How to Fight a Southpaw

August 2, 2011 August 2, 2011 by Johnny N Boxing Strategy, Boxing Styles 77 Comments

Right-handed brothers, fear the wretched lefties no more! I have solved the southpaw puzzle at last! Learn how to outmove, outpunch, and outbox the southpaw. This is my official guide to beating southpaws.

How to Fight a Southpaw

 

Fighting a Southpaw

Fighting a southpaw has always been a tough battle for orthodox fighters. The angles, footwork, and advantages all seem to play out in favor of the southpaw. In theory, every tactic a southpaw uses against you could be turned around against him, but this is never the case. The southpaw has faced more orthodox fighters than vice versa, carrying the advantage in experience. He holds a technical advantage in familiarity over common orthodox moves. Every punch he throws seems to land, and you’re unable to defend against what you can’t see. Many lesser skilled southpaws will beat their more skilled orthodox counterparts.

The southpaw is more familiar with right-handers
than you are with southpaws.

 

It’s never a good idea to stand there and trade with the southpaw, shot for shot, combo for combo. I’m not saying that you can’t be successful at it, I’m just saying that you will be at a disadvantage to go that route. There are better ways to beat the southpaw, tame him, control him, and dominate him. The key to successfully fighting southpaws is to understand their stance and attack angles.

 

 

 

The 2 Most Important Rules to Fighting Southpaws:
1. Get your front foot on the outside
2. Counter the southpaw’s left hand

 

The Southpaw Stance Advantage

It is the stance, moreso than your defense, that determines what southpaw punches you can be hit with. When retreating against a southpaw, re-establishing a neutral stance will do better to stop the punishment than resetting your defense.

In a typical southpaw-vs-orthodox match-up, the boxer with the front foot on the outside can punch with both hands whereas the other boxer can’t reach with either. If you don’t want the southpaw to hit you, don’t let him get his front foot outside yours. (Note: I will be stressing this point about 50 more times during this article.)

 

Controlling the Position

The stances are the main essence of a southpaw-orthodox match-up. Learning how to move around a southpaw is more important than anything else. The punches and defense you use will be determined by your stance! The awkward stance is what makes fighting southpaws so difficult, and it will be your knowledge of positioning yourself around the southpaw stance that determines your success against southpaws!

Control the foot positioning against the southpaw,
and you will control the fight!

When one fighter’s front foot is behind the other, more punches will be thrown. When the stances are even, both fighters are more likely to prod cautiously from a distance. The man with the outside foot positioning will have better attacking angles as well as defending angles.

Mirror Position

Orthodox vs Orthodox - Even Position

The mirror position is the neutral position. Your game from here is to attack or move. Both of you will have the same opportunities to do the same thing. Throw your jabs, crosses, and hooks as you watch out for his. The fight almost always evolves to a battle of constant foot movement. Both of you will be fighting to get your lead foot on the outside, to seize the positional advantage.

 

Getting Your Front Foot Outside

There are 3 ways to get the foot on the outside:

1. Just walk over
Yes it’s that simple. Just walk in and inch your foot to the outside when he’s not paying attention. The move itself is easy, doing it without your opponent noticing is incredibly hard.
2. Punch your way over

Stepping outside shelled southpaw

Throw some punches and step to the outside while he’s busy blocking.

 

3. Slip a punch

Slip the southpaw jab

Slipping Behind the Jab

  • Step in as you slip outside his jab. Slide your front foot up behind his and take your whole body with you.

 

Slipping the Inside Southpaw Left

Slip inside the southpaw left

  • It looks crazy to slip towards his next punch (right hook) but you’ll understand later on in this guide.

 

Try to get your front foot outside
as you prevent him from doing the same.

Keep working to prevent him from getting his foot on the outside. Be aware of his foot placement and don’t get too carried with punching that you can’t see him running up behind you.

 

Front Foot Outside

orthodox in t-position

The most important step when fighting southpaws,
is to have the front foot on the outside.

 

orthodox outside southpaw

Having your front foot on the outside holds many advantages:

  • the southpaw is in your punching range
  • you are out of the southpaw’s punching range
  • you can move in all directions whereas the southpaw can only retreat
  • this position gives you most advantage against southpaws

The moment you get your foot on the outside, all you have to do is throw punches. You’re behind his right shoulder so he can’t reach you with jabs or right hooks. The southpaw’s left hand is too far away and also blocked by his own right arm. The further you are behind the southpaw, the more he has to pivot into you to reach you with punches.

The outside foot advantage is the most important factor of a southpaw-orthodox match-up. If you get your front foot outside, he will not be able to exchange punches with you effectively. Sooner or later, he will be forced to go into a shell and retreat. Make sure you follow him and keep your front foot on the outside!

 

KEEPING THE FRONT FOOT ON THE OUTSIDE

The southpaw will not like being at a disadvantage and will most likely try either of the following 3 tactics to get his front foot out (escape your outside foot advantage):

  1. back up
  2. pivot into you
  3. punches at you

1. The southpaw runs.

Southpaw running

Keep chasing him and attacking him with punches.
When he blocks, re-adjust your front foot to the outside again.

 

2. The southpaw pivots into you.

Southpaw Pivots

Here, the southpaw pivots his back foot up. He appears to be an easy target for my right hand but this is NOT the right move. If I go for the right hand, he can easily evade it by leaning back.

 

pivoting with the southpaw

If you catch him pivoting, you must pivot with him.

  • Do not get tempted into trading punches until your front foot is on the outside again.
  • Don’t let his front foot escape!

3. The southpaw punches at you.

Southpaw lunges

You didn’t think he was just going to stand there and take punches, did you?

 

Southpaw lunges with a left

I slip inside of his desperation left hand!

  • As long as your head is behind the southpaw’s right shoulder, he can’t hit you.
  • When your front foot is outside, it’s easier to slip inside the left cross than outside.
  • Yes, I did sneak a right hand counter to the body but this isn’t necessary.

 

hook with the southpaw

I pivot clockwise off my front foot to avoid the southpaw’s left hook.

  • My head turns away right as the southpaw’s right hook is coming.
  • Once again, the advantage is held by man with his front foot on the outside.
  • Alternatively, I can counter with my own right hook as I turn away.
  • I also don’t have to counter, I can push on the southpaw’s right shoulder or body to turn him away from me (for an escape or easy counters).

At first it may seem scary slipping towards the southpaw’s left hand. If you time it right, you will be pivoting away when the southpaw throws his right hook. You’ll end up in a better position after the pivot and still have nice opportunities to counter.

 

 

What To Do When Your Front Foot is Inside

Now I’ve lectured you on getting your front foot on the outside. No matter how hard you try, some southpaws will beat you to it. They’ve been doing it longer than you and it’s probably the only real boxing strategy they’ve ever been taught. Having your front foot on the inside sucks but trust me, it’s not the end of the world…because I’ve got some nasty tricks up my sleeve!

Here are 6 ways to get your front foot out:

  1. forearm crush
  2. run like hell
  3. back him into the ropes
  4. extended left arm
  5. side-step
  6. wide pivot

 

1. Forearm Crush

Forearm crush against southpaw

Some southpaws are a little sloppy when they slip outside your left. If you catch him leaning in with his head too far out from his hips, drop your left arm against his neck. Walk into him, push him off balance, and crush him under you.

 

Put the southpaw in a headlock
You can also put him in a head lock. Just hang your arm over him, don’t close your arm or you’ll get penalized!

  • Whatever you decide to do, forearm crush or headlock, follow it up with a nice right to the body or head.
  • VERY IMPORTANT TIP: when you are walking into the forearm crush. make sure you cover your head with your right forearm to avoid walking face-first into an overhand left! (Pacquiao was notorious for landing these blind overhand lefts when he slipped outside his opponents. Watch Pacquiao’s fights against Hatton or Marquez 2.)
  • This is a common tactic for tall fighters. You see Manny Pacquiao’s taller opponents like Mosley or Margarito neutralizing him with this tactic all the time.

 
2. Run away

running away from southpaw

Yes, just run away. Quickly take a step back or two and even your feet up again. No further explanation needed, right?

 
3. Back Him Into the Ropes

lead the southpaw into the ropes

Many southpaw vs orthodox fights will end up here. Both guys backed up along the ropes so the other guy can’t get behind him. Anytime the southpaw gets his front foot outside yours, try to lead him into the ropes. Once he’s backed up along the ropes, we turn to our first trick…

 

Pivot into the southpaw along the ropes

Pivot into the southpaw.

  • He’s backed up along the ropes and can’t pivot with you. Now you can exchange punches with good power from both hands whereas he’s too square to fire back. You can even use your left hand to hold him back while you hammer him with your right.
  • He can only cover up, lose an exchange, ORRRRR…..

 

southpaw pivoting off the ropes

…he scoots over and gets behind you again.

