When is a Boxer's Prime?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by HDmexiqtioner, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. HDmexiqtioner

    HDmexiqtioner New Member Full Member

    Sep 1, 2020
    I find this subject quite interesting due to its subjectivity. It seems like when we talk about the boxers of old or that of the 90s, there seems to be an infatuation with the age of 24-29 for an "Ideal prime" of a boxer. I have heard from other boxing fans say that when a boxer reaches 30 that they are basically on the decline from here on in.

    But now it seems like the maturity of fighters seems to have a different lens because it seems like that "prime age" is now focused on 28-35, which is a huge contrast to the original mindset.

    Then you have enigmas like George Foreman, Manny Pacquiao, or Bernard Hopkins, where their longevity and style changes added a longer career, but there is a split in deciding on when their prime was. And with Floyd Mayweather of their long time success, when did their prime end since it wasn't from a loss?

    So my question is: When do you determine a fighter's prime? What feats do you see from a boxer that shows to you, "yes from XXXX to XXXX, this was their peak"?
    Richard M Murrieta likes this.
  2. Bujia

    Bujia Active Member Full Member

    Jul 2, 2020
    Depends on the fighter. The idea of a set age range for every boxer’s prime is ridiculous.
  3. CharlieFirpo85

    CharlieFirpo85 New Member Full Member

    Feb 26, 2020
    I think a boxers prime in generally is when athletics, experience, skills and menatlity result in the best possible mixture.
    I guess in the past many young boxers have boxed 200-500 rounds or 30-60 fights before their 25th birthday, and they learned a lot from that. They have to learn and adjust during a fight. Because for most of their opponents there was no pre-video study and this modern stuff. That's why many champions of the past already had good experience and high ring iq in their mid-20s. Today they fight 2-4 times per year, champions even only 1-2 times. I believe this could be a reason why many boxers are still so strong at 35. Of course scientific training, regeneration, nutrition, etc. also plays a role.
  4. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti Boxing Hagiographer Full Member

    Oct 28, 2017
    It depends. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    Some guys come into their primes in their late 20s, some are shot to bits by their mid 20s.

    Age is just one factor, there's also expeirence, mileage, fighting at their best weight etc.
    swagdelfadeel, Salty Dog and Bujia like this.
  5. Richard M Murrieta

    Richard M Murrieta Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jul 16, 2019
    When a fighter has matured both physically and mentally, his gifts blossom as he attains victories. And has the experience to encounter any difficult situation during a match with confidence, remaining cool.
    louis54 and Salty Dog like this.
  6. TBooze

    TBooze Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    As mentioned; how long is a piece of string?

    We have seen all sorts. From fighters who were burned out in the early 20s, to those who finally hit their stride at the end of a very long career.

    I suspect that generally the heavier a fighter, the later their prime.

    But as I suggest that is a general rule as Messrs Tyson and Matlala show.
    Richard M Murrieta and Bujia like this.
  7. elmaldito

    elmaldito Educating racists n da ring & streets since 98 Full Member

    Jun 11, 2009
    everybodies diff
    depends on genetics and how well you take care of yourself also how many punches you take
    Richard M Murrieta likes this.
  8. DanDaly

    DanDaly Active Member Full Member

    Apr 28, 2020
    There's no easy one size fits all answer but I think a good measuring stick to use is to analyze when a fighter is at their physical best along with their mental best. Typically I wouldn't call a first year pro with no amateur experience to be prime because while they may be game physically, they usually aren't there mentally. There has to be a nice overlap. For many fighters that start at 18-20 this generally might be in the 22-29 age range.

    There are a lot lot of stipulations. Guys that turn pro later, extensive amateur background, and ring wear all play a roll. A fighter that is fighting the best on rather frequent basis is going to burn out a bit quicker than a fighter that fights a couple times per year and has hand picked opponents until they get to the world stage.

    A lot of outliers exist as well like Jersey Joe Walcott. He turned pro at a young age, fought frequently when he was actually active, and had a long career however I'd say he was pretty close to his best through his first fight with Marciano. Maybe not at his best but still a great fighter.
  9. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    Broadly speaking, an athletes absolute peak, is at about 27/28.

    In practice, a lot more aspects come into play.

    For example I am certain that Jersey Joe Walcott was better in his mid 30s, than he ever was in his 20s.

    For my part, I am growing old disgracefully.
  10. KernowWarrior

    KernowWarrior Bob Fitzsimmons much bigger brother. Full Member

    Jul 12, 2012
    I am as guilty as any in saying that when a fighter has put a active big name(s) on their win record, then that was them in their prime, however it could well be that a fighter might actually be physically, mentally etc be in their prime during a period when in fact they are fighting not upper echelon opponents
    Richard M Murrieta likes this.
  11. PernellSweetPea

    PernellSweetPea Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Feb 26, 2009
  12. Saad54

    Saad54 Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Dec 10, 2014
    Each fighter is different.
    Richard M Murrieta likes this.
  13. Pepsi Dioxide

    Pepsi Dioxide Member Full Member

    Oct 22, 2020
    This is a great answer. If you want to see someone where they matured mentally too late for their physical gifts I would take a look at Golota. In the Byrd and Ruiz fights he is way more mature and less reckless than his 90s fights, but age and injuries had taken away a lot of his athletic skills he had in the 90s.

    Another factor is wear and tear. Look at guys in the 1920s/1930s, they fought all the time and were usually done/career over by late 20s, or some of the guys who had hundreds of amatuer bouts, or the guys who fought a lot of gym wars.
    Richard M Murrieta likes this.
  14. djanders

    djanders Well-Known Member Full Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    I believe that styles also come into play. Swarmers lose their primes early. Many, but not all, Swarmers are on the decline around 28 years of age. Boxers generally can hang around longer, as the experience and tricks they gain sometimes offsets the loss of speed. Many, but not all, Boxers are still in their primes at 33. Personally, I think heavy handed Sluggers and Hybrid Fighters can last the longest. Strength (Punch) is usually the last thing to go. I've seen some (not all) Sluggers who are still very dangerous at 36 plus. I agree that it always depends on the individual, how hard he trains, adjustments he's able to make, etc.
  15. swagdelfadeel

    swagdelfadeel Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jul 30, 2014
    Aren't you a marathon runner?
    Richard M Murrieta likes this.