I understand where you're coming from. I guess I think the answer is probably somewhere in the middle.You are on to it there. there is innate power in boxing, just like in baseball. you can improve it, but some guys are born with it, but that, in and of itself, doesn't make you great, in either activity. reflexes are sport specific; some people are more pre disposed to pick up that skill quickly than are others. fast hands... give me a few days and i can give you freaking FAST hands, not to mention power that you won't understand. Because I know how to teach your feet and your hips and your shoulders. It isn't hard.Are you suggesting that athleticism, however we define it, doesn't play a role in making a successful boxer?As a reply to several comments...
-RJJ relied on his athleticism, his reflexes, etc...he oriented them to boxing, and he fired his father for insisting he learn how to fight. He slowed down, he became a target with no chin, no heart, nothing to work with.
-Hopkins, on the other hand, had the heart to be a fighter. he focused the skills he had- had he focused them otherwise, maybe he could have beat Jones at basketball-and he had the heart to be a fighter. he learned and that skill has surpassed his athleticism and made him more money than his physicality ever did.
-reflexes will screw you. The whole motion of you avoiding an opponent's punch and countering it isn't based on you being faster. Ever wonder why so many fast guys hit an opponent so many clean shots and he's still there? It is like playing a 45 RPM record (??) at 78, it is out of time. You have to time your opponent.
-hand eye co-ordination does not necessarily translate. Just because you can hit a fastball does not mean you can slip and counter a jab. A guy, in 2006, brought his son to me, an all star Baseball player and a scratch level golfer. he was sure his son could fight- and I guess he could, big and strong he'd beat most of his peers. But to teach him to box...Balance is sport specific because you use your feet very differently.
Can a great trainer create a beautiful boxer who doesn't have a ton of athletic ability? Absolutely. If you are arguing skill is more important than athleticism in boxing, you won't get much argument from me, but most of the time, the elite guys have something special athletically. Perhaps it is god-given punching power, or incredible reflexes, or amazing sense of depth, or really fast hands, but usually there is an athletic quality or two that make a fighter special.
But the thing I am getting at is this...The quality to not only know how to punch hard, slip, bob weave, counter, all that, but to do it with an equally skilled and trained opponent trying to knock you out. And not only that, but, if you are really good, to deliberately expose yourself with the idea that it makes him easier to hit. THAt requires a mind set that is very rare, a willingness to expose one's self to harm that isn't common.
Gray - but you have to admit that there some people have faster hands than others, right? Also, are you suggesting that a "faster" boxer is typically one who knows how to combine the "feet, hips and shoulder movement" better than someone else?