  • Ok, NOW you have to back away. Not all southpaws will take shots along the ropes. Some of them are clever enough to jump into the position shown above. Just back away, do NOT try to fight him!
  • Wanna know why you shouldn’t fight him in this position? Because if you might end up in the worst position EVER…

…DON’T EVER LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!

southpaw traps orthodox along the ropes

This is what I call “southpaw suicide”.

  • Sandwiched between the southpaw’s front foot and the ropes. Head is trapped in line of the southpaw’s left cross. I bust out laughing anytime I see anyone get trapped like this. You have to be really bad to ever let this happen.

 

4. The Extended Left Arm

Extended left against southpaw

I’ve never seen any trainers teach this but it works so well for me that I have to share it.

One of the only advantages of having your front foot on the inside is that you can reach your opponent’s head with your lead arm easily. Just know that it’s not easy to jab with good power when his head is angled to the side of your shoulder. You are using your left arm to push him away, not punch him.

But that’s ok, because you’re not looking to jab. Extend your arm and use your left glove to push his head away as you retreat. Pushing his head keeps him from getting closer to you and further running behind your front foot. You have to be VERY CAREFUL to make sure you are pushing his head. The moment his head slips past your glove, he can reach your head and body with big punches.

Extended left to the southpaw's body

Another variation of the extended left –  to the body.

  • Extend to the body or jab at the body as you step away to your right. Make sure you step away to your right, don’t try to circle him which puts you dangerously closer to his left.
  • This tactic works very well if you do it as he tries to jab you. Your inside jab will keep his from landing.

Extending the left glove into his face is a great tactic to give you room as you back away. The southpaw can’t land his right on you which means he will probably try to jump in at you with a left hand…

…which perfectly sets up our 5th and 6th final tactics to get your front foot out…

 

5. The Side Step

sidestep the southpaw

The southpaw knows it’s hard to land his jab from the outside if you keep circling away towards his left. Now we just have to wait for his left hand…

 

stepping outside the left hand

Now step out to your right. Voila! He’s no longer southpaw!

  • If you time it right, stepping your right foot out to the right side (pivoting your body CCW) will take away the southpaw’s outside front foot advantage. You’ve turned it into an orthodox-vs-orthodox foot position in your favor.

 

right cross after sidestep

Exchange punches freely while you have the advantage.

  • The side-step is one of the best ways to counter the southpaw left cross.
  • Now suppose you’re being overwhelmed by punches and can’t see the left hand. Maybe you’re bent over and don’t have room to step over. I’ve got another trick for you…

 

 

6. THE WIDE PIVOT! (ADVANCED MOVE)

The wide pivot is a sneaky way to turn the tables on a southpaw that’s got his front foot outside yours. It works well against aggressive southpaws and especially against ones that get too close to you. In fact, you can only do this move when the southpaw close to you. The closer he is behind you, the more effective the move.

preparing to pivot wide around the southpaw

The further behind you the southpaw, the better. Try to bait his left hand by leaning away as you frustrate him with your left arm.

  • You’re looking for him to throw a big left hand. It can be any left, a left cross to the head, left hook to the body, ANY LEFT!

Bend at the waist under the southpaw left

Bend over at the waist, UNDER the left hand.

  • The moment you see a left hand, bend at your waist and duck under it. (I know you’ve bend taught to slip by bending the knees but this is exception.) You need to get your whole body under sideways because you don’t know if it’s a head punch or body punch, get down as low as you can!
  • If anything, you want him to miss you entirely and even fall over your hip. Notice how I’m bending over to the side and not into his left hand.
  • My left arm is straight along my left side for many reasons. It protects against rib punches, clears room to bend over, and makes for a faster hook counter after this “wide pivot”.

 

wide pivoting into the southpaw
Pivot INTO the southpaw!

  • Now here’s the tricky part! You want to pivot counter-clockwise off your left foot as you swing your upper body INTO him. You’re pivoting INTO him and not around him. Make a wide pivot, swinging your right foot all the way around anywhere from 90 to 180 degrees.

 

wide pivot pushing southpaw

Push him off balance as you come up from the pivot.

  • As you’re finishing the pivot, use your shoulder and upper body to lift the southpaw, pushing him off balance.

 

wide pivot against southpaw

Come out of the pivot in an orthodox VS orthodox stance. Exchanges punches for the win!

  • If you’ve done the wide pivot correctly, you will end up in an orthodox VS orthodox stance. Your opponent will probably be disoriented and off balance because you pushed him as you were pivoting into him. Now all you have to do is trade punches because he’s standing orthodox and off balance!
  • Like I said, the wide pivot is an AWESOME trick to beat the southpaw’s outside foot. The wide pivot is so fun to do, I sometimes LET my opponent get his foot on the outside.

 

Attacking & Defending Against Southpaws

Once you learn how to control the stance against a southpaw, fighting them becomes quite manageable. The defense, the offense, all that stuff comes easy when you have the position advantage. Below are some basic tips for defending, attacking, and countering the southpaw.

Defending Against the Southpaw

The second most important key to beating southpaws:
Countering, not just avoiding, the left hand!

1. Watch for his left hand

The southpaw left is probably every orthodox fighter’s most feared punch. Years of training to watch for right hands have now left you vulnerable to the left cross. It’s powerful and catches you completely by surprise. Even if you see it coming, you’re still not used to getting hit at that angle. Everyone thinks they’re prepared to slip the left hand until they get in the ring.

waiting for the southpaw left

Oh hey, it’s this again…

 

slipping outside the southpaw left

Slip outside the southpaw left.

 

counter right over the southpaw left

Counter right over the southpaw left.

  • Are you tired of seeing this sequence yet?! Anytime you see a left hand coming, pull your head back to the outside and come back with a counter right. It also helps to step out to the side with your right foot.
  • You can also parry it a little.
  • If he throws it curved or to the body, just block or step out.

The Right Hand Position

Right hand placement VS southpaw

Anyone that’s ever fought a southpaw will know the right hand position is one of the trickiest aspects of defending against southpaws. Southpaws can easily throw straight through or around your right glove, so you’ll have to keep moving your right hand back and forth.

 

rolled defense vs southpaw

There will be times when you are overwhelmed by his left that you don’t know where to place your right hand. In those scenarios, I like to place my right hand tight to the side and rotate my entire body to the front. This way, you’ll be able to block any left.
2. Don’t focus too much on his Jab

The southpaw jab is a dangerously distracting punch. Every fight starts off with you trying to out-paw each other with your jabbing arm. Next thing you know, you get hit by a hard left because you were too busy trying to out-jab the southpaw.

Don’t let the southpaw jab distract you from the left cross!

Keep your eye focused on the southpaw’s left. As for avoiding his jab, just keep your head moving and throw a few of your own jabs, but always watch for his big left! The southpaw jab will always be dangerous because it sets up bigger punches. You need to defend against it using well-trained reflexes practice through hours of drills and practice. Your active defense focus, should be spent looking for the big left hand.

 

3. Watch out for his right hook

The southpaw right hook is one of the deadliest punches I’ve ever seen. Watch out for it and be sure to pull your head back or block it! If you decide to block the right hook, make sure your hand protects both your chin and your temple. Anytime that you’re too close, make sure your left hand is by the side of your head and not in front of your face! (The southpaw right hook is a dangerous weapon that hits orthodox fighters even when they know it’s coming.)

Lucky for you, many southpaws don’t have a very good right hook. It’s probably because they’ve been able to beat orthodox fighters using only the left cross. Nonetheless the southpaw hook is still very dangerous. Demarcus Corley hurt Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather for the first time in their careers with a right hook to the temple.

 

Attacking the Southpaw

 

1. The right hand

Your best punch against the southpaw is your right hand.

Throw the right hand in as many ways as you can. Fast lead rights, hard right uppercuts, right crosses, rights to the body. Lead with it, counter with it, finish with it. Just throw the right hand!

 

Straight right hits southpaw right up the middle

The straight right hits the southpaw right up the middle.

 

overhand right goes around southpaw guard

The overhand right goes around the southpaw guard.

 

Try mixing straight rights and overhand rights to the head or body to confuse his defense. Keep his left hand busy defending so he can’t punch you with it.

Land your right hand while avoiding the southpaw’s left.

A clever way to use the right hand would be to throw a fast 1-2, then pull your head back to slip his left cross counter, then come back with a big counter right. Lucian Bute throws a great southpaw uppercut to the body. Please watch this and use it against southpaws!

The right hand will be your bread and butter against the southpaw, because it’s pretty hard to beat the southpaw with a jab. He’ll either out-jab you (out of experience), or he’ll exchange his left cross for your left jab. Neither of those options are good for you, but this doesn’t mean the jab is useless.

 

Finish with the Jab

Since you can’t always lead with the jab, try finishing your combos with the jab. Finishing with the jab rotates your body back to your normal stance so your head is not leaning in vulnerable for the counter left. Finishing with the jab also keeps him from chasing you with counters.

