Boxing has always been about style. For fans of the sport, it’s not simply about who is fighting, but how they fight. No matter the fighter's specific technique—the swarmer, out-boxer, slugger or boxer-puncher—boxing’s best and most dominant athletes aren’t always the most exciting ones to watch.
In other words, boxing’s mythological pound-for-pound list usually looks a lot different from a list that ranks the most exciting fighting styles.
Richard Abril, for instance, is one of the top lightweights in the world and would give any fighter in that weight class a run for his money. But, Abril is also one of the most unpleasant boxers to watch and has no definable boxing style. ESPN’s Dan Rafael and MaxBoxing.com’s Steve Kim can attest to this:
So, how exactly can one rank the most exciting fighting styles? When determining who should make the list, I considered four key elements: fighters who possess knockout power, have high motors, face the best opposition consistently, and—most importantly—have the ability to take a big punch and dish it right back.
The aforementioned prerequisites hold true because fighters with these qualities provide an element of unpredictability in their fights. Keeping a large majority of spectators intrigued and on the edge of their seats usually requires a fighter to break from the "hit and don't get hit" axiom in boxing.
Arturo Gatti and Diego Corrales are two excellent historical examples. Gatti and Corrales were the quintessential blood-and-guts warriors. Regardless of if they won or not, Gatti and Corrales’ fighting styles always gave the fans a show.
By looking at a given fighter's performance in the ring—as opposed to his win-loss record—we can get the best understanding of how they rank. In terms of the criteria mentioned above, let’s take a look at the five boxers with the most exciting fighting style in the sport today.