Boxing Styles (Hybrid and Specialty)
The Power of Adaptability

Learn the hybrid and specialty boxing styles. On page one of this training guide you already learned about the three basic styles that make up of the "framework."  Review them if you do not already have a full understanding of these basic styles. It will help you understand these more advanced styles taught here.

Hybrid / Specialty Styles:

Spectrum of Boxing Styles Framework (Three Basic Styles):

REMEMBER: Focusing on the style that matches your natural strengths and advantages will accelerate your skill development and competitiveness most rapidly. However your greatest strength will be to become a "Complete Fighter" who can adapt to any style and make adjustments during a fight in order to defeat any opponent no mater which style they have. 

Boxer - Puncher

Boxer - Puncher: A "Boxer - Puncher" can "box" long range from the outside and can "fight" inside just as well.  They have great footwork, speed, and explosive punching power!  Unlike a "boxer" who relies on legs and footwork to dance circles around their opponent, boxer-punchers are dangerous on the inside and outside.  Since they have true knockout power, they can catch their opponent attacking them, while they are boxing or they can become the aggressor and knock their opponent out by backing them up. It all depends on the strengths and abilities of their opponent and their fight plan to defeat them.  Having these diversified boxing skills and styles also allows boxer-punchers to switch back and forth between styles depending on if what they are doing is effective or not. 

Boxing Styles that "Boxers" May Have Trouble with:  The best "Boxer - Punchers" don't have much trouble with any of the three basic styles since they are versatile on each end of the Spectrum of Boxing Styles.  However a "pressure-fighter" with a granite chin and incredible head movement and ability to cut the ring off can give them some trouble. Other "boxer -punchers" can also be difficult to deal with depending on who is the better "boxer" and who is the better "puncher."  Both elusive and aggressive counter punchers can also compete with boxer-punchers, as long as they have a decent chin and excellent defensive skills to avoid their power. Yet it is the "complete-fighter" who can a make adjustments "on a dime" (instantly) from moment to moment can really give a boxer-puncher some trouble. 

The physical attributes of a "boxer-puncher" can vary widely. It depends if they started out as a natural puncher and learned how to "box", or if they were more of a natural "boxer" and with proper training developed their explosive power and learned how to "punch" and fight inside (much harder and takes much more time to do). 

As a Trainer:

As a trainer, I love to get a natural "puncher" then teach them how to "box" first and "fight inside" later, as I know fighting inside will come much more natural to them and be more instinctive.  It takes longer to develop them, but if you start them "punching" right away they may get so "high" on knocking out and stopping other beginners that it stunts their development and desire to learn more styles and skills. They may never realize that they're going to need more diversified "boxing" skills once they start fighting more experienced fighters.  The more seasoned boxers they compete against are going to be much harder to hit with their knockout punch! Remember: the ultimate goal is to become a complete fighter.  

Physical Attributes:

  • Tall to average height with a lean muscular build or short stocky muscular build (these shorter guys must become masterful at understanding their punching range to become good "boxers" on the outside).
  • Long arms & legs or short powerful arms and legs.


  • Fast Hands and Feet
  • Good Reflexes
  • Great Timing
  • Change Directions Quickly
  • Explosive Power

Elusive Counter-Puncher

Elusive Counter - Puncher: Elusive counter-punchers fight at the edge of the "pocket" (punching range) and are quick to slip and slide, bob and weave, or take a short step outside the pocket and right back in with their counter attack! 

They can give their opponent fits! If they are "south paws" on top of being "elusive counter-punchers" they give guys even more trouble.  Southpaws with this particular style gave me the most trouble throughout my personal boxing career. These guys are tricky! Every time you try to hit them they disappear. As soon as you realize they're gone, they're back a split-second later with a rapid two or three punch combination in your face! FRUSTRATING!!! You're thinking son-of-*%$# stay still so I can hit you! 

Inside of my boxing strategy training guide, I'll teach you some specific strategies (pot shotting is critical) and moves that work on these slick mother fu*#@$%'s! You won't even be able to compete with them unless you're a tremendous pressure fighter or  have a very sharp feint and quick hands with any other style. 

Boxing History of this Boxing Style:

Pernell Whitaker, trained by George Benton (The God Father of the Philly Shell) was an incredible elusive fighter with other dimensions to his style as well.  George Benton learned this elusive style of boxing from his former sparring partner Jimmy Collins, whose real name was Marcellus Smith. George said, * "He couldn't break a damn egg, but you couldn't hit him with a handful of rice." George Benton, an incredible fighter himself (see below) became one of the best trainers of the sweet science, starting as a trainer by working under Eddie Futch (also one of the best trainers ever). 

*Great Trainers: By Dave Anderson

 Benny Leonard, trained by Ray Arcel (another great trainer) was also a masterful elusive counter-puncher with multiple dimensions to his style. Benny began his boxing career back in 1911.  I could go on and on about boxing history, but let's get back to mastering different boxing styles.

Boxing Styles that "Elusive Counter-Puncher" May Have Trouble with:  Complete fighters can adapt and give them trouble. Pressure fighters with a viscous body attack and "punchers" who fight behind a feint and a left jab and double jab can throw their timing off can give them a bit of trouble.  Pure "boxers" who refuse to come forward make for a boring fight with elusive counter punchers. Competing against another elusive counter puncher makes for a chess match.  Aggressive counter punchers with a sharp feint, jab and masterful timing and distance can crowd elusive counter punchers and give them some trouble as well.  That being said, it is elusive counter punchers who give a many of the other styles trouble!