Even if you can’t hit anything, make sure you jab at his guard to psychologically keep him on the defensive. Even a quick tap at his guard can keep him closed up for split second longer to give you time to get away. My favorite combo against southpaws are 1-2-1 (move or pivot away on the last jab). Make sure you’re ready if he pops open with a big counter left.
Throw Your Left Hook

If there’s one definite advantage orthodox fighters usually have over the southpaw, it’s a more powerful hook. Many southpaws have so much success with their cross that they never develop a good hook. Even when they do learn how to throw a hook, the angle alone is so effective that they never learn how to throw it with real power. I would say that almost all orthodox fighters have a more powerful hook than their southpaw counter-part (but the southpaw hook will hurt more because of its awkward angle).

Landing the left hook against a southpaw usually feels awkward because your opponent can reach you with his jab before you land your hook. The angle always feels weird and your front feet are blocking each other from getting into hook range.

It is however, still very possible. It’s very common for southpaws to leave the right side of their head open when they throw the left cross. (Watch any southpaw spar and verify this for yourself!) His right hand is most likely busy loading a right hook or protecting the front of his head instead of the side. Even the ones protecting the side of their head hold the glove too low, exposing their forehead. THAT right there is your opportunity to land hooks. (In fact, southpaws have been doing this against orthodox fighters for a long time, luckily the same tactics also work well against them.) Knowing that, I present to you 4 ways to land the left hook against a southpaw:

 

1. Slip outside southpaw jab.

slipping outside the southpaw jab

Slip outside the southpaw jab as you come into range.

 

left hook counter from outside

Land the left hook from the outside. (You can also throw to the body.)

 

Angled left hook against southpaw
Extra Tip: angle the left hook down over the southpaw’s right shoulder.

  • Your left hooks might have hard time getting around the southpaw’s right shoulder.
  • Try angling your left hook downwards over his front shoulder.
  • Let it smash into his temple or chin.

 
2. Slip inside southpaw left.

left hook inside southpaw left cross

Throw a counter left hook right, rotating your body as the southpaw comes in with a left cross.

  • Your body rotation from throwing the hook will rotate your head out of harm’s way.
  • Even if he blocks, he will be pushed off balance.
  • Try to slip INSIDE the southpaw’s left cross as you counter.

 

3. Slip outside the southpaw left.

left hook slipping outside southpaw left

Lean or step outside to your right as you throw a counter left hook.

  • Try aiming at his chin first, and then his temple next. One of them is bound to be open.
  • Even if he blocks your left hook, he will be pushed off balance for your follow-up right hand.
  • Try stepping out to the right, moving laterally as you attack his far side.

 

4. Roll into a left hook after a blocked jab.

lazy jab against southpaw

Feed him a lazy jab and let him slap it down with his right glove.

 

rolling the hook

Relax your arm and let the momentum of his parry roll your arm around…

 

hook over the top

… into a left hook over the top!

 

 

Tips to Fighting Southpaws

Learn to fight like a southpaw

  • At least understand the southpaw if you can’t use his own tactics against him. Read the Southpaw Guide to Beating Orthodox Fighters. Learn the angles that orthodox fighters just don’t see and don’t know how to defend against.

Always expect the counter left

  • Always expect the southpaw to counter your every move with the left cross. Be ready for it at all times. Watch for the left cross anytime you throw a punch, ANY PUNCH. Once you understand this behavior, you can take advantage of it.
  • Try throwing a right hook/uppercut to his body (or elbow), giving him an easy block as you pull your head to the left. Then slip your head down outside the southpaw’s counter left. Then come back with a counter right to the head.

Do Not Stand Still Against a Southpaw

  • Because of the stances, you cannot just close up and rest against a southpaw. You’re either eating punches, trading punches, or countering punches. Either way, you will have to fight! You cannot stall the fight with your shoulders and movement like you can against another orthodox fighter. Don’t forget about the constant battle for foot position. You will need stamina to keep moving the entire fight.

Use More Punching Angles

  • Chasing a southpaw down with basic jabs and 1-2′s is not going to work. You’ll have to throw some tricky hooks and uppercuts to catch a southpaw. Mix up left hooks with your jab and overhand rights with your right crosses. Keep moving your head up, down, and sideways to get yourself some new punching angles. The southpaw is more open than you think. Keep looking for that open angle!

Use More Defensive Angles

  • Don’t just slip side to side. Try pulling going backwards and forwards. You can slip many of the southpaw’s punches simply by pulling your head back a few inches. It also helps to dip your head down a bit to bait his punches downwards, then just stand up taller and counter him over the top.

 

Best Examples of Orthodox Fighters Beating Southpaws

Kostya Tsyzu vs Zab Judah

  • Study Tszyu’s smart pressure and subtle movements to KO the slippery Judah…watch for Tszyu’s extended left hand.

Erik Morales vs Manny Pacquiao 1

  • Morales has excellent timing on the jab and tricky right hands going up and down. This was the last time Manny Pacquiao lost!

Jean Pascal vs Chad Dawson

  • This is a classic textbook fight on how to beat southpaws!!!! Pascal gets his front outside over and over… look for the double right from the outside. (thanks for the link, Radd!)

Bernard Hopkins vs Antonio Tarver

  • High variety of right hands from the cagey Hopkins. Sneaky head movement while punching and slipping. Very fun to watch an orthodox push a taller southpaw around on the inside.

Lucas Matthysse vs Demarcus Corley

  • Excellent pivots, footwork and head movement from Matthysse to beat southpaw Corley.

Floyd Mayweather vs Zab Judah

  • Mayweather utilizing excellent inside fighting, lead rights, and forearm crushes to neutralize Judah.

Miguel Cotto vs Carlos Quintana

  • Very smart pressure, clever body punching, and BEAUTIFUL left hooks to KO the bigger southpaw.

Andre Berto vs Carlos Quintana

  • Berto wins with lots of right hands, downwards left hooks, and good head movement slipping outside the southpaw left.

Saul Alvarez vs Ryan Rhodes

  • Nice pivots, side-stepping, and body movement from Alvarez. Rhodes has some good moments, too. Just know that Rhodes switches stance a lot.

Nonito Donaire vs Vic Darchinyan

  • Donaire shows how deadly a left hook can be against southpaws in a Knockout-Of-The-Year!

Yuriorkis Gamboa in the Olympics

  • Pawing jab, wide left hooks. He moves to his right, evades the southpaw’s left and lands many right hands. Beautiful example of the amateur style.

An example of me fighting a southpaw. I love this clip despite all the technical errors because there are so many tricks and tactics that I use against southpaws in such a short clip. See if you can identify all the little tricks I use to out-move him, push him around, or score tricky potshots.

 

Beating a Southpaw

Again, the keys to beating the southpaw:

  1. Keep your front foot on the outside.
  2. Counter his left cross. 

Your success against the southpaw depends almost entirely on how well you keep your front foot on the outside, and how well you counter his left cross. Notice that I said “counter”, and not avoid. You want to take advantage of his left cross, punishing him every time he throws it. You must fight with foot positioning before you can fight with your hands. Your offense and defense are more effective when you get into the right position. You won’t need any special southpaw combinations because any punch you throw will have more effect.

Fighting southpaws has always made for my toughest fights. I learned how to fight southpaws by watching them in action. The next time you watch an orthodox fight a southpaw, see who controls the outside foot position. Then see how the fighter with the inside foot responds. Pay attention to who controls the pace and exactly what punches they are throwing. It took me a year of studying *COUGH* (getting beat up by) *COUGH* southpaws to finally understand exactly how they fight. It doesn’t matter if you’re the orthodox or the southpaw, the same tactics and skills will generally apply.

Orthodox fighters are usually more skilled than southpaw fighters.

Always remember that you right handers are almost always better trained than your southpaw opponents. All the coaches and guides and practice that you have is from an orthodox stance. All the combinations you have been taught and fancy skills have all been designed for the orthodox fighter. Most professional fights that you see will be with orthodox fighters. You have more practice and more technique at your craft. Don’t let the fight with a southpaw turn into a mirror match-up — jab vs jab or cross vs cross. Use all the skills you have, chances are you’ve got more than he does!

I have to dedicate this guide to my 2 southpaw friends, Van and Marc, two of the most difficult sparring partners I’ve ever had. If it wasn’t for them beating my ass for months straight, I would not have developed the skills to beat southpaws.

The next guide to the southpaw-orthodox match-up will focus on the many angles of attacks.

So what happens next? Do I write another guide for the southpaws? Or help orthodox fighters win? Who wants it more? Let me know in your comments ;)

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77 Comments

Gordon August 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm

You are awesome
I thought this article was going to be just a reversal of your southpaw guide. It turns out to be much more. Forgive me for my lack of faith! Seeing how to deal with the inside position was great. Sometimes I get tired of always predictably fighting for the outside position, this gives me more options. Also, seeing your outside position pictures showed me how much can be exploited if I got inside. Even though I’m a short guy, I’m still having trouble actually getting inside against a southpaw or otherwise. This will definitely be a better incentive for learning to get in.

