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'Hard ta Hit, Hit Hard'
'Peek-A-Boo' Boxing': Variations on the Proximate Fistic Theme

This old school method of boxing as an older man, a shorter man or injured man, is in effect an asymmetrical measure intended to frustrate a superior stand-up boxer. The peek-a-boo boxer is the reactively armored fighting vehicle of the ring, a pressure fighter generally regarded as more of a puncher than a boxer, but crafty in the main.

There are three types of peek-a-boo fighters:

-Small, high energy pressure fighters such as Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson, with Patterson and Tyson both trained by Gus D'Amato.

-Shorter, older, crafty peek and sneak fighters like Archie Moore and Dwight Braxton [later Muhamad Qwawi]

-Big George Foreman, in his comeback, retrained by Archie Moore.

Below are some videos to study.

Note that this style is most prominent in the heavyweight and light heavyweight class where the greatest height differences are to be found among fighters.

This style is sometimes called the "Philly Shell" after Joe Frazier.

For online instruction look to Jason Van Veldhuysen's Precision Striking You Tube Channel.

The first video demonstrates what a standup puncher does to peek-a-boo man, who is in turn befuddled by the talented boxer, who is in his turn pressed by the peek-a-boo man, making the heavyweight boxing style dichotomy life cycle complete. The fact that Foreman was reinvented as a monster peek-a-boo fighter was a testament to his character.

Against Moorer, who, mind you, savaged Holyfield, George abandoned his peek-a-boo cross-arm guard for a more patient version of his old style, which exposes the peek-a-boo style as an outer range mobility-target access adaptation. In the Holyfield video bebow we see more of the monster cross-arm-guard that got Foreman the title shot. Keep in mind that Moorer was the most dominant Light Heavyweight of the late modern era. Peek-a-Boo fighting is good for thick-thighed and round shouldered men.

I initially learned to box from Floyd Patterson's boxing Manuel. The evolution of modern heavyweight peek-a-boo is presented chronologically below.

1. Moore: Cagey, counterpunching

Note the importance of the shoulder dip and the surrendering of the lead by the longer and taller Moore in order to dip inside of the Rock's crushing punches.

2. Patterson: Offensive, open

3. Frazier: Philly Shell

4. Norton: Full Cross-arm guard

5. Dwight Braxton Philly Shell Counter-Punching

Dwight, renamed Muhhamad Qwawi, was dethroned by Holyfield in the cruiser weight division and went on to work as a sparring partner for fighters preparing for Tyson. Notice how he does not let himself get caught over his rear hip when rolling his torso. Listen to Dwight at 5 minutes in.

6. Tyson, Evolved Open Peek-a-Boo

Tyson put it all together, utilizing a jab more than other heavyweight crouch fighters. One can see were the number combination system of D'Amato, focusing on two handed power-punching, had been improved with better defense, better jab and on a heavier frame over Patterson.

The Punishing Art

Add Comment
ShepSeptember 14, 2017 4:22 AM UTC

I had not realized how good Floyd Patterson was.
MannySeptember 12, 2017 12:36 AM UTC

Great post James.

I loved those Tyson fights from the 80s. Brutal knockouts and the man was so badass. I remember Spinks, his Olympic nemesis, shitting himself as the fight started. Spinks' facial expression said it was over before it started. Too bad about the pussy that cost the rest of Tysons career. What could have been?

Until watching this I never noticed how often Tyson runs over to help up his fallen opponents.

In honor of Bowie Knife Day, can you advise of the max blade length in Charm City? I was thinking of putting something in the mail to there.

Best regards, Manny.