By - Flowbees
Genetics are huge. I see it time and time again. There are people in the gym walking around that still can't sync up their hands and feet after 2 years of training, they don't get their hips into their shots or they just are shit at sparring.
Same with intelligence, you'll see that the most ATGs are also really intelligent people. Fight IQ doesn't come from nothing. intelligence does not equal education tho, big distinction.
That said, I bet the most gifted fighter of all time was probably ruined in the gym. Too much reckless sparring and shitty trainers are the no. 1 factor of a guy not being able to progress, even worse than genetics
> That said, I bet the most gifted fighter of all time was probably ruined in the gym.
I like this one a lot and I fully agree. Or maybe they never even put on a pair of gloves, or was just lazy, or had personal tragedies, or just had other commitments they prioritized.
Jep, also very likely. Why do boxing when you're so genetically blessed. Being blessed in boxing means there are probably avenues for you that you could do without getting brain damage.
I also suspect great boxers being pretty high on the creative scale aswell, because of two things. To solve a difficult problem you gotta be creative in your thinking and secondly because the shit boxers get up to during and after their boxing career. A lot of them dabbled in acting, music, some in painting etc. I mean, just right now, Fury loves to sing and has a single, Wilder has a single, too, AJ likes to spit bars, back then Frazier had a band, even SRR tried to make it in acting and music. There are countless examples.
Which I also suspect is a reason why less people turn to boxing and the top people now are not as high in their fight IQ as people before. You could turn to SoundCloud and produce your own songs easily. Back then there were much less alternatives for poor people to make money with their creativity
Also a deprivation thing. Traditionally Jews and Italians were big in boxing due to the poverty and desperation the early immigrants were in. Now that they’ve largely risen out of this, we see less of them in boxing.
Meanwhile there are still many black Americans over represented in the likes of boxing, nfl erc
Joe Joyce has had some success as a painter!
I see your point here - I wrote a lengthy comment but didn’t categorise hand eye co-ordination as a genetic trait. Do you think that’s genetic?
Absolutely. It is obviously object to change by training, but there is only so much you can do and everyone's ceiling is dependent on genetics
Does being an ATG in fighting mean you are an intelligent person? (If I misunderstood what you were saying I apologize) George Foreman once said that to be a fighter or boxer you have to be stupid and halfway crazy. I wouldn't call guys like Jon Jones or Evander Holyfield very intelligent (meaning no offense in Evander's case)
Well, intelligence and being fucked in the head are not mutually exclusive, sadly. Basically intelligence is just how good and fast you are at problem solving, learning and adapting.
It's a combination of different types of intelligence I would say.
I agree with everything you say. It’s pretty much like that for every pro sport. Just about every pro golfer, for example, has said it’s always been “easy” for them.
With that said: quality, proper, consistent training is what keeps the boxers in the game a long time. Diet, road work, studying, etc are all mandatory for a career in boxing. It’s almost a year long sport. Furthermore, “luck” factors in as well. A injury can derail a career (granted, proper training/conditioning and diet can help prevent injuries, and proper treatment/PT helps the recovery).
> With that said: quality, proper, consistent training is what keeps the boxers in the game a long time. Diet, road work, studying, etc are all mandatory for a career in boxing. It’s almost a year long sport. Furthermore, “luck” factors in as well. A injury can derail a career (granted, proper training/conditioning and diet can help prevent injuries, and proper treatment/PT helps the recovery).
Absolutely true, which is why they also have smart teams, mostly
>Same with intelligence, you'll see that the most ATGs are also really intelligent people. Fight IQ doesn't come from nothing. intelligence does not equal education tho, big distinction.
he's right. Some people's brains are predisposed to work a certain way. It's impossible to know as an individual though, and a great deal of it can be trained
Good shout, your last paragraph is especially true also. I’d wager that most ATG talent nowadays probably doesn’t even want to get into boxing at a pro level, due to there being so many viable career paths that don’t involve taking lifechanging damage just for a shot at the top. We wouldn’t know who is truly the best unless we could train every single man since birth just to fight, and then have a huge tourney.