Time for an actual question. You’ve stressed how the jab should greatly outnumber all of the other punches combined. Against a southpaw, should the straight right vastly outnumber all the other punches?

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Lou August 2, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Great article. I’m also guessing as a southpaw I can use these techniques to my advantage against an orthodox?

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oaappa August 2, 2011 at 11:46 pm

the next guide you make should also help the orthodox fighters win!!!!;-)

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TGP August 4, 2011 at 12:39 am

ur next guide should be for the southpaws.

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Radd August 4, 2011 at 7:20 am

Your next guide should be about the common communication faults in relationships and place of boxing in relationships 8)

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Charles August 4, 2011 at 8:54 am

@TGP He has one up already.

Been reading this website a lot lately and I’m gonna use this guide to make sure none of you righties get to sneak a win in on me. Especially that pivot move. Also taking notes about common weaknesses and making sure I don’t slack off there. I like throwing hooks though. Thanks for all the helpful advice so far.

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saber khan August 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm

@Johnny N

hey coach were u ever in my area of the world or were we in the same gym or something ? it seems to much of a coincidence for me now watching the stuff u do against southpaws and how hilariously similiar it is to my own ideas. except i couldnt put them in words quite that way. front foot. i just to say `keep your body turned towards him a little more clockwise than usual’ but front foot sounds easier to understand. the left cross is definitely their best punch, they suck at the right hook but its POTENTIALLY its the most dangerous a fighter can have. its like a left hook that has to travel half distance! if there was a southpaw roy jones i dont think even sugar ray robinson could win one against a guy with a southpaw right hook.

ur right the left hook is only dangerous cuz ppl get so busy with the jab because suddenly everything’s landing, the jab is shorter, ppl love to double up the jab and do fancy crap and not realise the southpaw is gently turning towards their right even as he is taking punches. thankfullt for me since my left hook was my bread and butter i always stop fighters from going to my right so naturally guys who like to hook dont have that left cross danger. i like to fake jab and im looking for the hook so i dont care about their pitiful left cross and a well versed boxer can beat a southpaw’s left cross to the punch with his left own hook even if he’s drunk :-) i dont think manny pacquaio can throw a left cross that lands before tua’s hook. plus the natural thing that would happen (and ive seen this when an orthodox fighter throws their hook late when they see the southpaw throwing the cross and the ortho fighter is out of position) the left cross can often hit the glove or best case scenario the elbow of the orthodox fighter’s hand as it’s crossing the path to their head. this is if the left hook is thrown reeally late as a counter to a southpaw’s left cross. lefties also dont have a good body punch because the liver shot is so hard for them to hit. and their right hook to the body does not hurt so much and its easy to block, the solar plexus punch does hurt as much either stance.
southpaws have excellent 1-2s, they have better jabs, they understand footwork better than us. they are considerably more used to getting things done with their left cross as compared to the average high quality ortho fighter. they also slip better (kind of goes along with their straight shot thinking).

a southpaw is easy meat to someone who:

1. keeps the right glove up as if its kind of meant to be there (sam used to say keep your right thumb on your chin like ur listening to a girl blab and u dont want your head to roll over and fall with boredom :-)
2. uses their left shoulder as a third glove against any jab or cross and just rolls to block right hand crosses and away from left handed crosses while throwing a left hand at the same time
3. have a left hook that will daze a southpaw even when they keep their right glove plastered to their face and make him have to pass his teeth through his digestive system if he gets cocky
4. can stiffen the jab and knock a head back if he needs to in order to stop southpaws always keeping that right hand up
5. has an excellent jab-hook and up hook-low hook feint (and vice versas of course)
6. loves to move to the left and bob-weave with a hard left hook up or down
7. if stunned knows the proper way to clinch a southpaw (your chin on their left shoulder not right shoulder, grab their right arm from the armpit and hold onto their bicep, BUT hold their left hand not from below the elbow but from above-as you move back before the ref comes you have a chance to do devastating damage with your hook even while tied up, while their left hand is totally out of the southpaw’s prefere stance doesnt have the distance or even a good target to go to and will clip your shoulder since ur head is on their heads right side)
8. opens with hooks rather than jabs
9. instinctively bob-weaves right to throw the left to the body
10. just likes to go towards their own left

unfortanutely most of the orthos dont do any of the above. they open with jabs, they like moving right, they dont bob and weave to their own right well and when they do they throw rights not lefts. they dont know how to put power into a jab from short distance dont know how to clinch a southpaw or use little jab-hook feints

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saber khan August 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

oops made a KO mistake
sorry guys, i think i goofed up

the proper way to clinch a southpaw:

1. your chin goes on their anatomical right shoulder, the place between their right arm and their head.
2. you hold their right arm with your left arm, but your elbow above theirs-this is so can quickly move away and throw the left hook first and more repeatedly (if you cant hook from short distance with power and tend to just have a pawing effect, or ure tired as hell and just want a rest, or u feel like slow dancing rather than going for a KD immobilize that arm with the under-armpot around the bicep grip cuz it is possible for an opponent to escape from this grip)
3. you hold their left arm with your right arm and totally tie it up unless u happen to have superhuman speed in which case u can do what i suggest you do with the elbow on top but not under and tying up
4. your feet should not turn, ur chin is on their right shoulder your right leg is outside their left leg and you pull on their left hand with that strange grip right hand of yours. because you anchored , u can keep in normal orientation. and if u want, u can pull suddenly their left arm with your right and turn them into an ortho stance and quickly land a couple of shots. but if u dont know where u are or are tired just stick to not being changed into southpaw stance by keeping your chin on their right shoulder and your left leg outside their right leg and your left shoulder into their right shoulder and your right shoulder away from their left

the proper way to run from a southpaw is to your left, throwing jabs while pivoting left is easy and bobbomg and weaving under their left long cross will give you the chance to throw a devastating right cross or a left hook or a left uppercut.

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TGP August 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm

@Charles
i know he already has one….i meant one for southpaw’s against southpaw’s

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curtis August 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm

left right and centre
i am very curious to see what would happen if a left handed fighter were to use the same techiques as the southpaw guide to beat a ortherdox fighter would as to see how a right handed boxer would fiar using the same techiuqes promoted in this artical how to beat a southpaw. And further more im quit the evermore inquisitive about what would happen in the fight if both of them even behan to switch hit among one and other?! :-)

i know it sounds like a lot to take in but trust me i really like to therise on this. its one of my ultimate tope 10 quries what would happen if both followed both diserplines on both of the different guides and they both fought one and other. what do you think would happen

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saber khan August 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm

right hand isnt dominant without left foot
coach, not sure how you came to the `right hand’s the best way to go’ philosophy. its true most fighters are out-fighters or boxers. but here’s my understanding. 2 stanced fighters look just like the letter `V’. the top parts are your cross hands, and you can see how far they are from each other. and the bottom of the V are the 2 jab hands. it is very obvious that whoever can do better with that closer part is going to do much better than trying to square up. i know guys like roy jones or pacquaio defy allll odds. but sucker lead crosses dont work against an equally skilled opponent. however, hooks and crosses will do more damage than normal because-well just look at that V shape.

but the lead right is the most dangerous punch to the opposite stanced fighter WHEN THE FRONT FOOT IS FAR TO THE OUTSIDE. definitely. but i cant imagine any benefit throwing rights if torsos are pointed straight at each other. but the lean and any moron who knows how to jab accurately if not hard will totally take away this `supreme advantage’.

against opposite handed fighters the best things to do, for either style:

0. southpaws know orthodox fighters but its not the other way around. and the key to that is the blindsightedness faced by the orthodoxers more than the southpaws. the right hook in my opinion is potentially the most devastating impossible to see punch in boxing. one cannot see that punch and yet keep an eye on the rear hand the way they can with same sided fighters. i used to switch to southpaw sometimes just to throw a really crap right jab and a modified right hook which seemed to be invisible to other fighters. and yet no one i know even coach Johnny has put out an article or chapter in any book every published or any video about how deadly the most potentially KO-ing punch in boxing can be. its easy to see the backhand and the front hand if they are both up. but if some left hander learns to keep that right hand down, use the shoulder defense and has power in that right hand im convinced he will be unbeatable unless he possesses a glass chin or some other issue.

1. the lead hook to the body and the head are punches that dont need any foot movement or other stuff. if u can hook fast and accurate u got the opposite guy

2. the feet (which you’ve mentioned, getting the front foot outside theirs, or as i call it, getting your torso to face them while theirs is facing away from you. if you can get their torso out in an angle away from yours while yours is facing their head and shoulder, the lead back hand can is the best punch money can buy for the average fighter since the cross can be taught while the hook is more a punch one has or does not have. anyone can get a HUGE advantage with a cross if the `front foot is on the outside’ and you have strafed your opponent

3. feints that allow the hook to be thrown to the body and to the head

4. a jab that can actually stun an opponent for half a second rather than just getting points

5. the normal jab and its reach is of less significance. particularly to the orthodox fighter, because the southpaw right hook to a fighter slipping the jab or moving in from the southpaw’s right does not have any good role models. unlike the standard model of boxing, the good old jab is a decoy and a helper to the hook at best.

