Comparisons Between Jack Dempsey and Floyd Patterson

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Comparisons Between Jack Dempsey and Floyd Patterson

Taken from Eastside Boxing. This guy pointed out some great comparisons in their crouching, explosive styles and even posted clips to back up his facts.

There's some confusion on the forum about a comparison Seamus made in another thread between Patterson and Dempsey in terms of their styles.  I thought it would be interesting to have a look at what makes this such a widely held opinion these days.

Before I begin, just to stress that this is a [I]stylistic comparison[/I].  Dempsey fans shouldn't get upset because their fighter had a better chin any more than Patterson fan would get upset because their fighter is faster.  It's a comparison of [U]styles[/U].

For footage, I've got Moore and Brennan.  Firpo and Willard are no good for obvious reasons, and whilst Tunney II would serve, I think Burt might hunt me down and cut my throat :D  So here we go:

1 - The Crouch
First we need to acknowledge the differences.  Dempsey's crouch is lower oftentimes on account of he carries his hands lower whilst Patterson has the famous high-glove technical guard.  What this means is it's not necessary for Patterson to put [I]quite[/I] as much distance between himself and his guy, so he's more about making the target small and exploding out of a fixed position with that handspeed.  For Dempsey it's literally a part of his roving defence, so in literal terms they serve different purposes in most respects.  In technical terms they are similar and lead to more similarities (As we'll see).

Looking at Patterson first, we see his back is straighter, but note what happens on about 12 seconds just before he attacks, he dips into a much deeper crouch.  Dempsey on the other hand comes out in the first few seconds of the other video in a more naturally deep crouch.  Note that, like Patterson, he wants to lead with his left hand and that the crouch facilitates this lead.  Going back to Patterson on 14 seconds, we see that he's flashed out that left lead and immediatly dipped back into a much deeper crouch more reminiscent of the one Dempsey is using against Brennan.  This is a defensive crouch.  But once again he flashes out the left from his low position.  Again, on 22 seconds he ducks into a deep crouch, so although he doesn't open ducking as low as Dempsey, he goes just as low when he wants to throw those punches - [B] both men are boxing opponents from a low crouch.  This is the technical similarity.[/B] Dempsey opponents are boxing a small man who punches tall, Patterson opponents are boxing a tall man who dips and punches.  Tall/short are definitions of their punching styles, not remarks upon size.

2 - The left lead.
The crucial [I]difference [/I] here is in the jab - Patterson makes a much wider use of his.  But when the two men are leading with their left hooks, or punching with it in combination, the punches are eerily alike.  I don't know a lot about Patterson's life but I'd be surprised if he didn't look at the Dempsey left.

We won't look at all the hooks that we can, it would take forever, but here are some examples.

First, the flashing or explosive hook, most usually seen in both men from a place where the are dipping and then exploding into the punch, what Dempsey described as the "Shovel hook".  

Dempsey lands his at 2:50.  It's the first combination Dempsey really disturbs a very lively Brennan with, evidenced by his disorganised retreat.  The last hook Demspey lands here is the flashing variety, it comes up from his boots, and even though he is technically out of position, Dempsey finds a way to go down on his left foot, screw up that torque and flash the left hook from hip to head.  Breannan, already off-balance from what Dempsy has given him staggers back in reaction.  

See Patterson at 6:17.  His hook looks different because of the deep crouch he employs before he throws it, but it is exactly the dip that makes the punches technically near identical.  Watch Patterson's feet just before he throws the punch.  Like Dempsey, he's is pushing the punches torque through his left foot - the right one actually comes of the mat upon the point of impact - creating an artificial dip as a part of the power punch.  The fact that he takes the glove of his chin to throw it is irrelevant (in terms of technical punching - it's obviously more correct in terms of defence), what is important is that the punch comes from hip height.  Archie is poleaxed just as Brennan was hurt - the difference perhaps is that Floyd was more technically perfectly set before he threw his punch, whereas Dempsey was in the middle of battle when he had to generate his artificial dip.

