Styles Make Fights
Possibly the most cherished idiom in all of boxing, “Styles Make Fights” is one of my favorite sayings as it pertains to life.
This phrase means, literally, it’s not how good you are or how bad your opponent is, but rather how you match up that will dictate who wins and who loses…or more importantly, how good a particular fight will be. If you take two classic counterpunchers and put them in a ring together…no matter how great those fighters are, that fight in and of itself is going to suck. Why? Because the two classic counterpunchers will more than likely wait for the other one to make the first overt move so they can, of course, counterpunch.
Now, the perfect fight happens when you have two opposing styles with simialr philosphies. For example, one of the greatest fights you will ever see in my humble but knowledgable opinion is Marvellous Marvin Hagler v. Sugar Ray Leonard.
Hagler liked to ATTACK. No, that’s not accurate. Hagler only knew how to attack. Put something in front of him, turn him loose, and watch him tear the fucking skin off of it. His brutality was matched only by the hardness of his bald head (that many a man broke his hand against) and his ability to cover what few mistakes he made with his power. Pure unadulterated power. He was, in a word; AWESOME.
Now, Sugar Ray? Sugar was as smooth as a fighter could possibly be. He could move and fire punches in and from any direction. His lateral movement was something that should be in textbooks. He was a “now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t” fighter who had enough stopping power to drop Tommy Hearns (No small feat) and enough firepower to make Roberto Duran say the now famous “No mas”. He would back up and slide, back up and slide and then as soon as he saw you make one mistake (a punch that was too slow getting pulled back, a misplaced step, a lowering of the hands) he would plant his back foot, tip his shoulder and fire off a series of punches that were devastating in their accuracy and all but invisible in their delivery…and then he’d be gone again…backing up, backing up…
Until it had happened so much that you realized now, suddenly, he was coming forward, and coming after you, and it was pretty much over by then.
They were completely opposite styles, but the exact same philosophy. ATTACK. They used completely different ways to do it, but their attacks were both equally the stuff of legend. And that made for the type of fight that anyone would love to see.
But the worst fights, like I said, are the ones where the styles may be similar, but the philosophies are diametrically opposed. For example, the type of fight where one person is ready to attack at the ding of the bell, and the other doesn’t even see the need to get in to the ring.