Just genetic variation. Some people have different muscle mass and insertion genetics, different bone and ligament structure. You get heavy punchers in all different shapes and sizes, slim or stout. Explosive or thudding. Different combinations can make for different styles. Generally Tyson's or Canelo's build is good for powerful hooks, Hearns' or Wilder's will wind up a lightening overhand, they're more suited to longer shots.
Chin genetics seem linked to head size and neck length. Generally the thicker and shorter the neck, bigger the head, the better you'll take a shot. There's other variables there too.
Then general coordination and athletic ability, as others have addressed
The Klistchko’s were blessed with great genetics. Tall, great body frame, and pure athleticism. John Ruiz on the other hand, wasn’t as tall, not as “built” per say and wasn’t as athletic. You can see the genetic advantage the Klistchko’s had compared to other heavyweights.
>John Ruiz on the other hand,
Do you agree that even John Ruiz had elite genetics?
Someone with shit genetics isn't going to become a top-10 heavyweight, regardless of how much "good ol' hard work" they put into it.
Ruiz may have had bad genetics compared to the Klitsckos, but he still has better genetics than 99.9% of other people.
Yes I do agree John Ruiz stood out from the general population, dudes a natural heavyweight lmao. But compared to the Klistchko’s, John Ruiz wasn’t as genetically gifted as them.
Genetics play a large role in every sport, they play a large role in almost everything tbh. Smart people typically have smart kids, strong people typically have strong kids, fast people typically have fast kids.
In boxing specifically there's a few genetic traits that really help if you have them. Bone density is a big one (and pretty apt currently as Joe Joyce just fought and he apparently has really fucking dense bones). Having the right balance of fast and slow twitch muscle fibres is another one, it would also help to have naturally high testosterone production.
There's all sorts of genetic shit that goes into being a good boxer. Obviously hard work and dedication is a big factor as well, but you could argue that the desire/ability to work very hard is also kind of genetic.
Genetics are a so so when it comes to boxing. There's so many different body types that do so good in boxing. You can't say that X body type (genetics) is the key to becoming a successful boxer.
Some examples of this variation are Tyson and Tyson Fury. Both great Heavyweight and both completely different in genetics. Pacquiao and JMM who again both different.
So there's no one type really. So much so as many other sports.
Genetics are a large piece of the puzzle (for all sports), but they aren't the whole picture. You can somewhat compensate with mediocre genetics with other factors like grit/work ethic...but if your genetics are dogshit, then it's a nonestarter.
What makes a good chin? Bone density and structure maybe...likely other factors too. A person must be pretty robust in general and not prone to injury, and be able to sustain long periods of intense training.
I would like to add, not every champion we see won the genetic lottery...and not every failed boxer has poor genetics. There are many guys that never made it because they didn't get a break. Maybe they won the genetic lottery, but pissed their oppurtunity away...or had some other form of bad luck or even politics.
It's interesting to wonder how many world champions there are walking around, but they never picked up a pair of boxing gloves. Or world record breaking 100m sprinters, that never went to that athletics club.
Genetics set your ceiling. Life experiences can take you up to that limit, and no further.
It's the same with literally anything, sports, academics, arts, etc.
Marvin Hagler, Tex Cobb, Jack Dempsey, Sugar Ray Leonard, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, Leroy Caldwell, Larry Holmes, Jake Lamotta, George Foreman are/were genetically blessed. Plenty of boxers punch hard, have athletic ability or have a great ability to take punches without getting hurt in a fight but very few can make it to older age and show that they never boxed in their lives.
Genetics are 99.9% of the equation IF you were to take an average man in the street, and compared him to the top 1% of the most naturally gifted 'units' in the street... If they are both untrained the 'big guy' wins because of his genes (putting aside any potential difference in nutrition).
If you look at the elites of boxing however, things get quite murky... everyone who is there, is there because they are some kind of freak of nature (exceptionally more powerful, faster and co-ordinated than the average person)... but RELATIVE to each OTHER, the learned skills, training and nutrition/supplements are giving these athletes 'the edge'.
