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Old 01-20-2011, 04:50 PM   #1
the brown bomber
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Default All Time Great Fighters and Carrying the left hand

If you take fighters widely considered ATG's and look at their basic stance you just won't see what is taught in boxing gyms today. SRR, Willie Pep, Armstrong, Joe Louis, Ali etc all carried the left hand low.

Then if you look at the top defensive fighters today they tend to carry the left hand low. Floyd carries that left hand low often and Hopkins does some of the time. Whitaker who is fairly recent often carried his hands low. James Toney always carried that left hand low.

My theory is that the high guard technique (example Winky Wright guard) is now considered the fundamental defense but is actually an inferior defense. High guard is a defense that is simple to teach and somewhat effective. The problem with high guard defense is that blocking punches as a primary defense has a few weaknesses 1) can cause a fighter to be slightly off balance 2) not the best to counter punch and 3) is difficult against combination punching. The actual higher level defensive skills include slipping, rolling, ducking, parrying, shoulder blocking and side stepping. The ATGs reached that level because they master the higher level defensive skills.

Yet there is a bias in the boxing world today that high guard is the only acceptable defense. I have heard professional boxers comment that a fighter is making a mistake because he is keeping his hand low. Which I would agree is a mistake if the fighter never developed the higher level skills. Amatuer trainers preach high guard continuously. Which makes sense because they are still developing the skills and can not rely on higher level skills.

I was thinking about posting this in the training section but also wanted the take of classic boxing fans. Do you agree with what I am saying that high level defensive skills are misunderstood today? That in a sense today even at the pro ranks the more basic skills are the norm and the higher level skills are simply not developed as they should be in 95% of the fighters? I know I boxed for years at an amateur level and was never shown how to properly slip punches, roll, parry. I was only taught to keep my guard high that was defense.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:55 PM   #2
IntentionalButt
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Default Re: All Time Great Fighters and Carrying the left hand

You make some good points, except you have to realize the limitations of most people who set foot in a boxing gym.

Slipping and rolling can probably be mastered by some people who aren't immediate naturals with a lot of hard work and invested time...but many simply won't ever be able to do it effectively no matter their vain efforts.

Blocking out of a high guard is the best way to minimize punishment absorbed for the common person.

Yes, low-lead defense is a higher art form...but it correspondingly takes a higher level of artist to use it. Only so much of that artistry can be taught and learned. Regular people have limitations.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: All Time Great Fighters and Carrying the left hand

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Originally Posted by IntentionalButt View Post
You make some good points, except you have to realize the limitations of most people who set foot in a boxing gym.

Slipping and rolling can probably be mastered by some people who aren't immediate naturals with a lot of hard work and invested time...but many simply won't ever be able to do it effectively no matter their vain efforts.

Blocking out of a high guard is the best way to minimize punishment absorbed for the common person.

Yes, low-lead defense is a higher art form...but it correspondingly takes a higher level of artist to use it.
This is true, could be that higher level defense only works for people who have higher level reflexes. Certainly Whitaker and Floyd have the highest level of reflexes and athleticism
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: All Time Great Fighters and Carrying the left hand

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This is true, could be that higher level defense only works for people who have higher level reflexes. Certainly Whitaker and Floyd have the highest level of reflexes and athleticism
This is my general feeling.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: All Time Great Fighters and Carrying the left hand

I've brought this up many times, although I agree with the gist of what you guys are saying. Usually only the greats/near greats are accomplished with this style because they've mastered the fundamentals well enough to start improvising and experimenting with what works beyond those confines. I compare great boxers to great painters for this reason.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: All Time Great Fighters and Carrying the left hand

Well, professionals need to learn more than just a high guard and peek-a-boo if they want to survive. I consider any particular "guard" position to be part of a fighter's stance, rather than his actual defense.
Against a good puncher, there's only so much blocking with the gloves they can get away with.
They could end up getting KO'd with their own gloves.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: All Time Great Fighters and Carrying the left hand

You've probably all seen this before but thought you guys would never tire of appreciating seeing it

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81non05aKX4[/ame]
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:57 PM   #8
gentleman jim
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Default Re: All Time Great Fighters and Carrying the left hand

I love that video and Bomber brings up some good points. Back when fighters fought all the time and would have hundreds of fights in thier careers, slipping, rolling, feinting and pivoting were required fundementals that were honed over time. Fighters today are ranked #1 and are fighting for titles in thier 20th pro fight. These subtleties can't fully be taught in such a small time frame so "keep your hands up" seems to be the quickest and easiest way to teach a fighter today. Not that it's a bad strategy to teach of course but it would probably be different if fighters fought like the fighters of yesteryear and were in the game for longer periods of time.
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:19 AM   #9
burt bienstock
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Default Re: All Time Great Fighters and Carrying the left hand

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Originally Posted by gentleman jim View Post
I love that video and Bomber brings up some good points. Back when fighters fought all the time and would have hundreds of fights in thier careers, slipping, rolling, feinting and pivoting were required fundementals that were honed over time. Fighters today are ranked #1 and are fighting for titles in thier 20th pro fight. These subtleties can't fully be taught in such a small time frame so "keep your hands up" seems to be the quickest and easiest way to teach a fighter today. Not that it's a bad strategy to teach of course but it would probably be different if fighters fought like the fighters of yesteryear and were in the game for longer periods of time.
GJ, great insight.The ability to master all the above you listed must come
by trial and error,and by experience.Fighting like the "oldtimers",100-200
bouts against opponents with the same experience,allows a fighter to find his own style successfully,albeit a high guard or the less tiring more comfortable
left hand by the waist style,fighters of the golden age practiced...By using this style fighting ,by necessity,you are "forced to roll, slip, duck,roll with the punches,etc,that makes a boxer well rounded...That is why these oldtimers were able to fight hundreds of bouts, and survive . I for example recall most
main event fighters in MSG, had at least 60 or more fights during the 1940s.
Today you fight for a "title' with 20 or so bouts. Todays top fighters for the most part, would be in over their heads, fighting almost twice a month against the top boxers of the thirties, forties, and fifties.
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