6. southpaws dont know how to boston crab. at all.

7. leaning back works. against guys who are actually throwing crosses. however youd better be good in ur ability to evaluate if it really is a cross or a fake. one of my southpaw opponents’ favorite stalking moves was to feint a cross, see someone try and lean back and then whack them in the solar plexus.

8. moving in and particuarly countering someone while moving in is very different. since it’s not about the jab so much as the footwork, the angle, it is harder to move in and really bother any one of the opposing style unless you get them on the ropes.

9. tying up is different. i mentioned it before, southpaws can do the reverse. it makes the clinch so much more effective.

10. on the ropes things are much harder if one opponent gets stuck as coach has brilliantly shown visually, that is a bad bad bad situation.

11. combos are harder. you can throw lead hand, back hand, but you are always going to need more time to hit someone of the opposing style.

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Marc August 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm

@Curtis

It becomes a chess match when each person decides to switch hit.

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saber khan August 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm

advantages of each stance and those common to both fighters in mixed stances
southpaws have 3 advantages over orthodox fighters:

1. more experience with orthodox fighters

2. the cross which they master in their own unique way different from the orthodox cross

3. the potential of the right hook

which is a humongous advantage. orthodox fighters have 3 advantages but not all of them can be `obtained’ the way the southpaw’s advantage can:

1. better training

2. better understanding of the hands down shoulder roll technique

3. better understanding of powerful lead hooks which southpaws dont have.

@curtis

when 2 opposite stanced fighters fight they too have 3 advantages/disadvantages depending on how well they do in those fields:

1. reach isnt as big a factor speed is

2. combos are much harder but tying up and finishing someone off the ropes if they are wrong footed is much easier

3. fast feet take on a life of their own while the ability to come in and go out is not as much of an issue, its reliant more on hand speed and footwork to the sides and whether someone is dazed enough to make an inside entry

4. lead hand feints are more useful, over-hand counters are near pointless

what coach is saying in the guide, is basically how to fight a southpaw like a southpaw. southpaws against orthodox is the same crap. except of course, the southpaw tech would try to emphasise the left cross. southpaw tech on the cross has been developed but no work has ever been done on a canonical right hook for the left handed fighter. what i know from old timers, is that the right hook for the left handed boxer has never been mastered. it was a lefthanded man the great corbett, the first champ of the queensberry rules era who actually developed the LEFT HOOK, the RIGHT HANDED MAN’S best friend. so a right hook would require someone who’s right handed to fight southpaw-and i dont see any right handed guy dumbass enough today to go so far against the grain. i tried myself, but im not a jim corbett. but i like my left hook i didnt want to hurt its feelings :-) southpaw or ortho, its all about what each form has in common. which is the need for the feet to be in place, and the need to be able to see the right lead and the left lead. the differences are in those 6 points i mentioned. they’re not really that different compared boxers vs different wushu, jiu jitsu, taekwando and muay thai fighters and karate practicioners

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Jacobi August 5, 2011 at 10:52 am

LIKE LIKE LIKE!

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Johnny N August 6, 2011 at 5:23 am

@Gordon – you’re welcome. I know what you mean about always being too predictable about going for the outside foot. This is a tough call…your jab and hooks are still important…but the right hand is definitely the most important punch. I’m not so sure if it’s the most used punch but it definitely holds the key to beating southpaws. A successful right hand is twofold, one is that you’re landing a big punch, two is that you’re probably neutralizing the southpaw’s left by landing your right.

@Lou – yes, you can. DO IT!

@oaappa – hahahaha. One vote for the orthodox.

@TGP – one vote for the southpaws. For southpaw VS southpaw, you can follow all the other guides that I’ve written for orthodox vs orthodox.

@Radd – are you talking about marriage/couples counseling for boxing families? Hahaha.

@Charles – you’re welcome

@saber khan – Hahaha, who knows man. Maybe we’ve sparred together a couple hundred times. There were so many sparring opponents whose names I never bothered to remember. The way I see it…we’re both discoverers of the truth. Just students of the game and exposing and sharing the truth as we find it. We don’t create it, we simply tell it like it is and give others the chance to interpret it in their own way and respond to however their style/personality decides to do so.

I do agree with the proper way to clinch southpaws. I do it all the time. Just stand outside one hand and loop your left around and under his left. Then push his right shoulder away with yours. Then throw shots when he’s turned away.

Your comment on “the right hand isn’t dominant without left foot” is right on. I thought I expressed that clearly with (1. front foot outside, 2. land the right hand) but I never connected it together as you did. I’ll have to make it more clear. Thanks!

I love your comment about the southpaw right hook. I do know about it and use it many times myself, in the same style as Miguel Cotto. Watch him retreat against opponents (Margarito/Pacquiao). He’ll pivot CCW off his BACKfoot, and then land a big southpaw right hook. I’ve been using that deadly angle for 2 years now but haven’t quite learned how to explain it just yet, I only know how to use it. But maybe in another year, I’ll achieve even technical proficiency to teach it.

@curtis – I think the southpaws already do many things naturally like getting their front foot outside. So for them, I would focus more on punching angles and specific head movements against orthodox fighters. I would also work on the southpaw’s right hook and develop angles for it.

@Jacobi – I thought of you when I was putting this up. Happy Birthday, hahaha.

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Rubio December 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Hey Johnny,

Great guide, I’m really impressed with the depth and detail.

My secondary coach, a pro fighter as I understand, once quoted Mayweather Sr. in saying “Most people don’t know shit about boxing”, when I asked about training and fighting as a switch stance fighter (both orthodox and southpaw simultaneously during a fight, not just either or depending on opponents stance).
He meant to say, “I really couldn’t tell you”.

What do you think? Is this something worth working at? My strong hand would designate me as an orthodox fighter, but I’ve always naturally stood southpaw. Are there any professional fighters who fight this way?
Maybe this could be a heavy enough subject to warrant a guide.

Thanks for all you do here on this site.

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Johnny N December 4, 2013 at 10:29 am

That’s usually a waste of time in my opinion. Most people who ask this question are doing it to be more versatile. If anything, I would say you are most versatile from your best position.

So if you want to do something new, it’s better for you to work on NEW things from your normal stance, than to try and do the same things from your switch stance. Because once you switch your stance, you have to spend time figuring out how to be comfortable before you can start doing new things with it.

There are professional fighters who can switch comfortably (Marvin Hagler comes to mind) but we’re talking about guys who spent their whole life in boxing. They might have spent more years in their switch stance than you have in your whole boxing career.

The ultimate answer is for you to try it out and see for yourself. Do it, and then get in the ring with a skilled opponent and see how much it helps you. Chances are, if he was beating you up from your normal stance (your BEST stance), you switching to an inferior stance isn’t going to work either.

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Gian August 7, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Orthodox article please! Great work btw

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Jonathan A August 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Awesome article as usual.
Thanks for a great article Johnny. I find your articles incredibly useful in my amateur MMA as I have to fight as a southpaw even though I’m right handed due to a knee injury. (Can’t takeThai kicks to my left knee anymore). Its great to be able to take punches in training, analyse where I went wrong and fix my mistakes by referring to your articles. I’m always amazed at how lost some boxing coaches look when I ask them for help as a southpaw. Your advice has helped me a lot. keep up the great work!

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saber khan August 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm

various advanced stuff
could be we sparred tho im kinda sure ud remember me if i landed something. i think id be insulted if someone didnt remember me at all :P

well the foot thing, i just felt u mentioned the right cross being the deadliest hand quite a bit before the understanding of the foot position and the southpaw being unable to counter so i thot maybe someone was gonna get confused. maybe it was just my understanding :-)

things to do against southpaws, be warned this is mostly ADVANCED:

jab

> dont fall in love with the jab and use the philly shell (shoulder cover)
> if they parry your jab feint a jab and hit them with the hook
> jab the body and the head nearly equally, southpaws are closer easier to hit the body with and if u can make it a stiff jab (with all your powerful weight behind it) it can take the wind out of them
> as you keep moving left away from their pivot and jab it gives the jab more power they will be able to do the same thing if they know how but usually no ortho does this to them often plus it naturally strengthens your jab
> jab at their right ear if u find them throwing a lead left cross it will land on their face like a counter right cross

cross

> dont do it unless your foot is outside theirs
> if they counter cross as youre throwing yours, throw your elbow and forearm up which will their left arm into the air, bend the right knee and throw a right hook to their totally exposed left side of the chin
> feint the cross, punch their left hand’s elbow or just the inside of their arm then throw your cross from there
> speed is more important than power, southpaws depend on their cross u just have to land urs first and accurately-so aim your cross TOWARDS THEIR RIGHT EAR rather than straight at their face because they tend to slip inside your cross naturally to throw a long left cross

