The battle of power versus speed will go on forever, like fire versus ice. Both features are highly sought after in fighters but which one do boxers and trainers look for most? I asked around and got a unanimous answer, that answer was speed. I will have to respectfully disagree.
I asked a few professionals and here are some of the responses I received back. Don ‘Da Bomb’ George kept it simple saying “Speed is power”. Roy Jones and I had a brief conversation on the subject of if he had to choose speed or power. Roy replied with “Speed kills ask bad Chad”. I had to argue for the sake of arguing so I came back with “So does power ask Mike Jones”. Mike Jones was knocked out by Randall Bailey earlier this year, when he had won every round up until the 10th. That is when Bailey landed a uppercut that Jones could not recover from. Roy, not missing a beat, fires back with “Boxing is a unique sport. A puncher always has a chance”.
Speed does kill, without a doubt. The biggest reason being is that the punch you did not see coming is the one that does the most damage or knocks you out. Oscar De La Hoya, Muhammad Ali, and Roy Jones himself are all examples of devastating speed. All the guys I mentioned are quick but not extremely powerful. Behind their speed they have a degree of skill because raw speed isn’t enough to win a fight, let alone a championship. Power, however is a different story.
Power is the one thing that can keep you in a fight, even when you are severely out classed in almost every way. No matter what a puncher always has a chance, Roy said it best. Rocky Marciano was not a skilled boxer but it really didn’t matter because he is one of the hardest punchers in the history of the sport. George Foreman also did not have great hand speed or footwork, yet he won a title at 45 years old with a simple one two combination knocking out Michael Moore. Why would George Foreman waste his time at boxing and being a skilled fighter when his best chance of winning was by knockout anyway?
Power and speed are lethal but when combined they become an unstoppable force. There are only a rare few boxers that has had devastating speed and power. The first guy who comes to mind is (pre-jail) Mike Tyson. Although I could not reach Mike Tyson for a quote, I imagine he would go with speed if he had to choose between it and power. Some of you may say but Tyson relied on power most of his career and you may be right but that’s not how Cus D’Amato trained him. He used to tell mike “speed kills, speed is what kills.”
Speed and power are both naturally given gifts, either you have them or you don’t. Sure a trainer can improve them slightly but true power and speed cannot be taught. If I was to train a boxer I would look more for power, why you might ask? As Roy Jones said earlier “a puncher always has a chance”. So if you back a puncher with a skill set he’s going to have a lot more ‘chances’ to win. I don’t know about you but I would rather have a fighter that has a chance no matter what position he is in. Power is the ultimate equalizer and with it you are never out of the fight. When you have power you are always a arms length away from a victory.
Don’t agree with me? Leave your comments below. Boxing heads can also follow me on twitter at @lucasbiggers213.