Southpaws – Keep coming!


Southpaw Antonio Tarver knocked Roy Jones Junior out for the first time in his career. Floyd Mayweather’s first class defence was broken over and over again by Demarcus Corley and Zab Judah, both southpaws. Manny Pacquiao and Paul Williams have dominated entire weight divisions with their southpaw styles.

At Train2Fight we seem to keep on recruiting those awkward southpaws. They make pad holding complex, defence drills quite confusing and sparring really testing! We love having them, with one of the head honchos being a south paw at the gym, we’ll always adjust pad work and defence drills for the southpaws, so they can utilise their strength – which is, being left handed.

Being a southpaw can be seen as an advantage, and the majority of our guys are quick to roll their eyes (even the southpaws when they’re thrown in with another southpaw). Sparring becomes a battle for the lead leg, and misjudging the angle puts you slap-bang in the line of fire. 

The majority of a southpaw’s practice is against orthodox people (during pads and sparring) which is the fundamental reason that when an orthodox fighter faces a southpaw they will throw punches with less accuracy and less power because adjusting to new, wider angles is a tough task. The hand and foot placement needs to alter and as a result the footwork & movement weakens. The static guard will not be a reliable block anymore unless it is consistently revised now that the head is exposed to more directions.

If a fighter tries to use the southpaw’s tactics against them, the chances are that they will not come off well, because the southpaw is a lot more practiced and as a result more natural when throwing and defending from those angles.

Aside from the angles and movement, orthodox fighters have to respect the shift in power; they’ve now got a big left cross coming from where they’re trained to respond to a weaker left jabs, and where they use to expect the straight right hand they’re now responding to a quick right jab or right hook.

Then there is the pace, which is often set by the southpaw boxer who exploits their opponents unfamiliarity with the different angles, and as a result has the experience and knowledge to take control.

We love having Southpaws because they push the boxers and the fighters (even each other when there is a southpaw vs southpaw). All our fighters who have regular sparring against southpaws come away with better feet & movement, better guards that they can now adjust to different situations. They learn to relax and read their opponent, rather than rush in, in a panic. They practice and improve ways on getting inside and putting the southpaws out of their comfort zone. 

Then things start to become even again, and the Southpaw needs to adjust to the adjustment: develop their game on the inside; respond when their right jab or right hook is taken away and manage the change in pace.

In summary, keep coming those southpaws coming.