This manual focuses more on increasing awareness than it does on imparting knowledge. Although I’ll tell you what they do, I won’t teach you how to do it (at least not in this guide). At the very least, I want to introduce various methods of thinking.
It’s time for you to start paying attention to the small things and to things you previously missed so that you can eventually incorporate them into your game. You probably aren’t at the right level to try them yet if you’re not skilled enough to detect these details (even with my descriptions).
1. Staying Heavy
Anyone who has sparred with a professional boxer will understand what I’m talking about. When you’re dealing with a pro, he feels rock-solid, and you can tell right away. Even when you are merely hitting his guard, you can feel his “weight.” A 140-pound professional middleweight could easily push a 160-pound amateur around in a fight. Pros maintain a strong sense of equilibrium and grounding. When they punch, when they move you about on the inside, or even when you throw a blow into their guard, you can feel their weight.
How do professionals stay so bulky? I’ve seen them so comfortable that their weight sits on the ground securely, which is one thing I’ve seen. They don’t move or fidget as much as amateur performers do. They hardly ever lift their feet off the ground either. Being low to the ground is not the key; the key is to avoid excessive leg lifts, which can shift your center of gravity.
They also possess a core that is extraordinarily strong. You always feel like you’re pushing a guy who is made of brick on the inside, regardless of whether they’re in shape and shredded or out-of-shape and obese.
2. Endless Angles
As I said, professionals have countless angles. You feel like they can punch you at any time as they are punching you. A jab can cut around the side or up the middle (by passing through the inside of your forearm) or (by passing through the outside of your forearm). A right hand can be sent straight through, around, under, high, or low. It might appear twice. The left hook can strike you high, low, on your chin, forehead, side of your head, or anywhere else on your body. Even if you believe your elbow is blocking the left hook, it can nonetheless contact your body. The uppercuts appear to come from anywhere as well; they can hit your head, your body, or even pierce your gloves.
When you helplessly put up a peek-a-boo barrier to keep the pro out, you start to feel like a child hiding behind the door. Even when you think you are completely protected, he always finds a way to damage you. You have the impression that his punches may pass through the tiniest of openings and strike you in the chest, chin, solar plexus, kidney, or anywhere else.
3 Game-Stopping Jab
The professionals always have a jab that may stop the opponent in their tracks. It has the power to block both his right hand and his hook. It might deter him from speaking up. There is only one requirement, of course: it must land!
What is their method? It takes more than just possessing strong, precise power, though. Professionals have such precise timing when they punch. Sometimes they throw it quickly to catch you off guard. When you punch, they may add force to a counter-jab to pop you.
Other times, they use it as a quick way to divert you before you even consider punching someone. The professional’s jab always manages to disrupt your combinations and thoughts from any angle or position.
4. Make You Miss Wide
Professionals are so skilled at dodging punches. They are skilled at avoiding strikes. They have a subtle talent for getting you to aim in the wrong direction. Instead of intentionally making someone miss a punch, there are a few more strategies I can think of.
This calls for a variety of abilities, tactics, and A LOT of sparring experience. Professionals are excellent at identifying which poses draw certain punches. Additionally, they are aware of the organic flow and beat of specific combinations. And using statistics, they may infer that the opponent will most likely start with this posture, deliver this punch, and then deliver that punch.
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Next, they’ll lure you into missing the initial punch by positioning themselves in this position, and as you’re not hitting them, they’ll rapidly shift to that position to bait you into throwing an even stronger follow-up shot. Even if you don’t catch the first punch, you’ll lose the second one. Which gives him ample time to deliver any counterpunch or counter combo he chooses.
5. Killer Inside-Fighting Game
For various reasons, professionals are particularly skilled at fighting on the inside. Because professional boxers are stronger at defending themselves than amateur boxers, they are more at ease exchanging blows and fighting close to the ground. Even if they are very skilled, amateurs still rely more on footwork for defense. A point system that encourages taller, longer men to throw a lot of pitty-pat shots and run quickly is the foundation of Training for Boxing. To impress the judges, pros must make damaging strokes, which requires that they draw nearer and maintain close range.
