Fans love to watch heavyweights go at it. Their sheer power and the possibility and thrill of a knockout keep eyeballs glued to bouts between the big guns.
Maybe this is where our fascination with power stems from. Maybe this is why beginners automatically gravitate to power, often sacrificing technique and speed in the pursuit of it.
But power isn’t everything. And if you’ve got speed on your side, you can beat a stronger fighter. In fact, I’m willingly to boldly state that…
SPEED BEATS POWER. Every. Single. Time.
If you don’t share my views in the speed vs power debate, here are four good reasons to put the lid on your thirst for power.
1. Fast Fighters Land More Punches
The obvious benefit of being faster than the other guy is that you have a better chance of landing more punches. You still need to be accurate, but by being faster and getting more shots off, you’ll (hopefully) land more and increase the likelihood of a knockout.
Not every fight’s going to end in a KO and scorecards settle many a bout – especially when it’s amateur boxing.
But if it does go to a points decision, who do you thinks going to win the bout: the fighter that’s landing a flurry of punches, or the guy that remains planted and is slow to pop off?
Fighters that are quick off the draw and strike faster than their opponent’s reactions will win more fights. Plain and simple.
2. Become a Ghost
Speed can make you invisible. You simply can’t hit what isn’t there.
If you can use your speed to become an evasive fighter, you will make yourself an extremely difficult target to hit.
Evasive fighters are a pain in the arse to fight as you constantly have to keep chasing them and adjusting your range to stand any chance of connecting. Quick footwork is a necessity to get within striking range.
The perfect fight would see you quickly step out of range or duck whenever your opponent throws, leaving him swinging at your shadow and exposed for a counter.
However, in a 12’ x 12’ ring, you quickly run out of places to run, and it’s highly likely you’ll get hit at some point. But by having quick reactions, at least you’ll…
3. Take Less Damage
Even if you get hit, being a responsive fighter will mean you’ll be able to quickly brace for the impact of the load in the milliseconds before impact.
The small act of exhaling and tightening your stomach muscles will save you from being winded when you get banged in the gut.
Or if you tuck your chin in and tighten your neck muscles just before taking one on the chin, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the blow.
Fighters with quick reactions perform these little defensive manoeuvres just before they get hit.
Subtle and quick movements that turn a clean connection into a glancing blow could be the difference between hitting the canvas and going another round.
4. Speed Leads to Power
Here’s the funny thing; working on your speed actually leads to increased punching power.
Power, or the force of your punch, is determined by how fast you can fling your fist and how much of your body weight you can get behind the punch.
After you’ve mastered punching technique, there’s not much you can do about your weight without becoming a “chunker” and losing your athleticism.
Becoming a lean, mean fighting machine is not impossible, but building functional mass requires a great deal of effort and will take time.
Therefore, the quickest gains in punching strength are achieved by working on your speed and popping off that little bit faster.
If you master rapid acceleration of the mass you do have, and can land it on the weak spots with deadly accuracy, you will have knockout power.
Stop concentrating on power, and you’ll find that it naturally comes. The order of priority should be sound technique, then speed, and then power.
(Main Image: Flickr / Stephen Carr)