What is the Mexican boxing style?


The Mexican Boxing Style is known for its combinations, close range, and toe-to-toe battle. Often compared to a brawly style and aggressive style with high action. It is a style that requires a high volume of combinations, combinations that switch between body and head, fighting mostly within range and even toe to toe.

Why is it called the Mexican boxing style?

Mexico is known for its boxing history and famous boxers, their unique boxing style and toughness made up the name Mexican style.

Flag of Mexico, Undated

Training and learning Mexican boxing style

  • Shape – It is a must to have good shape, Mexican boxers are first known for their amazing power and stamina. That’s why training strength and conditioning and cardio are key.
  • Combinations and punches – quality combinations, head-body-head variations, and performing full and right amplitude of the body with every punch. Training punches is a difficult thing to do, focus on learning good combinations, and know how to use every punch that exists in boxing, Jab-Cross-Hook-Uppercut.
  • Head movement – Training head movement through shadow boxing or with other drills will force and develop your subconscious to dodge punches.
  • Close-range fighting and “cutting the distance” – Training to perform at close range battles and how to act in different scenarios in toe to toe battles, “cutting the distance” means getting closer to your opponent in the right way so you take less punishment in the process.
  • Positioning  – This is something that is key in the Mexican boxing technique, the boxer will know how to position himself in front of his opponent, blocking exits and keeping him often against the rope, passively applying maximum pressure on the opponent.

Drills by Mexican fighters

Here are some of the drills seen performed by Mexican fighters over the years:

  • Combinations – Most of the combinations in the Mexican boxing style target both the head and the body. The combinations are composed of more than 3 punches and involve both power and quickness. Improving and memorizing by working on a heavy bag, mitts with a trainer, shadow box, and weight shadow box all involve 3 or more punches. combinations example: jab-cross-left hook to the body (liver), left hook to the head-cross-left hook to the body (liver), cross-left hook to the body (liver)-right hook to the head, etc.
  • All-around strength – The general overall strength will come from Strength and conditioning training that involves all parts and muscles of the body, from neck exercises, forearms, legs, abs, etc. also see our 5 must-know strength and conditioning exercises. To have explosive punching power, all of the punch variations have to be done correctly, without over amplitude of the body or leaning too much, it is an art, and takes a good amount of time to perform every punch correctly, make sure to go over the basics with correct rotation of the body with each punch. You can also read about the punches that exist in boxing here.
  • Close-range fighting – Simulate a close-range fight by training on the heavy bag from a short distance, drill with a sparring partner on close-range fighting, and use all tricks on close-range fighting that includes leaning on the opponent, shoulder and elbow push the opponent to get a gap of opening for a hook.

Countering the Mexican style

A boxer needs to know how to adjust to every situation and boxer differently, but I will briefly mention some general possible counters to the Mexican style.

  • Distance – A Mexican boxer will want a close-range fight, measuring and keeping the distance will be the first and most important way to counter Mexican-style boxers. The boxer will try to get close and “cut the distance” while you should keep fighting on the “outside”, jab constantly, and throw long crosses.
  • Movement – Always move around the ring, do not be fixed in place and switch directions.
  • Body Guarding – A Mexican boxer will try combinations both on the head and the body. It is important to guard the body so you will not fatigue faster. Body punches can dramatically affect you and will lead to poor performance.
  • Hugging – If in trouble and too much at close range, don’t be afraid to hug and wait for a break from the referee as you will have another opportunity to take a breath and recover.

Famous Mexican boxers

As Mexico is known for their amazing boxers, we will only mention some of them:

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez – One of the most known boxers today, considered as pound-for-pound best, he is a good example of a modern Mexican-style fighter. Canelo also adds adjustments and modernization to the style with leaning and dodging, bobbing, weaving, and slicking punches

Julio César Chávez – Legendary Mexican fighter, he applied good pressure in the ring with deadly combinations, close-range fighting, and overall boxing IQ. He is considered one of the best examples of the Mexican boxing style.

Salvador Sanchez

Vicente Saldivar

Juan Manuel Marquez

And many more.

I recommend searching and watching them on YouTube and Google for better understanding of how they apply the Mexican style.


The Mexican boxing style will remain one of the highest quality styles among professional boxing. There is much to learn from this style, the combinations, the pressure, the positioning and much more. It is a beautiful and ruthless style that makes boxing exciting and full of action.

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