August 13, 2019
The fact that most boxers can take headshots and not die or sustain permanent brain damage after so many rounds and fights still amazes me to this day. And hardcore fans of the sport agree that professional boxers hit a lot harder than those who take the sport’s training as a physical training regimen.
And while there are sports that emphasize more of stamina/endurance or power/strength separately, boxing requires both, as most professional bouts last 10-12 rounds and the protagonists must have amplified punching power for every bout. Boxers who are short of stamina/endurance or power/strength, or both, usually end up as journeymen or stepping stones.
In short, boxers could claim to be one of the best-conditioned or freakish athletes in the world
But there are a few boxers who can claim to be real freaks, and they are usually on top of the foodchain and are future Hall of Fame members. And what sets them apart are their physical attributes that make them, well, freakish.
For this issue, let me discuss why Manny Pacquiao and Deontay Wilder could be two of the most active freakish boxers in the sport today.
Pacquiao’s last fight showed that he was tough as nails. Although he absorbed more than 200 punches from a hard-hitting opponent in Keith Thurman, the Filipino nonetheless went 12 rounds and himself dished out almost 200 punches of his own against Thurman.
While I still believed the fight was a close one and not lopsided, a 40-year old like Pacquiao taking 200 punches from one of the hardest hitter in the welterweight (147 pounds) division and keeping the fight competitive speaks volumes of his being a freakish human being. Although Josesito Lopez and Shawn Porter also took more than 200 punches from Thurman, they are much younger than Pacquiao.
Thurman also said that Pacquiao hit hard and a 40-year old fighter getting that compliment also from a hard puncher simply proves that the Filipino is a once-in-lifetime fighter who will also be remembered for his freakishness.
While Pacquiao still hasn’t shown damage from his taking more than 200 punches from Thurman, I believe that it is high time he retired. Pushing one’s luck too far could have dire consequences.
Another boxer that I believe is a freak is Wilder, who despite being one of the tallest heavyweights at 6’7” is actually one of the lightest among the crop of champions in the division, fighting between 210 and 220 pounds.
The heavyweights of today are definitely bigger than those who fought during the era of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton and Larry Holmes. During their era, the heavyweights stood from 6’0” to 6’5” and weighed 200 to 230 pounds. Today’s heavyweights are really heavy, weighing 220 to 260 pounds and towering from 6’3” to 6’9”.
But Wilder is one of the lightest heavyweights today, giving up 20 to 50 pounds against his opponents.
In his more recent fight against Dominic Breazeale on May 18, Wilder weighed only 212.5 pounds while his opponent tipped the scales at 256.5 pounds, giving up 44 pounds. But on fight night, Wilder needed just one mean right cross to end the fight in the first round.
Wilder also weighed 212.5 pounds when he fought Tyson Fury to a draw in December 2018. Fury also weighed 256.5 pounds but was not able to push Wilder around. Wilder also decked Fury twice in the fight.
And in March 2018, Wilder, who was coming off a flu, weighed 214 pounds when he fought Luis Ortiz, then undefeated, who tipped the scales at 241.25 pounds. Wilder went to war against Ortiz and stopped him in 10 rounds.
If Wilder was a small fighter like, say, a welterweight, he would be strong enough to knock the daylights out of middleweights (160 pounds) or even super middleweights (168 pounds). That’s like Thurman or fellow welterweight Errol Spence Jr. knocking out world Canelo Alvarez or Callum Smith, who are The Ring champions in the middleweight and super middleweight divisions. And Thurman or Spence fighting as welterweights could not hold a candle against Alvarez or Smith.
So who else should join boxing’s freak list?
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