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Boxing Southpaw + Becoming more Slick


#1

I hear southpaws have an advantage in fights. Id guess this is because they are use to right handers and not left. But left are obviously use to right handers.

So my question is, how much of an advantage is it? significant? minuscule?

I've been boxing a couple of years, and feel I have developed a good foundation. I was thinking of converting if its worthwhile. I can only shadow box and use the heavy bag at the moment. Ive tried a few rounds in the southpaw stance and it feels doable.My lead hook needs work the most.

2 negatives I see and wanted opinions on are:
I always felt the orthodoxs left hook countering a southpaws jab worked well?
The southpaw stance eliminates the use of the shoulder as a defence for the right hand?


#2

Apologies if this is long winded, Im trying to be concise whilst explaining myself.

My second question is, how can i become more slick/fluid/more natural in my movement??

Its not my weakest area but theres room for improvement. I seem to delay between throughing punches and then moving my head/slipping etc.

the drill im looking to implement is initially is shadowboxing with string/rope across the ring, so im forced to duck under etc.

thanks


#3

About the shoulder as defence for the right hand. I recall I saw this done, but it differs alot. Not the same, but Archie Moore rolled with both shoulders I recall ( http://fightland.vice.com/blog/four-more-strikers-every-mma-fan-should-be-studying ). He used the cross guard to pull it off.
Also I thought RDA rolled as a southpaw right hands of his shoulder. Against Pettis.

But it seems alot trickier than the ussual shoulder roll.

About the lead hook against southpaws…I recall RDA almost decked cerrone with that. Never experienced it myself. I def can see it pulled of: I always feel my jabbing side blinded by my own shoulder and arm. If the hook can sneak behind that, it could be a decent counter.

You would need a decent inside angle to get power behind it. Can really work if you stay aware of his left power hand.

I can’t help you really with the fluidity. I’m searching for the same.
Get Cus D’Amato yelling at you?


#4

Ive always been ambidextrous since i was a kid (read: my hand writing looks like shit) so when I started boxing switch-hitting came fairly naturally to me. As such I often go southpaw when sparring southpaws just to fuck with them.

For me, one of the biggest advantages of going southpaw is footwork. It just seems a lot easier to pivot out to safety than it does when fighting orthodox. In my gym we had a guy who wasn’t a fantastic boxer, but what he was, was a very tough cat with a huge gas tank so he’d apply constant pressure, given the nature of amateur bouts he did very well. I always had trouble keeping him off of me until i went southpaw and suddenly it was really easy, all i would do is jab, step back, jab and then swing my rear foot around and repeat. He ended up chasing me all day as opposed to the usual scenario of me brawling with him in a corner.

I had quite a few fights against southpaws early on, one thing I have noticed is it seems they will rarely slip to their right. I can’t give any logical reason as to why this is, its just an observation. They will almost always use range or duck to the left to get out of the way of a left hook.

The shoulder question, I don’t think it completely negates it, but the angles presented are such that yes, straight hands down the middle from a southpaw make it hard to use a shoulder roll properly. The Zab Judah vs Mayweather fight is a good example of this. Floyd kept eating left straights early on, and ended up switching to a high guard and trying to catch and parry Zab’s shots.

As for becoming more slick, its just one of those things youve got to keep in your head and continually try to improve at. Especially when your shadow boxing, don’t just do what most guys do which is stand still and throw punches like there isn’t going to be someone firing back at them. Practice slipping, rolling, weaving, pulling back etc. And when you’re throwing punches, try to think about the position your head is ending up in at the end of a punch. For example I know against an orthodox fighter if I land a right cross to his head, the only dangerous punch he can hit me with is a left a hook, so instead of waiting for him to throw it, I will just weave under off the right hand. Having cat like reflexes is great if you got it, but it takes a long time and a lot of sparring to develop that sort of instinctive response to punches, and more importantly - why rely on it if you don’t have to? Defensive responsibility is a good term.

What helped me most when I was a kid was watching hours of defensive fighting highlights on youtube. Seriously, i’d get home from school and load those up before I’d run off to the gym and then watch them before i went to bed every night.

ohhhhh shiiiiiiittttt


#5

[quote]Aussie Davo wrote:
Ive always been ambidextrous since i was a kid (read: my hand writing looks like shit) so when I started boxing switch-hitting came fairly naturally to me. As such I often go southpaw when sparring southpaws just to fuck with them.

