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Boxing's Best Jabs of All Time

Updated on August 5, 2017

Pictures of Great Fighters

Old Larry Holmes putting the Stick to Oliver McCall in his mid forties. Holmes has the second most defenses of the heavyweight crown with 20.
Old Larry Holmes putting the Stick to Oliver McCall in his mid forties. Holmes has the second most defenses of the heavyweight crown with 20. | Source
Joe Louis snapping a hard jab into Jersey Joe Walcott's Face. The two fought twice with Louis winning by disputed decision and by knockout in the second bout.
Joe Louis snapping a hard jab into Jersey Joe Walcott's Face. The two fought twice with Louis winning by disputed decision and by knockout in the second bout. | Source
Pernell Whitaker jabs Buddy McGirt on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Sweet Pea beat McGirt both times they fought.
Pernell Whitaker jabs Buddy McGirt on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Sweet Pea beat McGirt both times they fought. | Source
The Young Muhammad Ali had a Masterful Jab and his reflexes were second to none especially for a heavyweight champion.
The Young Muhammad Ali had a Masterful Jab and his reflexes were second to none especially for a heavyweight champion. | Source
Sugar Ray Robinson throws a jab at a heavybag that Joe Louis is holding. Robinson is considered pound for pound the best boxer in history.
Sugar Ray Robinson throws a jab at a heavybag that Joe Louis is holding. Robinson is considered pound for pound the best boxer in history. | Source

Legends of the Game

1. Larry Holmes: The Easton Assassin was a master at the stick. He won many of his fights with his jab alone. He held the title for seven years and defended it twenty times. The jab help set up his straight right and his uppercut. He could snap it out very fast or use it as a range finder. Either way it was fast, accurate and it was powerful as it was known for swelling eyes and opening cuts on his opponents faces. Among others Homes has beaten Ken Norton, Muhammad Ali, Ray Mercer and Gerry Cooney.

2. Joe Louis: The Brown Bomber threw his jab like some boxers throw a right hand. It was hard and accurate. He used his stick to set up his great combination punching. Louis holds the record for most Title defenses with 25. Louis has scored several knock downs with his jab alone. Louis used double jabs and jabs to the body very well and his stick has helped him win many bouts. Louis beat Jersey Joe Walcott, Joey Maxim, Max Schmeling and Max Baer during his fantastic ring career.

3. Sugar Ray Robinson: Sugar Ray is considered the best fighter ever and on offense his jab started it all. He was great at feinting the jab and excellent and throwing multiple jabs to set up his deadly bombs. Robinson has pulled fights out of the bag by just sticking to his footwork and his stick. He was excellent and mixing jabs to the head and body and hooking off the jab too! Robinson has victories over Rocky Graziano, Carmen Basilio, Kid Gavilan, Jake La Motta and Gene Fullmer just to name a few. Robinson was an offensive master and it all started with his excellent stick.

4. Willie Pep: The Will of the Wisp as he was called was a brilliant boxer and a defensive wiz. His jab was not very hard but, it was pesky and accurate. If Pep only used his jab in his bouts, he still would be a Featherweight Boxing Legend. Pep out boxed Sandy Saddler and Chalky Wright to win his Featherweight World Championship.

5. Benny Leonard: Leonard is one of the finest Lightweight Champions in history. His boxing skill and power are his biggest assets. His jab was a pole and it left opponents confused and open to Benny's deadly right cross. Leonard was known to wobble and bust up his opposition with his hard jab before closing the show with his follow up.

6. Muhammad Ali: Ali was known to dance on his toes flicking out jabs and piling up points. Ali had speed, reflexes and a great jab, which enabled him to win many fights without receiving much damage himself. His jab provided more of a defense for Ali than his head movement and blocking did.

7. Pernell Whitaker: Sweet Pea used his stiff jab as defense as much as he ever did for offense. Whitaker had the best southpaw jab ever seen and it blinded opponents from getting set to throw their own punches. Many of his bouts were won with the jab alone as far as offense goes. Whitaker jabbed up and down and used feints to control his foes' movements in the squared circle.

8. Sugar Ray Leonard: Leonard had a masterful jab that was good enough to control Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns and Marvin Hagler. Sugar Ray was known to throw 30 sticks per round in some bouts. The jab was Leonard's bread and butter during his prime. Leonard jabbed to the head and body with perfect timing and sometimes would throw four and five in rapid fire combination.

9. Ezzard Charles: The Cincinnati Cobra was the best Light Heavyweight Champion in history and his boxing skills were second to none. Ezzard had a long, hard jab that kept great fighters at bay for long stretches at a time. He used his stick in different ways and shot it out from odd angles, sometimes the jab was hard and sometimes fast.

10. Tommy Hearns: The Hitman was a murderous puncher but, when it was time to box a smart fight Hearns had a long and deadly jab that was accurate. Between his power and his jab which he used to set up his power, he was almost, unbeatable. Hearns used his range finder to punish Sugar Ray Leonard (Second Bout) and Roberto Duran.

Sugar Ray vs. Hit Man

Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns trade jabs in their epic first bout in which Leonard rallied to win by 14th round knockout.
Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns trade jabs in their epic first bout in which Leonard rallied to win by 14th round knockout. | Source

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Muhammad Ali

Ali's Jab

Muhammad Ali has won many fights with his jab alone. It was fast, accurate and hard. Ali even counter punched with his stiff jab. The stick was his bread and butter. Ali used the jab to set up his strait right and he also would throw quick left hooks while working off the jab. In his prime Ali piled up points with his stick and follow up strait right.

© 2012 Buster Johnson

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      Leslie 2 years ago

      Foreman had a great jab but it was his power that won his bouts not his jab. As an old man by the way he was out jabbed by Holyfield, Michael Moorer and even Alex Stewart. And as a young boxer his jab was not even their against Jimmy Young who easily out jabbed him and against Ali also. I'm a big Foreman fan too though.

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      Larry Davis 2 years ago

      Are you all crazy? Where is George Foreman? Have you seen his jab even as an old man....such snap, such power! Check it out. For sheer power and accuracy,Foreman was best. Ask any fighter that fought him. He had the best, hardest jab in the business!

    • lesliebyars profile image
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      Buster Johnson 4 years ago from Alabama

      Hearns did outjab Leonard then he got knocked out

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      KT23 4 years ago

      Wow... Hearns out jabbed Sugar Ray all day. The Hitman should be much higher. Holmes deserves it though.

    • kmize71 profile image

      kmize71 4 years ago from Florida

      Great list and good to see Larry Holmes getting some shine. His jab was arguably his best weapon. Can't argue with Sweatpea either.

    • S.Graveson profile image

      S.Graveson 5 years ago from Cumbria, UK

      Personally I'd have Lennox Lewis in there, but great list. Shame the jab is a dying art form with only a handful of fighters really using them properly now a days (Felix Sturm, Wladimir Klitschko, Anelmo Moreno and Miguel Vazquez being stand outs for me).