combo punching that gets u inside

1-7-2 (jab, left hook to body, right cross)
1-5-4 (jab, left lead uppercut, right hook)
7-3-2 (left hook to body, left hook to head, cross)

slipping/bob-weaving

> slip to the outside of their right jab hand (coach wrote it as slipping inside their left cross, just wanted to point out its the reverse if ure slipping their jab)
> slipping outside the right jab all the time will let them feint a cross or jab and hit you with a hook. as a variation if u see them timing ur slip outside, slip inside their right jab but be sure ur right hand is in guard position to deflect their cross and your left uppercut should land flush whether they are trying a cross or a right hook-this can be the blow you are looking for, it can also devastate them mentally but it is very hard unless u are great at keeping your hands in place while slipping/bobbig and weaving and punching all at the same time
> bob-weave to your left under their right hook and throw a body shot, opening up the follow up left hook up or uppercut or the right cross
> u can bob-weave right under their right cross and have your right foot land in front of your left (turning you into a southpaw) and do something amazing: simultaneously throw your left body shot as a kind of a cross at their solar plexus, its a paralyzing shot. ur right hand must be up to stop the left cross plus ur shoulder will be covering ur chip. you basically just turned TURNED SOUTHPAW and CAN deliver a haymaker right hook! they will tell their southpaw buddies about orthos being real pieces of crap of u can do this kind of stuff

blocking/parrying

> dont parry their lead right jab just outjab them or block or shoulder roll
> keep ur left elbow real tight and bring it back after every left shot or they can land their right body shot between ur combos
> roll with the left cross-if they throw a left cross roll your shoulders clockwise to parry their glove sideways at their wrist with your wrist. this leaves their hand wide outside giving you a clear path to throw your right
> roll your shoulders on the left cross as before, but parry down not out-easier more accurate
> roll your shoulders clockwise and dip your right shoulder. and use ur right glove to push their left hand down into your own elbow it could break their hand. and ure 90% on the way to victory automatically
> your right liver is almost immune to their punch except close in, so remember always bring elbows back in case they get creative and know how to throw a left body punch off a weave or a slip (few southpaws do)

feet circling/moving in/diagonal

> go the opposite way diagonally backwards as you circle if u want to mess them up and know how to roll their left cross outside inside and down and block it-you get the angle to throw left hooks and uppercuts between their right and left hands and can hit their solar plexus, a lot of things no poor southpaw expects

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Radd August 8, 2011 at 2:50 am

Jean Pascal vs Chad Dawson full fight link
@Johnny

Under this link there is full fight of Jean Pascal vs Chad Dawson match. Link works bit slow on my computer, it may need to wait a little time to watch. I hope it helps.

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTk4MzIxODU2.html

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Johnny N August 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

@Saber Khan – good stuff. I’ll keep that in mind when I write the advanced southpaw angles guide later.

@Radd – thank you for the link!

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Radd August 10, 2011 at 6:36 am

ortho vs ortho advantegous direction
Johnny i wonder we go left side when fighting southpaw so is there any “one” direction has more advantage in ortho vs ortho situation (right side ?) or neither one has advantage over other direction ?

When going right, in “ortho vs ortho” situation blocking opponents right punch with his left arm is still possible i guess or is it ?

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Johnny N August 10, 2011 at 8:06 am

@Radd – when 2 fighters of the same stance fight each other… the only footwork advantages they have is when one cuts or pivots around outside the other, so that he has 2 hands in range compared to the other guy only having one. but because they’re both the same stance, it’s easy for the other guy to respond by pivoting over to equal up the stance again. In orth vs southpaw, the boxer with the inferior position has to completely move away to regain an equal position.

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saber khan August 10, 2011 at 11:13 am

re: ortho vs ortho advantegous direction
@Radd

i got a quite different view: moving sidewards-forward while crouching, moving sidewards-forwards upright, moving sidewards-backwards upright, moving sidewards or sidewayrds-diagonally upright, moving sidewards crouching. quite different.

ultimately, a jabber is better going to the left diagonally backwards-circling more, it helps his jab pivoting, he has a good shoulder roll to block the right, and he still has a chance to land his left and counter a jab, hook or cross since tter’es a little more time and u get to hit the side of their face (the right) that they usually throw the fastest at u. when u counter that u get more stun power. some pretty avg powered boxers get pressure fighters to stop in their tracks catching them on their backhand side rather than the front hand side (on a left hook). and lets face it youre not gonna find many chances to counter a well thrown hook with a cross. as ur going to ur left (not just sidestepping im talking circling and diagonally going backwards and then diaginally forwards to mess up the range-it’s harder to understand range when ur making LITTLE diagonal movements). a puncher is forced to either go up against your jab and hook if they try to cut you off by moving towards your left (moving towards their right) to have a chance to hit. so if u cant PUNCH AT ALL-i guess the best direction would be out of the ring :D but if u can jab well, hook ok, the left is a good direction overall. the right long cross has less distance to travel making it less powerful, your left jab and left hook will be closer to them, and if u can hit them with a counter jab against their right it will often stop them in their tracks and u can throw YOUR right against their left hook which is harder to land because their left hand is further away. and if the opponent has an unnatural ali/leonard/pacquaio/mayweaater like fast lead hand go the other way man. either way u gotta know how to go both ways

a guy with a good left hook behind the jab would do better going left and diagonally forward.

and a puncher who likes his right would like to go to his right so a jabber would either have to try and jab him with a less stiff less accurate right pivoting jab. or they gotta throw a left hook to stop you (what u thot it was gonna be free just knocking their block off ?) so u gotta know how to duck weave and throw any lower left-upper right or upper right-lower left combo or a mix. i personally think if u get under the left in time, the left to the solar plexus is best to start with then a right to the chin if u see him not bringing his left hand back and a right to the top of the head (his left temple). this has to be automated of course practice practice practice against the heavybag, then the double end bag, then someone cooperative in practice-sparring slowly (u gotta give him some similiar slow-mo time for him to automate his shots, so i suggest working in a higher or lower weight class but around the same height).

ULTIMATELY…u need to know how to go both ways, so yeah there is one direction u can take more than the other but u need to know how to go both ways upright sidewards side=forwards and side-backwards, crouching sidewards and crouching side=forwards. ppl who dont learn this stuff later get beaten by fighters over and over and have no idea why their jabs arent in range, why their punches arent as hard, why ppl are catching them why they cant catch others so learn it and be done with it :-)

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Radd August 12, 2011 at 4:13 am

@Johnny; thanks bro.

@saber (Aka star sheriff :-)); Thanks man. I wonder are you currently fight and is there anyway to watch your fights or do you have recorded videos of your fights ? Since you are very experienced and have deep knowledge on boxing, watching your fights with your comments would be great to learn techniques and see them on action would be very helpful to understand these techniques totaly in my opinion.

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saber khan August 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm

no vids bro
@Radd

ok this is gonna be a history lesson, and the short answer is-no :`(

the full story may tell people about why i in particular really find it amazing someone’s teaching boxers fundamentals in such an accessible way.

the fact that i have no footage of my pro fights really pains me, i wasnt living in a place like mexico or the states or the UK where boxing’s a really big sport or even a socially accepted thing. We had pro fights in boxing gyms, unofficial champions no actual belts. and i was lucky really, the boxing circuit popped up big in the GCC thanks to the success of one guy, prince naseem h3amed. before that there were just boxing gyms, a sanctioning body on paper and fighers got probably $200 to max $1000 a bout. but h3amed really started getting attention in the GCC in 94, pure boxing gyms started popping up. when he won the featherweight championship in 95 or 96 pro fighters started making money regularly because ppl showed up to fights. since h3amed was originally yemeni (tho he represented and was a native of sheffield UK) a group of younger people wanted to kind of rally around him, like pac and the phillipines right now :-)

but boxing never took off in the GCC like it did in philillipines (which started long ago in the 50′s, was propelled by Ali-Frazier and manny sent it into the stratosphere). naseem h3amed pissed off more ppl than he attracted cuz he used to dance to music (forbidden in islam) yet talked abt the religion like he was practicing it right. so most were polarized against him. local pro boxing wasnt televised on tv, so there was no big money. hell HBO live PPVs then were only available in a few western-european expatriate communities, most HBO subscribers got to see fights 2 weeks or more after actual fights. boxing was not at all a popular sport the common man knew abt. in uae the popular sports were soccer, tennis, cricket, and for the rich, race horsing and golf. i never told anyone i was making money boxing but ppl did know just how we came to know when pro matches were going on as schoolkids.

so no one really wanted to be videoing stuff since the whole thing was frowned upon and cellphone videocams hadnt been invented even when i had finished in 2002. and i doubt any but expensive pro cameras could film properly in the gyms fights took place in. they were just normal gym lights. recently an old friend who copied VHS tapes we recorded of HBO shown fights in the gym digitized them and i received that 6 weeks ago. ill check with him. id be ecstatic just to find poor quality VHS tapes of my fights man.

