Dempsey was one of the first big celebrity fighters of the 20th century. His brawling talent and hard-luck story caught the public's attention and raised the profile of the entire sport. One of Dempsey's fights was the first ever to bring in gate receipts of $1 million.
While all boxers utilize different moves and punches to some extent, the specific way they fight is called their style. There are three main styles, though different people call them by different names, and most boxers can incorporate elements of more than one style into their fighting:
- The Boxer – A technical fighter who uses skill and strategy combined with agility and speed to win fights, often by decision. Also known as an outside fighter because he tends to move around the outside of the ring, beyond the reach of his opponent. He waits for an opening and jumps in quickly to fire off a few punches, and then moves back out of range. Sugar Ray Leonard was a boxer, as was the legendary Muhammad Ali.
- The Slugger – Relies almost entirely on the brutal, smashing power of his punches. He throws far fewer punches than most other boxers, but often only needs one punch to connect to end the match. Almost always wins by KO. George Foreman and Mike Tyson (particularly late in his career) were known as sluggers.
- Inside Fighter – Moves in quickly toward his opponent, probably taking a few shots on the way. Once inside, he unleashes a barrage of punches, many of them quite powerful. This style is very aggressive, and may also be referred to as swarming. In his prime, Mike Tyson was an exemplary inside fighter, as were Joe Frazier and Roberto Duran.
There are numerous montages in Hollywood films depicting a boxer training. A boxer needs tremendous physical endurance. Try throwing fast punches at the air for three minutes straight, then see how winded you are and how your arms feel. Then do it while jogging in place. That's why boxers start their training with lots and lots of running. Other traditional training exercises include skipping rope to improve agility, using a punching bag or pads on a trainer's hands to build punching strength, weight lifting for strength, mass and endurance, and sparring to gain ring experience. Today, many boxers work out in modern facilities with carefully designed diets and training regimes involving computers, expensive workout machines and even ballet classes.