At its technical height, the skill of boxing is all about making offense and defense blend together into one seamless athletic act. No matter where you rank Jose Napoles among the greatest welterweight champions of all time, everyone in boxing acknowledges his talent and unique ability to fight with both deadly efficiency and uncommon grace. Indeed, Napoles’ sophisticated and elegant style won him the nickname of “Mantequilla,” which means “butter,” a reference to his smooth and refined moves in the ring.
Lee Wylie has previous taken a close look at Napoles’ balance and footwork, but in his latest video he breaks down how the man who ruled over a highly competitive welterweight division for some seven years and who scored 54 KO’s in 80 wins, combined defense and attack in such an artful way. Check it out:
“Any serious discussion of the truly great welterweight champions must include “Mantequilla,” as gifted a pugilist as boxing has ever seen. His nickname means “butter” in Spanish and this referred to the smoothness of his moves and his relaxed demeanour in the ring, but the moniker belies the fact Napoles possessed crushing power and ruthless finishing instincts.
“In Cuba Napoles learned his trade and began his career, but he was forced to flee his native country when the Castro regime banned professional boxing. Napoles settled in Mexico where the people soon adopted him as one of their own. He campaigned through the 1960’s as a lightweight and junior-welter, but his skills and power were such that he had to move up to welterweight to get fights.” — From “Feb. 28, 1973: Napoles vs Lopez II” by Michael Carbert