Being a lefty can sometimes feel like a curse since the entire world is designed for right-handed people. That’s because about 90 percent of people are righties, which means only one in every ten people is left-handed.
Consider yourself lucky if you’re one of the 10 percent since it gives you many advantages in sports like baseball and combat sports like boxing, and many more. Lefties being rare means most boxers don’t have much experience going up against them in sparring or competition.
Left-handed boxers typically use the southpaw stance, meaning their right leg is the lead leg, while their left hand is their rear hand. This is the opposite of the orthodox stance most boxers use which involves using your left leg as your lead leg.
Everything left-handed athletes do comes from the opposite side. It can be quite challenging for athletes who are used to reacting to movements made with the right hand to deal with movements made with the left hand. For example, left-handed baseball pitchers, tennis players, and fencers are generally more feared than their right-handed counterparts.
The same applies to boxing. Left-handed boxers have been so feared historically that they were often forced to use the orthodox stance just to get other boxers to accept matches against them. That’s how complicated dealing with southpaws can be for orthodox boxers.
Just imagine you’ve spent your entire life living in a country that drives on the right-hand side of the road like Singapore, then visiting a country like the U.S. where people drive on the left-hand side. Sure, you can try your best to remind yourself to keep to the left side, but any minor distraction might get you to revert to your ingrained habits. That’s how fighting a southpaw is for an orthodox fighter. They have to constantly remind themselves to do things in an opposite way to how they normally do them. They lose their focus for a second, and they “zig” when they should have “zagged” and find themselves on the canvas.
Southpaws can often win fights even when they are less skilled, slower, or weaker than their opponents thanks to the southpaw advantage. If you take a close look at boxing history, you’ll notice many of the greatest orthodox boxers ever had their toughest fights against southpaws. For example, Floyd Mayweather struggled early on during his fight against the left-handed Zab Judah before taking over in the later rounds. Southpaw Antonio Tarver handed Roy Jones Jr. his first knockout loss.
Understanding What Makes Southpaws So Dangerous
The southpaw advantage comes down to experience. Many orthodox boxers don’t have much experience engaging with southpaws and defending against their punches. On the other hand, southpaw boxers have lots of experience going against orthodox boxers since 90 percent of people are right-handed. That means most people in any boxing gym will be orthodox.
Let us take a closer look at some of the advantages southpaws have against orthodox boxers:
1) Hand And Foot Placement
Southpaws tend to always feel comfortable with their foot and hand placement since they have lots of experience against orthodox boxers. The southpaw always seems to be in the right place inside the ring, while the orthodox boxer feels vulnerable regardless of where they put their hands. They might even trip over the southpaw boxer’s foot at times since they aren’t used to the lead leg battles that ensue when fighters with opposite stances square off.
2) Open Angles
When both boxers inside the ring use the same stance, the angles of attack are narrow. This makes it easier for orthodox fighters to defend themselves against other orthodox boxers. Things change drastically when fighters use opposite stances as is the case when a southpaw goes against orthodox boxers. The angles become more open, allowing for wider angles of attack.
This opens up more offensive opportunities for both fighters. However, the southpaw is experienced at taking advantage of these angles, while an orthodox boxer isn’t.
An orthodox boxer can try to use a southpaw’s tactics against them, but that rarely works out in their favour. A southpaw is more skilled at taking advantage of the openings created by open stances since that is normal for them. Most of their sparring matches are typically with orthodox boxers, so they’ve had time to perfect their strategies.
All things like skill, speed, and size being equal, the southpaw will out-box the orthodox fighter since the southpaw’s training revolves around fighting against orthodox boxers, while the orthodox boxer also builds their game around fighting orthodox fighters.
Tips And Tricks For Southpaws Fighting Orthodox Boxers
Some of the simple things southpaws can do to maximize their effectiveness against orthodox boxers include:
1) Keep Your Lead Foot Outside
Winning the foot battle is one of the first things you should establish as a southpaw. The boxer who keeps their front foot on the outside has a positional advantage. It allows you to move in all directions defensively, while your opponent can only move to a side. Winning the foot battle also forces your opponent to evade toward your power hand, increasing the odds you land a big shot.
2) Watch Out For The Orthodox Boxers Right Hand
The straight right hand is the biggest threat a southpaw has to worry about when facing an orthodox fighter. The more frustrated the orthodox fighter gets, the more they’ll try to land a big right hand on you. Anticipate the punch and counter whenever opportunities present themselves.
3) Mix Up Your Straights And Hooks
The open angles created by a southpaw vs. orthodox matchup create lots of opportunities to attack so take advantage of that.
Mix up your hooks and straights to force the orthodox boxer to constantly have to adjust their guard. Target their head and body with straights and hooks to overwhelm their defense.
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