Now the square or technical hook
Dempsey throws his at 3:15.  He actually misses, but that's not important, in fact it's a handy thing for us with these old films, a completed punch that misses is sometimes easier to break down technically I think.  

Here, Dempsey is throwing a left hook to the body, which was often his technically most perfect left hooks (though his first one was a beaut v Willard).  Here, there is a very small dip only, Dempsey generates the power in this squarer punch by pushing all the way through from his back foot.  Dempsey hardly ever threw arm-punches outside of the jab and this difficult, or I always thought of it as difficult, technique prevents his narrowest hook becoming just that.  Look again.  Small dip.  The weight transferred from the right foot through the punch.  

Now Patterson, at two-minutes, not the body shot, the one just after it which he also just misses.  It is some punch and probably would have been lights-out had it landed.  Patterson is different from Dempsey in that he keeps his head still and over his front foot, but he is still forcing this hard punch through of the back-foot at close range.  This is how Joe Louis believed the left-hook should be thrown a matter of course, but it's actually the opposite of what these men usually did and it's the opposite of what Frazier, HW'S greatest hooker seems generally to have taught.  But it is fascinating that both of them found this right foot transference fighting from the crouch at closer range.  It seems to prove the similarity in styles back-to-front.

The hook inside.  Dempsey threw this a lot.  At 3:32 we see one of his best ones in this fight, but we can't use it because the annoying banner obscures his feet.   Skipping ahead to 3:54 you see one that is nearly as good.  Pause it on 3:54 if you can.  Notice that Dempsey's left foot is slightly off the ground.  This is another technical no-no, but it's allowed here because Dempsey is again using his right foot  to generate the torque.  Also, notice that just before he throws the punch he takes a tiny step out.  This is to make room for the punch - an affective technique.

And guess what?  Patterson does both of these thing inside with the left hook aswell.  At 1:06, if you can pause the video, you can see that Patterson's left foot is off the canvas.  He also takes a step back when he throws the punch.  Abner Mares does this really well these days, and his left hook is coming along not at all bad...anyway, these similarities in technique are born from similarities in style - I think anyone that doesn't see vast similarities between the left-hooks and the way they are delivered isn't looking properly!  The consistency is pretty breath-taking and it's hard to find something that Dempsey did with the left hook that Patterson wouldn't do later on!

3-General footwork.

For this, I want to take a look at something different.

This is spooky.

In the Patterson-Ali film, hoof it on to two minutes.  We don't need to see a lot here because the film does the work for us.  Watch Patterson's feet.  From two minutes, Patterson goes from flat to toe, and then from narrow to wide.  Wide is his hitting stance and his "feint".  He's showing Ali his intention to hit here. At 2:05 he goes into a moving dip, which he comes all the way out of into the narrow stance.  Then, at 2:08, he goes into a deep stance and leaps forwards into a left hook.  It's fast enough to get to any fighter but the one he is in with IMO.

Now, Dempsey.  From 0:06.  Dempsey goes from front to back, from wide to narrow.  Again, he's feinting, showing his deep stance, his hitting stance, but not hitting.  (This is Dempsey's finest minute on film IMO.  He is just baiting the bigger man into a mistake with these moves).  They clinch.  At 0:16 he goes back to boxing.  Dempsey goes front-back, front-back, then at 0:18 he goes into a shallow stance and leaps forwards into the left hook.

The two moves are not similar, they are identical.  I don't see how anyone can look at these two and not seem an uncanny similarity in style?  But if you think it's not the case, let's hear about why, and if you think it is the case, what else is there?  There's loads, I promise.

I think they are certainly more similar than Dempsey-Tyson - hell, I think they are more similar than any other two HW champs.
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Re: Comparisons Between Jack Dempsey and Floyd Patterson

Nice breakdown. Jack was really crude though. Floyd was much smoother and more accurate with his attacks. I do think Jack was more effective tho. Can you close your eyes and imagine Floyd Patterson whooping Jess Willard?