For me, one of the biggest advantages of going southpaw is footwork. It just seems a lot easier to pivot out to safety than it does when fighting orthodox. In my gym we had a guy who wasn’t a fantastic boxer, but what he was, was a very tough cat with a huge gas tank so he’d apply constant pressure, given the nature of amateur bouts he did very well. I always had trouble keeping him off of me until i went southpaw and suddenly it was really easy, all i would do is jab, step back, jab and then swing my rear foot around and repeat. He ended up chasing me all day as opposed to the usual scenario of me brawling with him in a corner.

I had quite a few fights against southpaws early on, one thing I have noticed is it seems they will rarely slip to their right. I can’t give any logical reason as to why this is, its just an observation. They will almost always use range or duck to the left to get out of the way of a left hook.

The shoulder question, I don’t think it completely negates it, but the angles presented are such that yes, straight hands down the middle from a southpaw make it hard to use a shoulder roll properly. The Zab Judah vs Mayweather fight is a good example of this. Floyd kept eating left straights early on, and ended up switching to a high guard and trying to catch and parry Zab’s shots. That said, its as much the fact that Judah was lightning fast back in the day, probably one of the fastest opponents floyd ever faced. Against Ortiz I think he fought conventionally, but by then floyd had I guess “matured” as a boxer and was now controlling the range more than he did when he was a younger fighter happy to bang on the inside.

As for becoming more slick, its just one of those things youve got to keep in your head and continually try to improve at. Especially when your shadow boxing, don’t just do what most guys do which is stand still and throw punches like there isn’t going to be someone firing back at them. Practice slipping, rolling, weaving, pulling back etc. And when you’re throwing punches, try to think about the position your head is ending up in at the end of a punch. For example I know against an orthodox fighter if I land a right cross to his head, the only dangerous punch he can hit me with is a left a hook, so instead of waiting for him to throw it, I will just weave under off the right hand. Having cat like reflexes is great if you got it, but it takes a long time and a lot of sparring to develop that sort of instinctive response to punches, and more importantly - why rely on it if you don’t have to? Defensive responsibility is a good term.

What helped me most when I was a kid was watching hours of defensive fighting highlights on youtube. Seriously, i’d get home from school and load those up before I’d run off to the gym and then watch them before i went to bed every night.

ohhhhh shiiiiiiittttt[/quote]


#6

Good advice so far.

I also will switch leads while sparring, shadow boxing, etc… (though I’ll also go side stance, defensive/extended guard, “crab/log cabin” from time to time to break my rhythm and keep my opponent having to adjust to new angles and targets, but I wouldn’t advise that to someone just starting out). From a self defense standpoint this is a critical skill (especially when dealing with multiple opponents) as you don’t always have time to adopt your primary lead fighting posture in reality and need to be able to fight effectively from any lead or posture you may find yourself in. Also, since your dominant hand is generally stronger and has better coordination/accuracy, placing it in front where it has less distance to travel to the target can also be of benefit. Realize that without gloves on, and with proper mechanical understanding you can absolutely hurt if not also KO someone with a good jab.

Shoulder rolls can work against either hand depending on your relative orientation.

Becoming slick is IMO understanding rhythm, positioning/set point, tactical strategies, and uncompromising pursuit of excellent basics.


#7

awesome thanks for the input guys.

One thing im really tryign to stop is just mindlessly hitting the heavy bag. i hear people say imagine an opponent and its something im trying to do (looking for counters, blocking etc.)

when shadow boxing, im fairly active with my footwork.

just curious though, to what degree do you imagine an opponent? is it 99% of the time? are you feinting looking for openings etc?

thinking perhaps ill implement set drills into my bag work to help with fluidity (feint, left hand, right hook, duck under left hand etc).


#8

[quote]CarltonJ wrote:
awesome thanks for the input guys.

One thing im really tryign to stop is just mindlessly hitting the heavy bag. i hear people say imagine an opponent and its something im trying to do (looking for counters, blocking etc.)

when shadow boxing, im fairly active with my footwork.

just curious though, to what degree do you imagine an opponent? is it 99% of the time? are you feinting looking for openings etc?

thinking perhaps ill implement set drills into my bag work to help with fluidity (feint, left hand, right hook, duck under left hand etc).[/quote]

You don’t always have to imagine that it’s a fully resisting opponent, but you should usually adhere to certain habits when hitting the bag that will pay dividends when you actually fight/spar.

