Benny Leonard and Modern Technique

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by roughdiamond, Feb 16, 2019.



  1. KasimirKid

    KasimirKid Member Full Member

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    I am in possession of a letter written by Arcel to Jack Fiske on March 18,1980, which reads in relevant part:

    "Dear Jack: -

    "Good hearing from you----------
    Your request to compare Roberto Duran and your list of many of the GREATEST lightweights of all time is a 'ticklish' one as it is so very difficult to make comparisons.

    "I have been associated with Duran for eight years and in that period of time I have been able to understand this young man and have watched him improve from time to time. He has always been able to adjust to different styles and been able to cope with the situations that arose in the ring. That is the mark of a top-notch campaigner. I always felt that Roberto Duran could have been right on top of any lightweight division. If he were not the champion-----he would have been a leading contender.

    "Benny Leonard, in my opinion, was the greatest boxer, pound for pound, that I ever saw. He was THE champion of the best lightweight division anyone has ever seen since 1917. Anyone of the leading contenders of that period could have been champion if Leonard was not there. I honestly feel that Duran could have fit into that group and prove his ability with the outstanding stars of that period. Duran's strength and punching powers could have made it possible for him to more than hold his own with all the champions who followed Leonard. What a thriller a Duran-Henry Armstrong fight would have been. Tendler might have proven a problem because of his excellent southpaw style---but Duran would have been dangerous all the way. Ross, Canzoneri, Ike Williams, Lew Ambers, Jimmy Carter, Charlie White, Billy Petrolle, Beau Jack ARE DREAM MATCHES-----but Duran would have proven his ability with everyone of these fine champions.

    "This is my opinion, JACK, and I know there may be many who will disagree...... But I am writing to you about a young man I know so well---and trying to compare styles and abilities with others whom I also knew so very well.

    "I have been active in boxing since 1916----have trained and handled eighteen world champions. I studied and understood styles and abilities of most boxers. The element of surprise was taught to confuse an opponent.....and Duran has learned that lesson very well. He can box as well as fight."


     
  2. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond Blue Valentine Full Member

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    Wow! That's an amazing piece of insight there, proving the greatness of Duran and Leonard.
     
  3. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Not here for the fairy tales Full Member

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    Have you trained many of your fighters to use very low guards?
     
  4. greynotsoold

    greynotsoold Boxing Addict Full Member

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    We discourage earmuffs. I teach a lot of rolling with punches, when blocking, so you don't take the full impact and to set up counters. The goal is to use the shoulders as much as possible, keep the right hand at home. You can always pick the left hand up when you move to your left, move in, etc...

    But here's the thing. If you are thoughtful and intentional about how you get inside, the risk factor goes way down. I teach drawing leads and exploiting the openings created. In my mind, walking forward with your gloves and arms in front of your face and just absorbing punches on the gloves borders on barbarism.

    The low left hand gives you so many options, different angles on the jab, getting the hook out where he can't see it coming. It is probably the best way to make an opponent throw a right hand at you that you can counter.
     
  5. ChrisJS

    ChrisJS Active Member Full Member

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    I remember reading him say Leonard’s era was so difficult with tons of greats and that Duran’s era was poor for lightweights.
     
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  6. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Not here for the fairy tales Full Member

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    Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. But isn't that how most high-level boxers fight today? A variation of the high right/low left stance you favor seems to be pretty popular today, and I see way more pros who try to bait and counter or roll with punches than who just try to walk through them with their earmuffs on. Seems much safer than keeping the left AND right low though.
     
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  7. louis54

    louis54 Active Member Full Member

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    Thank you great stuff
     
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  8. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond Blue Valentine Full Member

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    Wow, amazing response! Thanks for sharing with me.
     
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  9. Seamus

    Seamus Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    That's dope AF. Thanks for sharing.

    Leonard looks immaculate on film.
     
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  10. KasimirKid

    KasimirKid Member Full Member

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    Greynotsoold, your two posts on this thread are just about the best things I have read since I have been following this forum. Sounds exactly like what Jack Hurley tried to teach his fighters. I think his problem was that he was not flexible enough in his approach. This style of teaching doesn't work with everyone. Although, if a fighter can't at least absorb some of those principles (preferably along with some other techniques as well), maybe he or she should try another profession.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  11. reznick

    reznick Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    It all depends on that specific fighter. It’s an individualistic sport and some fighters have different guards.
     
  12. reznick

    reznick Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    His counters and pocket craftiness were just excellent.

    On a side note; at 6:54 of the Tendler fight you can see Leonard throwing the same uppercut people here mocked Corbett for in the Tunney training footage.
     
  13. greynotsoold

    greynotsoold Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Thank you.
     
  14. Pat M

    Pat M Active Member Full Member

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    I never liked the ear muffs defense either. We teach looking over the left and keeping the right under/beside the jaw, elbows resting against the body, left shoulder toward the opponent. That is basic, they can do what they want after they start sparring and fighting. A lot of them eventually drop their left hand lower which is okay as long as they are aware of what they're doing. If they're trying to draw a right hand and counter or if they are too far away to hit, no problem. The problem is when a fighter forgets he has his left low and moves in - his momentum plus the right hand from the opponent makes the punch more powerful.

    As for fighting the southpaw, some can and some can't. Some people just can't pick up the left hand. One trainer I had had a lot of experience in the 50s-60s, but he was a heavyweight and there weren't many southpaw heavyweights then. He told us to move to our right when fighting a southpaw and use the right hand. He said that southpaws spar everyday with right handed fighters and are used to their opponent moving to his left (southpaw's right). He believed that moving to the right or the southpaw's left would confuse the southpaw. I like the idea of using the left hook and I've seen that taught before. I think the idea of keeping the left foot outside the southpaw's right started with commentators on TV. Now a lot of people only teach that. There are about as many theories on fighting southpaws as there are trainers. They all work if the fighter is good enough!
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  15. robert ungurean

    robert ungurean Богдан Full Member

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    He handles today's fighters. He makes a few adjustments and that's all he needs. He takes unproven guys like Crawford who look excellent but still haven't fought anybody to school. Hes a proven ATG. He fits into any era.