Henry Armstrong: Calculated Chaos

When Henry Armstrong invaded the featherweight division and assumed its pinnacle before going on to seize the crowns of the lightweight and welterweight divisions, professional boxing operated quite differently from how it functions today. At that time, not only did every major city in America have hundreds of boxers toiling away in the many gyms, but virtually every borough or district had its own fight club where boxing shows were held on a weekly basis, sometimes two or three times a week. Add in the fact there were only eight weight classes, plus the general expectation that any boxer worth his salt stepped through the ropes at least once a month, and the resulting level of competition is something we can scarcely imagine now. To say it was fierce would be an understatement.

For any boxer to emerge from such a furnace of all-out fistic rivalry and establish themselves as a top contender was a significant achievement and regarded as such. If they went on to actually win a world title, this was rightfully viewed as a rare and wonderful feat. So imagine then a pugilist who was so overwhelming, so ferocious and powerful, that he annexed not one world title, but three, all at the same time. We’re talking a boxer who left a mark so deep in boxing’s rich history that no one questions his standing as, pound-for-pound, one of the greatest fighters who ever lived.

Drawing by Damien Burton.

So it was for the legendary “Homicide Hank,” and so it should come as no surprise that Lee Wylie is an admirer of Armstrong. But while some regard “Hammerin’ Henry” as primarily a force of aggression and non-stop punching, there were also some heady tactics at play in Armstrong’s technique. He manufactured not just chaos, but chaos of a most calculating kind. Watch Lee Wylie’s video and see just how he did it.

Armstrong defeats Barney Ross for the welterweight title in 1938.    


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3 thoughts on “Henry Armstrong: Calculated Chaos

  • February 1, 2018 at 1:03 am

    Liking this one on Armsrrong. He was the best infighter ever. He shoved his opponents forward with his left arm and then immediately landed an overhand right that was sublime. Beeeuuteeful!

  • December 14, 2018 at 12:33 am

    My all time dream match is Armstrong vs Duran. If only..

  • December 13, 2020 at 5:17 am

    Love the article and the website


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