Physical Attributes:

  • Average to Short for their weight class (makes it easier for them to get under punches)
  • Lean muscle or average build. (a natural puncher with this style can be very dangerous)
  • Fast twitch muscles


  • Incredible body awareness
  • Excellent reflexes and timing
  • Masterful at maintaining range and picking angles to turn their opponent

Aggressive Counter Puncher

Aggressive Counter Puncher:  Aggressive counter-punchers will often use a version of a "Peek-a-Boo" style, originally created by Cus D'Amato (Mike Tyson's mentor and trainer).  Aggressive counter punchers fight in a much more "squared up" stance as they strategically inch their way inside of their opponents punching range, making their opponents uncomfortable and forcing them to at least jab or throw punches to get the aggressive counter-puncher off of them. As soon as their opponents punch, aggressive counter-punchers slip and slide, bob-and-weave and return fire or they "pot shot" hitting their opponent as they simultaneously move their head and feet to make them miss.  Watch this video clip to see this in action.   

Boxing Styles that "Aggressive Counter-Puncher" May Have Trouble with:  Boxers that have a sharp jab, double jab, and feint along with excellent footwork can be challenging for "aggressive counter punchers." Elusive counter punchers can also compete well against this style of boxing. It's the guys that keep moving and keep changing directions and levels that never "sit still" that can keep an aggressive counter puncher from setting them up that compete the best against this boxing style.

Physical Attributes:

  • Average height or short for their weight class
  • Solid muscular build 


  • Explosive Power
  • Quick Reflexes
  • Excellent Timing
  • Quick Feet (picking angles inside)

Pressure Fighter
A "Fan Friendly Boxing Style"

Pressure Fighters:  Pressure fighters fight in a much more "squared up" stance making it easier to slip and slide and bob & weave on both sides as they close the gap and attack from either side of their opponent once they get in punching range.  The best pressure fighters have excellent head movement, come in behind a jab and have a vicious body attack. They are also excellent at cutting off the ring and punishing their opponents once they get them on the ropes or trapped in a corner! Julio Cesar Chavez is one of the best pressure fighters ever. As a kid, he was my favorite fighter. Check out this video clip to see him in action applying relentless pressure and breaking down his opponents! I love his boxing style!

Boxing Styles that "Pressure Fighters" May Have Trouble with:  Really slick boxers with incredible foot work, and speed and a long sharp jab can sometimes give pressure fighters a hard time.  If a tall rangy boxer can keep them off of them they can be effective.  Boxer-Punchers that can "out box" a pressure fighter from the out side and "ring their bell" with some power shots on the inside can also give them trouble.  Aggressive counter-punchers who can crack (punch really hard) can also slow them down and give them trouble.

Battle Tested Experience: I remember getting a new team-mate in the Army World Class Athlete Program named James Webb. This guy was tall and skinny, yet he was a complete pressure fighter! It seemed like he threw a million punches a round!  During his first sparring session he sparred my close friend and team-mate Alex Ramos, who was a weight class lower than Webb.  Ramos couldn't keep Webb off of him! I was in the corner with Coach Basheer Abdullah and I told Ramos to catch Webb coming in with an overhand right!  But he couldn't execute because of Webb's relentless pressure!

A couple weeks later I got a chance to spar Webb and "get him back" for my little buddy Ramos!  I'm typically more of an aggressive counter-puncher, but with Webb's pressure style I planned to sit in the pocket in the middle of the ring, as I knew he would come straight at me.  At the beginning of the first round, I caught him with some nice power shots, over hand rights and my favorite left hook, "pot shots" while he was coming in.  He didn't like that power! I was a weight class heavier than him and had much more punching power and now he didn't know what to do.  His pressure was neutralized by my head movement and power and now he was forced to sit in the pocket and "match wits."  I had much more experience than him and had my way with him the rest of the sparring session.

At that time, all James knew how to do was come forward and overwhelm his opponents with pressure.  As time passed he learned how to use his height to "box" on the outside when he needed to, which added a new dimension to his style. He developed well over the next few years, as I moved on and got out of the Army due to injuries. I was really happy to see James Webb  become the Alternate at 147 lbs. for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team!  He also had a nice pro career as well. It pays to keep learning and James Webb had an incredible work ethic and desire to improve. If you're willing to put in the work to broaden your boxing style, who knows what's possible for you! 

Physical Attributes:

  • Short to Average height for weight class
  • Solid Muscular Build


  • Incredible Stamina
  • Strong Will to Conquer
  • Decent Punching Power
  • Great Body Puncher
  • Excellent Head Movement

Complete Fighter

Complete Fighter: Complete fighters can do it all! They can adapt to any style and range. They know how to fight on the inside and have great punching power. They know how to apply pressure and work the body. The can sit in the pocket and counter punch. They also know how to use their legs and "box" long range. They can switch back and forth between styles in an instant and at will. Nobody walks into the boxing gym the first day as a complete fighter. It takes years of discipline, dedication, and commitment to keep learning to become truly masterful at each style. Andre Ward is one of the best examples of a complete fighter that I can think of. Watch this video to see him at work! 

Boxing Styles that "Complete Fighters" May Have Trouble With:  Because of their ability to adapt to any boxing style and fight on the inside, outside, or mid-range complete fighters give other fighters trouble. They don't have too much trouble with anyone, unless they are a complete fighter as well and just better than them on any given day. A puncher has a chance to catch them and knock them out, but a complete fighter should know how to stay away from a punchers power shots and take away that possibility. That's what complete fighters specialize in, taking away their opponents possibility to defeat them. I encourage you to become a true student of boxing, accelerate your Boxing IQ, mastering strategies to compete against all styles in the Spectrum of Boxing Styles and of course, Keep Training Like a Champ!