This is the prototypical match-up in boxing history, the boxer vs the swarmer.
Historically they are of contrasting styles. The boxer is more deliberate and seeks to use distance as a weapon. He may be a jabber, or use movement, but to maintain distance is the prerogative of the boxer.
The boxer would prefer that the ring be like a basketball court, where movement is unrestricted For the swarmer, closing distance is paramount to him.
The swarmer must shut down all exits, and would prefer that the ring be like a closet so that he could do his dirty work. But regardless of whether the ring is like a basketball court or a closet, it is fast break all the way as both fighters seek to impose their distance on the other.
Muhammad Ali lost the first fight with Joe Frazier primarily because he could not keep distance from Frazier.
The best dancer in heavyweight history was reduced to fighting flat-footed and on the inside exchanging uppercuts. He did not have room to throw his right hand counter because Frazier was right on top of him. One of those uppercuts forced Ali to drop his hands. Which led Frazier to throw a big left hook that dropped him.
In their second fight, Muhammad Ali changed tactics. He did not try to escape from Joe Frazier, but instead held his place and held Frazier’s head down. This forced Frazier’s momentum to a standstill, although Frazier made Ali’s body a target as he came in, he was unable to advance. The referee complained that Frazier should have bent his knees to break the clinch, however, Frazier still would have been unable to advance. Ali broke up Frazier’s assaults brilliantly with the clinch, and as a result Ali won the second match.
In the first fight between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson, Holyfield disrupted Tyson’s forward momentum. He knew that Tyson’s style was made for going forward, and not for being backed up. So Holyfield muscled him out of position and Tyson’s head movement was reduced. He was also reduced to being a one at a time brawler than being a sophisticated swarmer. Holyfield threw power shots to further break up Tyson’s momentum and with the maneuvering of Tyson’s head, Tyson could not advance in his style. Tyson soon grew frustrated but could not adapt to counter Holyfield.
In these two cases, Ali vs Frazier and Holyfield vs Tyson, they fought the most sophisticated swarmers of the day by breaking up their forward momentum.
Ali did it with the clinch and Holyfield did it with upper-body strength. But both used their boxing techniques to get victories, even though swarmers have a stylistic advantage over boxers.