Of course you will always have someone like Joe Joyce where the 'chin' is half of his entire game. But in 'principle' with enough time and the right gameplay any of the top 30 heavyweights COULD win against Joyce... if they spent 5 years and put every conceivable resource into planning to beat a single man - then they COULD... and that shows the degree of flexibility afforded by factors beyond 'simple' genetics.
But of course... genes are more than just physical attributes. But that is another topic.
I like this take the most. Boxing has and will always be a game of "if it works it works". You can literally be a gold medalist sprinter or powerlifter equivalent in terms of speed and force generation and still lose to a pillow fisted fat fuck like Jared Miller. Hell, as we have seen with athletically gifted people like former pro athletes who took up boxing, it really comes down to the individual on how well their genetic gifts will translate into the ring.
I am in no way professionally qualified to answer this, but in my opinion - I’d say fighting would probably have more to do with mindset, will power, talent and hard work over genetics?
Also, would come down to perspective as well wouldn’t it? What would be considered great genetics for boxing? There are so many different builds that are used so differently.
You have Mike Tyson who’s a genetic freak - absolute outlier. Manny pacquiao who arguably carried his power through 8 weight classes - outlier. Tyson fury, big man who glides in the ring - outlier. Roy Jones jnr - super outlier..
Then we got the likes of Paulie Malignaggi…? Not a great but made it to the peak of boxing. JMM, Marcos Maidana.. I’d even put Usyk and Floyd mayweather in the list of not genetically gifted compared to their peers - I’d categorise these blokes as disciplined hard workers with the talent for boxing, over genetically gifted.
Floyd is an absolute genetically blessed person. Long ass reach, great power, very fast, good chin and quite intelligent. Note that intelligence doesn't equal education.
Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard. That said hard work is fucked when the talent is also a hard worker
They're all blessed, but not to the same degree
I trained in a boxing gym in Philly about 25 yrs ago and there was an old guy who trained there almost daily. He would bounce around the gym shouting "Boxing, 10% physical and 90% mental". I would blow him off and think he was a bit off. I found out REAL quick that what he said is true when I showed up unprepared for a fight. ☠️
>hard work over genetics
We'd all love to believe that, but its not reality.
For any sport, genetics is usually the final factor that seperates the really good athletes from the world level elites.
Anybody can train like hell and become super good at any sport, but if you're not genetically inclined in some way you just wont be able to break into that top echelon.
I think Chris Algieri is a great athlete by most human standards who worked hard to get to where he did in boxing, and I respect the guy for maximizing his potential. That said I think he's missing genetic traits that make boxers great. There are a lot things you can work on and you improve upon, but certain things you either have or you don't. Watching the Keyshawn Davis vs Omar Tienda fight on Friday's Shakur Stevenson undercard, it just looked like Tienda had some of the worst coordination I've seen in the sport. I mean his legs and his hands didn't seem to be on the same page and he just seemed unusually unstable. I guess that's more the opposite of guys with ridiculous coordination like Loma. Coordination, hand speed, power, chin are just a few things that some guys can be more gifted than others. Those things are needed to separate from others at the top level.
Go look at a picture of 14-15 year old Mike Tyson. He looked like a 22 year old fully grown man. He definitely had an advantage over other fighters his age.
Roy Jones Jr had some of the fastest reflexes I've ever seen in boxing.
George Forman has a head like a brick. I don't think he's ever actually been knocked out (he was completely gassed in the Ali fight) and he fought until he was close to 50... He was way past it the last few years to be fair.
Bernard Hopkins actually fought at a very high level past 50. I'm around 50 and I pull muscles cooking dinner. Lol
Some people never develop punching power, they say you either have it or you don't. You can only improve it a certain amount with techniques and training but you can't turn someone with very little power into a knock out puncher.
We are still basically understanding human genetics so there is no way people can accurately tell you that it is a huge deal or not. We believe it might be but it could quite possible not to be either.
Quite a bit. Technically anyone who’s able bodied can box, but those guys at the top who could take the biggest punches, dish out the most punishment, and had peak athleticism were born that way.
Genetics play a significant role in any athletic competition, including boxing. We have a bajillion weight classes in boxing because of genetics.