Doesn't mean great, though some are, doesn't mean your favorites, though they may be. Guys like Carlos Monzon, Alexis Arguello and Khosai Galaxy share a lot of traits and fight the same way. Mike Tyson and Jack Dempsey look so much alike in the ring it is almost weird. Who are the guys you've seen either as they happened or on film who just seem really unlike other fighters? Here are some guys who have struck me that way:
Nikolay Valuev-I know it is an awful place to start and we've had other huge, hulking heavies. But Jeebuz Christmas the guy looks like BigFoot's older brother!
Dwight Muhammad Qawi-The Camden Buzzsaw was a great light heavy and a very good cruiser...at 5'5...that's three inches shorter than welterweight Andre Berto and with the same reach as Joshua Clottey. His bobbing and weaving approach was a little bit like Joe Frazier, but 5'5 at light heavy and cruiser? Unreal.
Ivan Calderon-I know he's Puerto Rican, but all I can think of is Speedy Gonzales. He's got this really muscular physique, but he can't punch with it, all he can do is move like Secretariat coming down the backstretch.
Wilfredo Benitez-An all-time great defensive fighter who not only was incredible along the ropes but seemed to prefer having his back to them. I can't think of another great defender who seemed to like being there, not trapped, not because his legs can no longer take him away, but in his comfort zone. He just didn't seem to need that lateral tool.
Johnny Tapia-This is not about technique or style or how he looked. This is all about how he seemed to feel and how he made his fans feel. For Mi Vida Loca there was never any trepidation in the ring, there was only joy. His incredible exuberance in the ring made Ali seem almost serious by comparison. Tapia in the ring was like a kid in a candy store.
Azumah Nelson-When the Professor began to feel a fight reaching a critical moment or felt he had turned the fight he would sometimes go into the Zulu Warrior pose in the middle of the action and his fans would roar. Then the stoic yet immensely fierce Nelson would kick his attack up a notch.
Roy Jones-I have simply never seen a fighter do so many things badly and have sufficient athleticism not only to overcome them, but to seeming create a whole new way of boxing.
Salvador Sanchez-Two things stand out when I see Sal in my mind. That bizarre afro-like haircut and his mouth being closed. I NEVER saw this man search for air. I NEVER could tell what color his mouthguard was because he never showed it during the action.
Bobby Chacon-Every other fighter I have ever seen, when you paralyzed him with a punch, the end was near. If you can freeze a fighter? Usually you can then get in four or five more shots before they can react. Chacon was weird. I have OFTEN seen him just shocked by a punch, stood straight up and unmoving for seemingly a full second. You can tell he's all fuzzy. But then it is like he hits a switch and instead of taking shots, he fights off the ropes and throws five or six meaningful punches in succession.
Benny Leonard-Had the greatest economy of movement I have ever seen. Lots of guys are flamboyant in their movements and can make a guy miss by three feet. What Leonard would do is make a guy miss by three inches while he stood in front of you so he could counter right back. You have to watch him over and over to see what he's doing because his movements are so efficient.
Emanuel Augustus-Anybody else ever do the Drunken Master thing?
Vito Antuofermo-He makes Arturo Gatti look like an underachiever. This stumpy middleweight (same dimensions as Andre Berto) hit like a lightweight, had the speed of a heavyweight and his skin made Chuck Wepner's look resilient. Yet somehow this guy became the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. I STILL can't figure it out.
Tommy Loughran-He might have had the most gifted left hand in history. He fought almost entirely one handed and beat great fighter after great fighter with it. Watching Loughran box it almosts looks like he's giving a master class on how the laft hyand is used. One almost expects the action to sop while Loughran turns to the camera to expalin to viewers what they just saw.
Joe Calzaghe-Believe the hype. he really did fight like a jazz musician plays. No predictable pathway, a ton of improvisation, yet somehow all of a piece. If you put a bag over his head and painted him black you'd still know it was Calzaghe.
Who am I wrong on and who have I left out?