Namely:
-Don’t stand in the pocket! An opponent isn’t going to just leg you stand at arms length and punch them. They are going to back up, or try to hit you on the way in. So you need to begin at a distance outside of arms reach, use footwork to get into range (which develops correct skills for closing the gap/penetrating the opponent’s defensive perimeter), be continually hitting, moving (head/body/feet), or tying up the opponent once in range to reach the bag, and then you must use footwork to clear back out to safety

-Work defensive skills into your combinations instead of always just using offense

-Think about how an opponent would most likely to react to your attacks and which openings those reactions are going to present rather than just throwing some arbitrary combination. Sure, some of the classical ones (1,2,3, or 1,1,2,3 for example) are classical for a reason, because they work, but when putting together combinations on the bag it helps to understand this and it helps you to be able to adapt when things don’t go as planned during your usual combinations while sparring.


#9

There’s nothing inherently harder about boxing a lefty. It’s merely something that any competent fighter can work around with. From my experience, as a righty, step to the right as you jab. That’s more difficult if your opponent is tall, or capable enough to step back or close/expand the distance between the two of you.
The left hook is a classic weapon against a lefty, along with the straight right.

What makes fighting southpaws so difficult is working off the jab, however if your footwork or ring generalship is capable enough, i.e can you circle around the opponent and make him work to attempt to even throw a punch? You’re not going to be able to land as many punches - however if you can keep the opponent from even being confident enough to even throw a punch against you, you’ve done what you need.


#10

^^^Stepping right can expose a lefty’s centerline and make landing a solid straight right easier, but it can also make them landing their straight left easier as well. For that reason I tend to step to my left when jabbing, always trying to keep my lead foot slightly “outside”/to the left of their lead foot and try to trap their lead arm or at least maintain a top/dominant lead hand position. This also sets up a night right hand to the opponent’s body as they start to try to resist my traps or get their hand up higher than mine (which inevitably wil lift their elbow) and a follow up left hook to the head or left clearing hook > straight right to the head. Totally agreed with everything else you said though.

But my interpretation was that Carlton was looking for advice on fighting as a lefty, not against one.


#11

Thanks for the incredibly polite and informative reply Sento. On a forum for 10 years? Damn, impressive to say the least. I’ve been reading T-Nation off and on since '04 or so. I consider their articles top notch and some of the best in the fitness world. The forums also reflect that.


#12

since we’re talking about southpaws and being slick

the grand master:

I think the thing to notice about Whitaker as opposed to someone like Toney is although sweet pea did have great upper body movement, he was never lazy with his legs like Toney was, hes constantly adjusting the range.


#13

Thanks for the Sweetpea video, I haven’t seen that Youtube video in years. Great refresher

To Toney’s credit, I think has to do with Toney simply having better upper body movement (off for a man who’s technically obese). Whitaker, one of the best boxers of the 20th Century, in my eyes, had to rely on his footwork for defensive movement simply because his upper body was not as fluid or his mental timing wasn’t as quick as Toney’s. Simply put, Toney was better at upper body defensive movement due to natural talent or time spent in the gym.


#14

[quote]CAARNG 68W wrote:
Thanks for the Sweetpea video, I haven’t seen that Youtube video in years. Great refresher

To Toney’s credit, I think has to do with Toney simply having better upper body movement (off for a man who’s technically obese). Whitaker, one of the best boxers of the 20th Century, in my eyes, had to rely on his footwork for defensive movement simply because his upper body was not as fluid or his mental timing wasn’t as quick as Toney’s. Simply put, Toney was better at upper body defensive movement due to natural talent or time spent in the gym. [/quote]

Toney always was lazy though, thats not just reflected in his body but also in his fighting style. He was always criticized even when having dominant performances for fighting in spurts. As a middleweight and at cruiserweight, he could get away with it because his reflexes were still sharp and his balance wasn’t bad. At heavyweight we really started to see the cracks I think (i believe by this point he was also diagnosed with a brain injury, which explained the growing speech impediment and dulled reflexes)

The biggest thing that stuck out in my mind of Toney as a HW, was how many fights he lost just because of the perception of what was going on in the ring. He would get slam some of these guys with big punches, and when they came back, even if it was only hitting his flank or his chest, it would knock him wildly off balance and look like their punches were of greater effect. I think that cost him fights like his first fight with Samuel Peter and Hasim Rahman. He just couldn’t move these guys but they would move him dramatically. Some might argue thats because toney was never a true HW, but I think its just due to poor balance and lazier footwork as he got fatter and fatter.


#15

Terrific insight, Aussie, you’ve got me going back to Youtube to check out Toney’s early fights at HW