10) Rau’shee Warren
Warren was one of the most decorated amateurs in American history and his lightning-like hands are one of the assets that propelled him there. The Cincinnati-native fights in a division where fast hands aren’t so rare, yet he out-draws them all, slinging lefts and rights that are hard to time. He was quicker than Payano on two occasions and the Dominican is no slouch.
9) Jorge Linares
A bit older and a few weight divisions north, the lightweight champion of the world (according to The Ring) has slowed down, but not to the point where he has lagged too much behind his younger featherweight self. His combinations are still technical and blazing, and his counter-punches come as quick as the crack of a whip. Ask Ira Terry, Kevin Mitchell and Anthony Crolla.
8) Manny Pacquiao
For a 38-year-old former flyweight to be snapping them off this quickly, at this age, and at this high of a weight is a remarkable thing. The southpaw has been able to out-speed nearly everyone his entire career, though the hands of time have taken hold. Manny’s bout with rugged Australian Jeff Horn saw him tick down a notch.
7) Gervonta Davis
I think a lot of us have seen the video of him hitting the mitts with eye-popping velocity. He’s translated that into the ring, overwhelming his foes with a tandem of speed and power that they just can’t handle. Jose Pedraza and Liam Walsh, Davis’ most credible opponents, are the most noteworthy examples.
6) Floyd Mayweather
What does Mayweather have left? While we won’t know for certain until the time comes, I am almost assured that he is still blazing quick. He has always taken care of his body and the brief training footage I have seen tells me he is still one of the fastest in the game.
5) Vasyl Lomachenko
While I don’t believe Lomachenko has faster punches than a few rated below him, what sets him apart is his functional speed. What I mean by that is how quickly he gets his shots from point A and B. Timing is the key here. Lomachenko’s brain works like a high-tech supercomputer that processes data and makes incredibly quick calculations and judgements in less than the blink of an eye. Therefore he can be naturally slower but still faster.
4) Amir Khan
Make what you will of his other attributes, his hands are dangerously fast. He routed other quick men in Judah and Malignaggi, and was too quick even after a two-weight jump for the also speedy Saul Alvarez through most of their fight. On this alone Khan will continue to be a tough night out for many of the top dogs.
3) Yuriorkis Gamboa
His hand-speed hasn’t been able to pull him out of every occasion, as we saw in his last outing, but it still does wonders to the eye. Gamboa unloads combinations in rapid succession and has never been outdone in that category by any foe. Even a big jump against Terence Crawford didn’t slow his pace too much. He was still swift and performed more admirably than most of Crawford’s other victims.
2) Guillermo Rigondeaux
The aging Cuban has the natural goods along with the aforementioned ‘functional speed’. His counters, leads and everything else are simply blinding. Nonito Donaire, once one of the speediest boxers, was blown out by Rigondeaux in what almost looked like a tortoise and hare race.
1) Gary Russell Jr.
Surprise? Maybe not, but he deserves this placement. Russell is a breakneck boxer who will let loose with numerous blows before his foes have time to think about retaliation. Time and time again we see everyone (minus Lomachenko) overwhelmed by his fistic volleys and he’s learned to sit down on his shots just a bit better. That was the only knock on him before: he shoe-shined too much and it looked fancy but didn’t have the sting to trouble the very best. Again, he’s seemed to shore that up just enough and he’s dangerous game for any of the other featherweights.