the mideast martial arts summits were definitely filmed, they were broadcast cams. but it wasnt real competitive fighting as we understand it in boxing, its all start-score a point-break-ref says point given-touch gloves-start. nothing like actual pro boxing style exchanges. i couldnt find any of my bouts exhibited in the replays i saw on TV but then i didnt watch the whole thing, there was more wushu, karate and wrestling exhibitions shown than boxing (they did show a karate fighter breaking 4 bricks in exhibition, but didnt show him losing to a mexican boxer from my gym the same day something we were pissed abt).

h3amed was somewhat the reason the average `coach’ was looking for people who could punch and didnt care abt fundamental defense. there were more southpaws than avg in the GCC many righthanded guys (not the filipinos tho) fought southpaw too. i was taught almost NO defensive fundamentals and i was sparring after my first 3 weeks. those coaches could tell u how smart tunney was, how kid levinsky was underrated. they did do us a big favor by making us work corners getting us experience of the pros that way, but wouldnt say a word about whether one was going offbalance, not countering in time, exposing themselves in sparring. there WERE good coaches, british and american expats who coached in their spare time, with lots of film footage of old fighters, knew good technique and special tricks. filipino coaches too, who did favor filipino fighters and train them mainly. i just didnt find those coaches till i had won more than a dozen straight.

thats why i really admire coach Js work. theres another site myboxingcoach good info but its obvious only experienced guys are going there, ppl who are lost asking questions like i used to ask are on this site. places like esb saddo are for experienced ppl arguing fantasy fights and specialised tech and styles.

i wish someone shows up someday with fan-cammed vids of my and other GCC fights.. if i have kids id like them to know their old man could dish it out back in the day :-)

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Radd August 13, 2011 at 8:49 am

@Saber; maybe you can find some surprise footage like you said, if you won’t thats not important i guess, you can tell your matches and experiences anywhere anytime. Even if you find the footages, according to your say, cause of very low definition even you won’t identify yourself i guess :-)

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saber khan August 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

@Radd

i actually had one little fight unsanctioned at dxb airport yesterday night. couple of arabs making diggs on indians and bangladeshis (im from bangladesh) and they bumped me with their shoulder, spilled their coffee which i have no idea how they managed to land with, onto my bloody passports man! passports! i got a swollen eye right now, im supposed to go for a lot of meets, but i think i taught them a lesson. knocked both down, one guy i got him in the throat. and guess what the police was on my ass more than theirs cuz im a `doctor and shud know better’. 2 guys, both over 6, against one 5’7 guy. boxing rules dude. but the other guy think he was egyptian socked me and i took it on my left wrist, he was wearing a bunch of rings i think my wrist is killing me. i actually would have asked if anybody’d cammed it just for u guys :-) but we were kinda busy with the customs police and my passorts :sad: there not that bad considering, but the 2 upper and lower margins on the newer bangla one are messed up, the others werent badly affected.

boxing rules guys, its not just for the gyms. howver im not encouraging this behavior, i ma `Doctor and shud know better’/ better they flattened me than i fought back i supposed, my right eeye’s killing me and im typng one handed. this is gonna e a good visit :s

thanks for encourangement tho rad appreciate it

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Radd August 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm

@Saber, oh my goodness !! sorry to hear what happened, get well soon bro.

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King Lion August 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

@Saber Khan……8)

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Radd August 15, 2011 at 3:22 am

@Johnny

On demo;

First of all perfect camera angle everything clearly see. THX for that.

0:55 is an perfect expression of how vulnerable southpaw from the left. You jump on from left with putting your head on his right arm and clean hit to the body and head.

On 1:17 and 1:24 the movement that you do sharply looks cool. High-guard – when he is punch, slip – and then counter, cool move.

And lastly, what are you laughing at on 1:20 i really wonder :-) my prediction is that you little hurt him with that body shot :-)

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Johnny N August 15, 2011 at 5:04 am

@Radd – Yup, I busted out laughing because he squealed a little bit when I caught him with that body shot. I was going for the head but he jumped out of the way so I reached for whatever was there. Thanks for watching. ;-)

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Radd August 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm

@Saber – What do you think about “Joshua Clottey” Style ? High guard, going forward, pressure and counter style. i guess he is underrated and bad luck guy.

Good Highlight video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZBYNQ0hL2A

Margarito vs clottey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqhHpvL461c&feature=related

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Saber khan August 21, 2011 at 10:12 am

@radd

Clottey has a tight tortoise shell defense and above avg speed hands his 2 combos are quick. Other than that bro from the 3 matches I’ve seen (truly not enough to make a proper judgement) I gotta say he has crappy upper torso defense lousy at leading and above avg counterpuncher (and that’s only because his hands are in place) footwork is good backwards but he doesnt seem to know how to go sideways forwards properly his combos are predictable and he’s a robot man. A good boxer would take him apart by making him lead or by outpointing him by appearing the agressor or countering him over his hands (probably the worst way against such a defensive fighter) but fast and powerful can do it. he is good but I don’t think we will remember him as an important opponent to the HOFers we have today. I like how he puts his hands but no upper or lower body defensive or countering moves and predictable not too powerful combos he doesn’t feint or lead correctly or use his legs or angles. I don’t see anything that good about him he reminds me more of an amateur who scores on points hit on target rather than one who fights thinking about who is the offensive fighter who uses or doesn’t use countering opportunities. If he had complete hand torso and footwork skills I would rate him higher but he still wouldn’t have the tricks the tools adjustments a Hopkins or other successful technicians need to have to succeed without great speed quickness power or chin

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Radd August 21, 2011 at 7:54 pm

@Saber, Thanks bro.

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ace mancini August 24, 2011 at 6:28 am

boxer
im a south paw myself.these r sum good techniques i admit that. but i been in tha ring since tha age of 8 and i was never at a disadvantage. whos to say a southpaw wont use those tactics and turn them against his orthodox opponent?

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Johnny N August 24, 2011 at 6:33 am

@ace – you’re a monster. Stop scaring all the orthodox guys here. Actually, southpaws don’t have to think too much about these tactics, they’ve already been doing them naturally since they began fighting orthodox fighters. But yeah, it does work the other way around, too.

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Radd August 29, 2011 at 9:02 am

Lennox Lewis says the same thing; front foot outside
At the beginning moment of this video Lennox Lewis says the same thing about fighting against southpaws; keep the front foot outside. Also good match to watch on spaw vs ortho.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiHkYmY5DwY

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curtis September 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm

curious curtis
:D why dont you look up floyd mayweathers techiques verses southpaws on youtube.
why dont you write something about ring genneralship or bout progression too like how to get a opponent on the ropes or pin them in the corner or how to control the centre of the ring.

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Johnny N September 6, 2011 at 6:24 pm

@Radd – thanks for the video Radd. The outside foot is like one of the most basic tips for fighting southpaws, recommended by amateurs AND pros.

@curtis – I don’t like Floyd’s style against southpaws. His defense is not very good for southpaws and you can see proof of this when he fights them. He ends up putting both of his hands up for defense. I will write about ring generalship later as well as how to cut off the ring.

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Smiling Assasin November 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Johnny, I need help with a traditional slick southpaw. He has a wide stance and his front hand stays out and paws you to keep you away. Its rather hard to get onto the outside because he either pushes you away with the jab hand and makes you lose your balance. I am shorter and have smaller reach so feel like I have to lunge in, but he just steps into me and holds. Stuck!

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Johnny N November 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Sounds like a nightmare, Smiling Assasin. Try this….when he sticks his front hand out, touch it with your left glove as you walk straight into him.

- When you see his left cross, pull your head AND step out to the right side. Counter over it with a right cross.

- If you don’t see a left cross, lean your head in slightly (keeping your left hand on his right glove), and throw a right to the body or head. Even if these don’t land, they should bait his left cross. (Use the step above to counter it.)

- If he keeps getting too close or crowding you. Bend down and invade his hips with your hips as you spin around him. Use that “wide pivot” move I showed above. Instead of pivoting, you can also just bend down under him and then lift him or off-balance him with your back. Then stand back up and punch him.

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Smiling Assasin December 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hey Johnny,

I sparred my southpaw friend again and tried out some different tactics. The main thing was that I tried to be a lot more relaxed so that I wasnt wasting energy and I could let my reflexes kick in a bit better. I also kept on circling to the left to keep my foot outside. When he moved to his left, I would just cut the ring off. As he has a bigger reach than me, I used a long left hook which worked, and I used a straight right to get in close and work the right to the body. Still getting caught up with him leaning on me but I look for openings to dig at his ribs :)

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Johnny N December 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Sounds like you’re learning how to manage. Excellent stuff, Smiling Assasin. ;)

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Smiling Assasin December 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Thanks, I will try that out and let you know

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curtis c December 10, 2011 at 6:46 am

what do you think of controlled aggression fighters like Wilfradio Bentiez who maintain very defencive but always come back with a blistering head & body attack. what about a top 10 boxing tricks on them and if they have 10 tricks about controlled aggression what do you think they would be. also how do you hit as hard as George Foreman and take a punch like Roberto Derran?

