Throughout history, boxers have consistently been at the center of all of popular combat sports. Today, they continue to entertain audiences with their power, ferocity, and technical knowledge; and inspire with their determination, heart, and will to win.
Speed, however, is a quality that differentiates a good boxer from a great boxer. It is a quality that has proven time and time again to out-effect all others, and one that never ceases to keep audiences watching in amazement and awe.
Today, Evolve Daily takes a look at the 5 fastest boxers in history:
1) Sugar Ray Leonard
As one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing of all time, Sugar Ray Leonard was a truly gifted boxer that had it all; speed, power, finesse, heart, and the list goes on and on. Leonard first won over the hearts of fans all around the world at the 1976 Olympics where he won the gold medal.
He would later go on to shape the landscape of boxing in the 80s and 90s. Influenced by the great Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali, Leonard’s style, hand speed and footwork are unparalleled. He also had the power and tremendous finishing instinct to back up his speed. Leonard is the only man to have defeated all of the greatest boxing legends of his time such as Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvelous Marvin Hagler
2) Muhammad Ali
In the sport of boxing, Muhammad Ali needs no introduction. Ali’s famous boxing style, abilities, speed, and personality as a 6’3”, 200lb heavyweight remain unprecedented till this day. His legend transcended the sport of boxing and also went on to change landscapes and ideals outside of the sport.
Ali’s performances in the ring across a 21-year long career never fail to amaze even the most critical of boxing fans and experts. His wins over legends like Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman are a testament to his speed and abilities in the ring.
As Jim Lampley puts it during one of Manny Pacquiao’s famous fights, “Pacquiao’s hands are blindingly fast!” Pacquiao’s inhuman speed is a spectacle to watch and the fact that he has carried that speed (and power) across eight different weight classes is unfathomable.
After his loss to Pacquiao, Brandon Rios compared fighting Pacquiao to fighting an octopus simply because Pacquiao’s hands were so fast he felt like he was getting hit with 8 different hands! Former foes like Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and Antonio Margarito can all attest to that fact.
4) Roy Jones Jr.
Roy Jones Jr.’s in-ring abilities brought life to boxing during a time many considered to be one of the sport’s lowest points in history.
Roy Jones Jr. athleticism and speed provided for some of the most jaw-dropping moments in the sport. Moments that include throwing a knockout punch from behind his back. Like many of the other boxers on this list, Roy Jones Jr. was slick, fast and managed to do things never before seen in the sport of boxing.
5) Pernell Whitaker
Pernell Whitaker is affectionately known in the boxing world as “Sweet Pea”. Whitaker had speed in his hands and legs.He was lightning quick with his jab and perhaps even quicker with the way he moved in the ring, making him most likely the hardest boxer to hit on this list.
Elusive, quick-handed, and skilled, Whitaker was so fast he made even his most formidable opponents look bad.
Though speed and quickness in boxing might look like God-given talents at times, let us not forget that having speed in any martial art is a product of hard work and dedication in the gym. Let the boxers on this list continue to inspire you to work harder to get better and faster!