Originally Posted by hobgoblin
Suprisingly, I heard Tommy Hearns started off without being much of a puncher and then with some training - BAM (I thought puncher's are born? I only follow heavyweights so I can't say much on this - I just heard. Sure, moving down in weightclass can make your power more apparent but I don't think that is what Tommy did. Can anyone shed light into this if what I say has any truth?).
Manny Steward actually said Tommy "hit like a girl," with his right hand, and that stablemate Milt McCrory was a harder puncher with his hook, when he started with his hand in the proper upright position.
Some punchers are made, others are born, some are a combination of both. Benny Leonard didn't start out as a hard puncher, but made a concentrated effort to cultivate his power. He made an abrupt breakthrough he was never able to explain, and suddenly possessed the ability to punch with leverage. It took Dempsey a full quarter century to analyze and explain how he did what came naturally to him during his career.
I think Ali was in fact a harder puncher than Larry Holmes. Larry only dropped two of his title challemgers for a full ten seconds (Evangelista and Zanon), but stopped 13 others before the time limit expired. Had chronic hand and arm trouble, yet stopped 34 of his 48 opponents by the time he defended his title against Mike Spinks.
There are reports that Willie Pep could hit when he chose to bang hard, but he's generally described as feather fisted. Regardless, his final stoppage total of 65 kayos is higher than the total number of most career matches by contemporary boxers.
Speedster Nino LaRocca had 54 kayos in 75 wins, mainly because of the sheer volumn of punches he delivered. A greyhound with gloves, he tried to punch out Bobby Joe Young in a single round, but failing that, Nino began racing around the ring, peppering Young relentlessly, raining in blows until Young's resistance crumbled.
Although Jose Luis Ramirez knocked Arguello on his keister with a flash knockdown, he never impressed me with his punching power. Yet, Jose posted 82 stoppage wins out of 102 victories, a higher percentage than friend and stablemate JC Chavez, by a margin of one single bout.