Southpaw Stance - Strategy

Strategy

Left-handed boxers are usually taught to fight in a southpaw stance, but right-handed fighters also fight in the southpaw stance. This may give the southpaw fighter a strategic advantage because of the tactical and cognitive difficulties of coping with a fighter who moves in a mirror-reverse of the norm. One reason some left-handed fighters are brought up fighting in the orthodox stance is because of a perception that boxing from an atypical stance (or attempting to learn to do so) would be a disadvantage to the fighter. Another reason some left-handed fighters are brought up fighting in the orthodox stance is due to the (real or perceived) limited amount of trainers who specialize in training the southpaw stance.

A skilled right-hander, such as Roy Jones Jr. or Marvin Hagler may switch to the left-handed (southpaw) stance to take advantage of the fact that most fighters lack experience against lefties. In addition, a right-hander in southpaw with a powerful left cross obtains an explosive new combination. The converted southpaw may use a right jab followed by a left cross, with the intention of making the opponent slip to the outside of his left side. Then the converted right-hander can simply turn his body left and face his opponent, placing him in orthodox, and follow up with an unexpected right cross. If the southpaw fighter is right-hand dominant with a strong left cross, this puts the opponent in danger of knockout from each punch in the combination, as jabs with the power hand can stun or KO in heavier weight classes.

While rare, the reverse is also true for left-handers; left-hand dominant fighters like Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto who fight from an orthodox stance give up the so-called "southpaw advantage" strategically, but are gifted with heavier lead hands. In mixed martial arts left-hand dominant fighters fight from an orthodox stance because having the more coordinated hand forward provides more coordination for blocking and grappling. A weakness of this strategy is that when facing disciplines like Muay Thai, which focuses on attacking the lead side - a person with their dominant arm and leg forward risks having his best weapons neutralized. Consequently, in MMA if one stands in a southpaw stance (strongside forward), one must train one's cross and left low kick to make it fast, hard and dangerous.

Bruce Lee was a right hander, but also a southpaw. His belief was that the strong side should be in front as a streetfighter, as in a "real" (street) fight there is no jumping about, and the fight will be over in seconds. Thus, one must react at close and directly. In addition, because streetfighting has no rules, the strong hand is close to clawing the eyes, grabbing the hair, ears and cheek. The strong leg could hit the groin or the knee. Furthermore, having the strong side up front poses an advantage for taking down one's opponent. Bruce Lee did not believe in different fighting styles. He believed in: "Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own."

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