durable some of these guys are. It’s as if adversity brings out the best in them. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five of boxing’s most incredible all-action superstars.
1) Micky Ward
“Irish” Micky Ward never held any world titles, but that didn’t stop him from earning the hearts of millions of fans across the globe.
It’s hard to argue against Ward being the toughest fighter in the history of the sport. He has certainly been in enough wars to prove that. Even if you think there’s someone tougher, you can’t deny just how much of an action star Ward was in the ring. No matter how hard he got hit, he just kept coming.
All you have to do is watch the fabled Ward-Gatti trilogy and that will give you a pretty good idea of what kind of a fighter Ward was in his prime. Ward was a throwback to the kind of fighter you find in the 1950’s. He was a brawler who always moved forward and was looking to test an opponent’s mettle.
If you want to know more about Ward, catch the Hollywood blockbuster, “The Fighter,” starring Mark Wahlberg, which was based on his life and career.
2) Diego Corrales
Former two-division world champion Diego “Chico” Corrales was one of the most intimidating and fearsome punchers at super featherweight and lightweight.
“Chico” was an attraction in the ring, and he was always worth the price of admission. His epic battles against Jose Luis Castillo were some of the best ever, and will forever be in the pages of history. Corrales’ uncanny ability to walk through fire, take punishment on the verge of being stopped early, and then come back and win the fight later on is more than admirable.
In fact, his first fight against Castillo was the stuff of legend. The fight earned Fight of the Year honors from The Ring and the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Unfortunately, his once-promising career was cut very short. Corrales lost his life in a three-vehicle accident in Las Vegas in 2007.
3) Arturo Gatti
If you’re a boxing fan from the early 2000’s, you’re probably very familiar with Italian-Canadian boxer Arturo “Thunder” Gatti’s incredible career. Chances are, you’re a fan, and it would be hard to blame you for being one. Gatti wasn’t the most technically sound boxer. But what he lacked in skills, he made up for in intestinal fortitude.
“Thunder” was always willing to step into the ring with any man, and never backed down from a challenge. Despite his all-action style, he was a world-class brawler.
However, his lack of skill was easily preyed upon by technical maestros like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya. Regardless, Gatti brought the heat every time and won boxing fans across generations with his high-octane style.
Forever entwined in the pages of boxing history, the Ward-Gatti rivalry is one of the best ever. So if you want to know what kind of fighter Gatti was, watch that.
Sadly, Gatti was found dead in a hotel in Brazil while on vacation with his wife in 2009.
4) Erik Morales
Representing a third of the Mexican trifecta (which includes Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez), Erik “El Terrible” Morales was as tough a fighter as they come, and was the most durable of the three.
He was highly acclaimed for his ability to take direct punches to the face and not so much as flinch. Morales made sure that if you hit him with something good, you were getting one right back.
Don’t be fooled by his wiry frame. He may have appeared soft in the midsection, muscles devoid of definition. He often looked like a frail skeleton standing next to his more well-built opponents. But there wasn’t a soft bone in that man’s body.
The more Morales got hit, the stronger he got. Case in point, his first fight against Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao had that hype surrounding him after beating Barrera the first time, and many fans thought he would steamroll Morales with his speed and power. It turned out, Morales was the tougher, and stronger man that night, derailing the Pacquiao hype train early.
5) Israel Vazquez
It’s easy to overlook what Israel “Magnifico” Vazquez had achieved in his boxing career. The three-time super bantamweight world champion only spent a few good years in the limelight. But the time he did spend at the top, he spent it well.
Hailing from a country that produces arguably the toughest fighters in the sport, Vazquez was as tough a Mexican fighter as they come. He had four brutal fights against fellow Mexican fighter Rafael Marquez. And if you call yourself a boxing fan, you would serve yourself well to watch the series in its entirety.
Vazquez, who held the WBC and IBF world super-bantamweight titles, had no problem risking his physical well-being to win a fight. As long as he could stand by himself on his own two feet, he would never throw in the towel.
Unfortunately, that sort of mentality led to some pretty critical surgeries on his right eye, and he eventually lost his vision.
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