β-Lactamases enable resistance to almost all β-lactam antibiotics. Pioneering work revealed that acyclic boronic acids can act as 'transition state analogue' inhibitors of nucleophilic serine enzymes, including serine-β-lactamases. Here we report biochemical and biophysical analyses revealing that cyclic boronates potently inhibit both nucleophilic serine and zinc-dependent β-lactamases by a mechanism involving mimicking of the common tetrahedral intermediate. Cyclic boronates also potently inhibit the non-essential penicillin-binding protein PBP 5 by the same mechanism of action. The results open the way for development of dual action inhibitors effective against both serine- and metallo-β-lactamases, and which could also have antimicrobial activity through inhibition of PBPs.