In my isolated boredom I have decided to once again look into the enigma represented by the term "chin" by boxing enthusiasts, participants and officials.The idiom "chin" of course refers to the ebility of a fighter to withstand punishment to the head, face and jaw.
Anyone who has watched a boxing contest, passed briefly through a gym or even spoken to a recently initiated amateur will have heard the reference and will have been quickly educated of its importanace in all of the fistic arts. A fan will have noted the downfall of many a seemingly great prospect due to a defficiency in this department (see Bernard Dunne,) any Tariner will tell you of young fighters who have the full package yet will never become anyone because of their lack of tolerance for pain and every individyual who has ever sparred will depict their threshold for pain and it's limitations.
So it is evident that "chin" is a subject upon which there has been a lot of study, discussion and debate. Yet there remains a sever lack of knowledge as to it's limits, improvement and even as to it's physiology; Is it related to mentality, genetics, physical condition, age
In my analysis of a boxer's ability to deal with punishment inflicted on him, I took note of a number of fighters reputed for their tolerance for pain and their ability to withstand punishment.
Fighters that immediatly sprung to mind included Marvin Hagler, James Toney, Jake LaMotta, Joe Frazier, Wayne McCullough, Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, Rocky Marciano and Henry Armstrong.
My initial thought was that perhapos fighters reputeed for their chins never left their weight class and never had their chins tested, but I was contradicted by the names Toney , Holyfield and Armstrong. In search of a common trait it was easy to identify each was in tremendous condition for their fights (Toney excluded.) They were all possessed of well conditioned neck and trapezius muscle. And of course they were all fiercely determined competitors at a world level.
This would indicate that the limitations of a fighter's chin is determined by his genetical muscular make up and his preparation preceeding his bout.
This seems to conflict with the numerous fighters who prepare to the best of their abilities yet lose late via KO. (I.E RICKY, Oscar Bonavena, Karmazin, Tommy Hearns etc.) yet get KO'ed late. Fantastic fighters, who all werre stopped late.
This delves into the mental side of the fighter's preparation.
Does a fighter's blatant refusal to go down or be stopped contribute to the ability to sustain punishment?
In my view almost certainly. McCullough stayed on his feet against many of the world's most respected punchers without submission, LaMotta had six wars with the world's finest pugilist without once being KO'ed and Gerald McClellan beat the world's p4p hardest hitter (imo) twice!
From my own boxing I do find that the ability to take punishment to the head is relative to one'ds physical fitness and indeed mentality. Although I've never been off my feet I find that punches seem to hurt more when the mindframe is'nt 100% focused.I have also had my thoughts confirmed by a colleague who stated he felt punches "bouncing" off him when at peak fitness and confidence.
One must question the chins of even the greatest of fighters too. Hagler had only one questionable knockdown in his career yet his chin was supplemented by a tight defence and he kept the chin tucked. Toney similarly.
So to my mind chin remains and unsolved mystery. The only hints I can steal from past greats is to develop neck and trapezius muscles, keep in good cardio vascular shape between fights and keep an aggresive mentality.