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The Low Lead Against a Pressure Fighter
Crackpot Mailbox: Paladin Punch

Lower jab hand and pressure fighter thoughts


In preparation for my upcoming fight I have been watching Thomas Hearns and practicing some of his moves along with practicing the rear hand jab like we discussed. However I noticed something in this video that has similarities with Hearns.

Amir Imam (like Hearns) likes to keep his lead hand lower and throw his jabs from a hip or shoulder height. This seems to generate more speed and power but obviously leaves you open to a potential counter. Since I know I will be fighting a 5ft10 fighter and will almost always be taller then my opponent should I train this or stick with a higher guard? Thanks

-Paladin Punch


Everything this commentator says is spot on, for boxing.

But I don't know if you are boxing kickboxing, or fighting MMA.

Using a low guard in kick boxing is asking for a head kick.

Using a low guard in MMA against converted wrestlers, who often have a big overhand right, is asking for it unless you have done a ton of sparring off the ropes.

If you have done a ton of sparring off the ropes, as this fighter obviously has, then you will develop his habit of rolling left behind the lead shoulder and going up your hip and thence being taken down against the cage.

That said, if it's boxing match, are you a lefty or a righty?

If you are a southpaw, accursed bane of all honest righthanded boxers, then a low lead is asking to get blinded by the jab or smacked with hook. If you are a southpaw your lead should be high, so you can:

-use the cutoff hook with effect against jabs

-jab his shoulder and bicep

-jab over his guard

-cuff his shoulder and turn him as you get off the ropes

The facility of the low lead has to do with your orientation, the fact that you are both either righty or lefty, which leaves your low hand between his two hands. Note, if he is a pressure fighter operating out of a cross-arm guard the low lead looses it's effectiveness, which is based on splitting his guard and sinking jabs to the body and lifting jabs into the chin.

If you are a lefty, keep your rear hand up as your rear hand jab will hurt even more when you sink it down into his chest. As a lefty, the rear hand serves the purpose against a pressure fighter that the low lead serves.

If you are a righty or if you are both southpaws, than you must be faster of hand and have better timing than your opponent to pull this off. This stuff only works when you have the acute edge. If you don't you'll end up stumbling against high work rate or fast-handed pressure fighters like Tyson. See his fight with Carl Williams for an example. For a fighter of Williams' stature the low lead is not a bad idea. The problem is, in boxing as with stick fighting, that fighters tend to unconsciously equalize their hands at the same level. It takes a lot or training to get a fighter to the point where his rear hand will not unconsciously drop level with his lead hand. Beware of this natural tendency.

If you are in a conventional boxing situation and are the tall man, and the stronger man, consider Donovan Razor Ruddick as an example—if you are the more athletic man and the taller man, he serves up a good example of rising power punching. Ruddick was kind of wide but threw wicked up-jabs, shovel hooks and pass hooks. This could work for a lefty as well by ripping rising jabs and then when he lowers guard to protect the chin winging the classic Hearns hook or cutoff hook to the temple. Ruddick's arsenal mimics much of stick-fighting power mechanics in the footwork. Ruddick versus Tyson bouts can be mined for lessons on rising punches against the pressure fighter.

The Punishing Art

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