Floyd Mayweather and the 8 Most Technical Fighters of All Time

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2012

Floyd Mayweather and the 8 Most Technical Fighters of All Time

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    They call it the "Sweet Science," and when it's applied by the best boxers in the world, it is a very apt description.

    The current generation of fighters is often dismissed by older fight fans, with the claims that today's boxers couldn't stand up to the competition of past generations. That's because we tend to remember only the best of the best and not the average and below-average fighters.

    Some of today's fighters have excellent technical skills, including Floyd Mayweather, who ranks with the best fighters ever. Manny Pacquiao is also very solid technically, but probably not in Mayweather's class.

    Here's a look at the eight best technical fighters of all time.

Sugar Ray Robinson

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    This sensational welterweight and middleweight had an amazing 25-year run that saw him fight professionally between 1940 and 1965.

    Robinson had a record of 175-19-6-2 and knocked out 109 opponents. Robinson had power, but his technical skill makes him the top fighter in the history of boxing. His movement was exceptional, and he used his speed, quickness and know-how to avoid punches. His left jab kept his opponents off balance and could also hurt them.

    Robinson had remarkable instincts, talent and skills.

    Robinson is widely recognized as the greatest boxer of all time. Even Roger Mayweather, Floyd Mayweather's uncle and trainer, believes Robinson was the superior ring technician (source: Bill Emes, BoxingScene.com).

Muhammad Ali

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    If we were ranking the best fighters of all time or the best heavyweights, Ali (56-5, 37 KOs) would finish behind Joe Louis, who had more punching power. However, when it comes to flat-out boxing skill, Ali is the best of all the heavyweights.

    He used movement as no heavyweight before or since (source: John F. McKenna, Boxing News 24). Ali was able to dominate opponents for many reasons including his left jab, great hand speed and ability to use head movement. His incredible quickness allowed him to outclass most boxers.

    The "Ali shuffle" was not only a crowd-pleasing move, it allowed him to deliver hard punches while remaining balanced, a key to his success throughout his stellar career.

Henry Armstrong

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    History remembers Henry Armstrong as one of the greatest lightweight and welterweight fighters of all time. He was incredibly active during his career that started in 1931 and ran until 1945, and he had a 150-21-10 record with 101 knockouts.

    Armstrong was an athletic and instinctive fighter who timed his punches with exceptional precision. He would use his jab to set up his combinations like few others and then would let loose with a barrage of punches that often left his opponents defenseless (source: cyberboxingzone.com).

Joe Louis

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    Almost certainly the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time. The only comparable heavyweight is Ali, but he could not come close to Louis in punching power.

    Louis (68-3) was one of the most dominant athletes of the 20th century, and his famous first-round knockout of Max Schmeling in 1938 is remembered as a transcendent moment in boxing history.

    Not only did Louis display his great athletic gifts in beating an excellent opponent, but it gave Americans a lift because the German Schmeling was seen as a representative of Nazi tyranny. Schmeling and Louis would later become good friends.

    Louis was one of the first great African-American heroes who was also recognized by the white mainstream. While Louis was not viewed as a great social statesman, he nevertheless became a hero to African-Americans because of his success in the ring.

    He did not have great foot speed, but he threw all punches with power, speed and technical skill.

Willie Pep

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    Pep (230-11-1) started his career by winning his first 63 fights. That's something that may never be achieved again.

    Pep was an incredibly skilled practitioner in the fistic arts with speed, quickness and accuracy being among his top attributes. However, Pep was without peer when it came to defensive ability. He could block punches with ease and avoid them. He made great opponents look amateurish as they regularly swung and missed badly.

    When he did get hit, Pep proved he could take a brutal punch and respond. An artist in the ring.

Floyd Mayweather

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    Floyd Mayweather (43-0) ranks with the greatest boxers of all time.

    He combines remarkable athletic ability with powerful punching and a desire to command the world's attention with his showmanship in the ring.

    Mayweather has all the punches, but his best may be his straight right that he can throw at any time. Most fighters will set up the hard right with a left jab, but Mayweather is not forced to follow that pattern. Mayweather can beat you with speed and movement, but he can also hurt opponents with his power as well.

Benny Leonard

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    Leonard was known for his punching speed and accuracy during a 21-year career between 1911-32 that saw him register an 85-5-1 record.

    Leonard was one of the top lightweights, and he excelled at maneuvering opponents around the ring, forcing them to miss and then making them look foolish as he let loose with his punches. He retired as lightweight champion in 1925, took seven years off and then won 18-of-19 fights.

Sugar Ray Leonard

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    Sugar Ray Leonard first gained prominence as an Olympic champion in 1976 and used his success in the Montreal Olympic games to springboard to an amazing career.

    Leonard turned off a lot of fight fans because of his self-promoting manner, but he had remarkable hand speed, ring generalship and surprising power. He beat supposedly superior fighters like Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler with his intelligence and strategy in the ring.

    Leonard had great defensive skills, but he could take a hard punch and rebound with power punches of his own. Leonard was 36-3-1 in his career and fought in five weight classes ranging from welterweight to light heavyweight.