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Johnny N December 10, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Different styles work for different people. Learn them all and enjoy it. Use what works for you. You learn how to hit as hard as George Foreman and Roberto Duran by learning the proper technique and applying it masterfully with every punch.

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curtis c January 12, 2012 at 11:52 am

would these anti southpaw tactics work against manny packman?

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Johnny N January 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Maybe, maybe not. Depends who does it and how he does it.

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PJ March 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Cool article, thank you! If you ever re-visit this subject I hope you go into more detail about the “pivot” counter to an orthodox boxer getting his foot outside. I fight southpaw and I’ve had great success with that technique. A lot of orthodox boxers expect the fight for foot position and if you refuse to play that game they quickly find themselves in unfamiliar territory.

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Johnny N March 16, 2012 at 4:10 am

That trick is beautiful isn’t it? So easy to use and so easy to off-balance your unsuspecting opponent. I might have to revisit that trick with a full in-depth guide. Thanks for the feedback. I was wondering when somebody might notice that gem.

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PJ March 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm

A very beautiful trick! I find many great angles for my straight left with that pivot. You have to be ready to deal with a big right hand counter, but you already know it’s coming. Thanks again for a great site!

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Topz April 5, 2012 at 10:19 am

Johnny, you should be a fight commentator. Audiences would appreciate your brilliant critique. One thing though… I think the last time Pacquiao lost was to Marquez in the trilogy fight last year hehe. And that fight was the most disadvantaged I’ve ever seen Pacquiao. Marquez totally predicted all his moves and outclassed him as a boxer. Thanks for all your thoughts. This site really inspires me as a boxer to do my best in everything I do.

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Tom June 22, 2012 at 1:56 am

i am southpaw and very tall, means it is good for me if they come close or from the outside since i can clinch them easy, and countering also wont happen against my 2m reach. Is there anything else to fear for a tall southpaw?

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Johnny N June 22, 2012 at 3:41 am

I would watch these 3 fights:

- Sergio Martinez vs Paul Williams 2
- Bernard Hopkins vs Antonio Tarver
- Jean Pascal vs Chad Dawson.

Tall southpaws aren’t invincible, I’m afraid…

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Ricky August 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm

What is your advice on sparring a southpaw that 1) is 20lbs heavier (110 lbs vs 130lbs), 2) has more experience 3) obviously has a longer reach (can be assumed with the heavier weight)

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Johnny N August 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Well fight him the same way you would with other southpaws. But you’ll have to be much better than him to make it an even fight and then even better than that in order to beat him.

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curtis carpenter October 28, 2012 at 2:03 am

what about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k31TQAJA4MY&feature=player_embedded#! and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pr5QMCCIqg&feature=endscreen&NR=1 as well. do body punches work this way and how many way can body punches be worked in. what i mean is training/ learning and adapting them into your style. how best do you train to use body punching to make it as effective as possible?

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Johnny N December 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I would have to write a guide to answer all these questions. I can definitely agree that Mayweather’s technique and BoxingFitFactory’s technique has sound reasoning behind them. If you want to start developing your body punches, start by trying them in sparring. These punches require much more strategic focus to land.

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rich December 9, 2012 at 8:31 am

i guess you can now add this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmW5EJDC05c for defeating southpaws with that knockout last night </3 poor pac man. I'm a beginner southpaw and in sparing i often get hit with the right hand which has lead to me relying on footwork to avoid them which I think is a bad habbit as I can't counter punch out of range. What parry's do you think work well in southpaw v orthodox matchups? and is shoulder rolling ineffective in this situation? I've been trying it but with minimal success. thanks in advance for any advice

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Johnny N December 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm

The techniques and methods I recommend are all explained in this guide and in my videos. Read up! Shoulder rolls are less effective in orthodox-southpaw match-ups but still possible if you know how. (I don’t recommend for beginners.)

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Reign December 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/imported_assets/1336807/699349861_medium_medium.gif

this is a simple gif of the knockout from Pacman vs Marquez. This knockout reminds of of that video on here about using head movement with the jab to close the distance without getting hit. I didn’t see pacman use it in that situation.

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Mike December 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm

hey johnny, great article. just wondering how you would fight a southpaw if you are also a southpaw and do you currently have an article on this. Much appreciated

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Johnny N December 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm

You can pretty much use all the material on this site. Since it’s written from the viewpoint of orthodox-vs-orthodox. All of it would apply to a southpaw-vs-southpaw match-up.

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Naruto December 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Hi Johnny,

First of all i want to thank you for the great and videos about boxing. i find it very usefull :-).

my preference is the southpaw stance. im wondering if i can use these orthodox tatics against an orthodox fighter?

Im looking forward to your next article / Video :-)

keep upmthe great work

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Johnny N January 5, 2013 at 11:44 am

Yes you can. They’re effective for either guy.

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John December 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Dear Johnny,
I would like to start out with saying very well-written. It was very informative and easy to understand.
I’m beginning boxing and I’m naturally a Southpaw… So I was wondering who are some boxers that I could study the technique of that are naturally Southpaw… Right now Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Tarver are my main sources of finding technique. I’ve heard that fighters like Marvin Hagler, Prince Naseem Hamed, etc… Are some pretty good fighters… But I don’t know.

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Johnny N January 5, 2013 at 11:46 am

Here are some more southpaws I like: Andre Dirrell, Chad Dawson, Winky Wright, Guillermo Rigoneaux.

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miguel May 21, 2013 at 7:20 am

Hey johnny , during the mayweathet vs guerrero fight mauweather was able to land his lead right hand when he was far away. He even managed to do it when his foot was not on the outside of guerreros foot. He landed it when there lead foot were facing each other. How the help did he manage to land that from such a great distance . Also how do u deal with an aggressive southpaw I find my self pulling n tryin to slip n dodge cuz he thrown so many punches n when I try to counter after
Rolling under a wide left he’s too far . Thanks

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Johnny N May 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Mayweather’s very good at setting up. He knows the position, and he’s fast, and most importantly…knows when and how to catch Guerrero. That’s something that comes with experience and knowing when is a good time to throw a surprise punch.

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WOP August 6, 2013 at 7:06 am

Yesterday I did spar against a Southpaw for the first time, and reading the first part of this article was like reading through any mistake I could´ve possibly make… I think this will help a lot for the next time and future. Great article, thank you very much!

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TheKingofIronfist April 14, 2014 at 10:11 am

sparred a southpaw for the first time today. I was so confused. Now it all makes sense haha. I need to study this article

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saber khan June 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm

hey johnny man, hows it going ? been a long time, hope things are good. the site has some real advanced stuff now, and the forums are so detailed its amazing. ive been switch hitting, working as a southpaw for some time now and really learnt how the minority of the boxing world thinks. southpaws naturally learn to use far better footwork than orthodoxers, and coaches keep blasting them abt getting lead foot out. the angle for landing the backhand for southpaws crosses the body at a wide angle, leaving the puncher more square. i love ur open triangle term, it is SPOT on. w/o the front shoulder to cover, that side is so much more inviting to the opponent. and having that habit of swinging across with the powerhand rather than straight is very unusual.

i think that’s the biggest advantages a right hander has against a southpaw are: turning southpaw, an effective body game, infighting and playing a good lead-foot-in game. southpaws are made one dimensional by coaches. a solid converted southpaw jab will cause them problems and the hook is so deadly because its more invisible than between same handed fighters . shots to the body from a front power hand bother southpaws who dont seem to value the body as much as the head. southpaws can parry with their lead hand but mixing it up will mess up their game. and if they always want their front foot out you can walk them into jabs and hooks that can stun them. southpaws arent used to playing inside; even tho the power hands are free and dangerous it prevents south paws from dancing, making them more uncomfy than it does the right hander. orthodox guys have more experience with infighting and backhand parrying; they adapt in time, southpaws stay confused. stepping on the feet is always a good game.

moving left against southpaws is conventional wisdom. suddenly switching to the inside and using the jab and hook have always worked for me and messed up southpaws. that hand is always closer than a backhand and it’s safe to throw a hook or jab and lean away, allowing their backhand to pass harmlessly across so you can throw your right counter as they fall square and defenseless. southpaws who have to have the outside of the lead foot will walk into jabs and hooks to the body.

the right hand will always be effective against southpaws but that’s playing their game. i know any conventional guy is trying to land his right when im standing southpaw. and he’s watching left and trying to play footsie. the most damaging punch is the one we dont see and the best tactic is the one we dont think of. best way to get southpaws is to play southpaw.. walk in the paws of the enemy :)

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Johnny N July 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Great insights, Saber. I agree with many of your theories. Inside fighting against southpaws can be a scary thing but it’s something I resort to when I have a hard time outboxing southpaws. It’s easier to just go in and trade shots and usually, I’ll win because I have two fully developed hands whereas they might have been relying only on their left cross.

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