While an amateur boxing contest only has three rounds, a professional boxing match can last up to twelve. A professional fighter must stay inside to conserve energy and/or clinch to gain time because they do not have the energy to move about as much.
Professional wrestlers can become comfortable close to an opponent thanks to years of experience in the ring. They are aware of punching rhythms and can roll off strikes even when they are directly in front of them. The referee could be biased and allow the other fighter to clinch or employ more sneaky techniques inside, thus professionals must know how to fight on the inside. They can’t escape since they lack the energy to do so, so they must settle in close.
Professional boxers have very smooth interiors. They are skilled at pushing, turning, spinning, holding, and clinching a man while they are wrestling. They are skilled at using their bodies to move, defend, and open up space for blows on the inside. Even without seeing, they can punch and protect themselves.
6. Painful Body Shots
Another skill that sets professionals apart from amateurs is body punching. Headshots are simpler to score in amateur fighting since they are more visible and clear. When the head snaps back, the effect is more visible. Body punches can sometimes appear to be blocked shots and are difficult to notice and score on. Since boxing matches only last three rounds, the fighter typically doesn’t have enough time to benefit long-term from body punching. Although body blows can make an opponent slower, they might take some time to have a significant impact.
Another issue for novices is missing out on the exchange when they reach for the body and get countered to the head. Some amateurs rely exclusively on body punches to position head blows. Many amateur fighters don’t use body hitting as their primary tactic.
On the other hand, professional boxers are extremely different! They are adept at landing body blows and LOVE throwing them. To slip inside unharmed, time the punch to land as the opponent’s elbows are raised, aim precisely into the body where it hurts the most, and then escape without being countered requires a huge level of skill. Imagine doing all of this with all of your strength and without having to worry about getting hit in the face while your arm is down.
7. Deceptive Distance Control
Professional boxers are SO very cunning and sneaky when it comes to adjusting the distance on you. I’m not referring to the capacity for rapid footwork or movement. I’m talking about your ability to move in such a way that your adversary cannot perceive your movements! Imagine a man who delivered punches that were flawlessly non-telegraphic and prevented you from feeling them coming. Similarly, picture a guy whose footwork was so flawlessly non-telegraphic that you weren’t able to sense him closing in on you.
You believe he is far away, but he still strikes you. Naturally, he moved in at some point before hitting you, but you were unaware of it. Or, on occasion, he approaches you and leaves just as you prepare to punch him. Once more, you missed him moving away. More unbelievable than that, in fact. I’ve had professionals hit me with powerful combos while they were within 3 to 4 feet of me!
To really comprehend this, you must witness it in person and from within the Ring. It’s easy to think, “Oh he should counter him when he comes in,” when watching this on television. But here’s the catch… He is Not Feeling Well When He Comes in! You can’t feel his body growing closer, his feet moving and sliding, or anything else he might be doing down there. This is ultra-slick footwork, not just stylish footwork!
8. Lead Right Hand
Professional hands are excellent. It’s not the world’s most potent knockout blow, but it’s a lovely, rapid blast with just enough pop to halt you in your tracks. They’ll hit you with it just as you’re getting ready to jab, or even just as you’re about to throw your right hand. Once, when I came in with my head and attempted to throw my right hand, a pro popped me hard with a lead. I learned to keep my distance and keep my head back. The lead left is difficult to notice and moves much faster than you anticipate.
This right hand’s success appears to be mostly the product of two factors: body positioning and punching technique. Professionals employ a wide range of loose body positions. They don’t always have to forcefully jump back into the “basic stance” because they can hit and defend from any posture. Because of their skill, they are better able to hold their shoulders straight or occasionally bend in, bringing their right hand closer.
The lead right-hand punching style is extremely similar to a jabbing style. There isn’t much hip twisting or foot pivoting, just a short small jolt in the shoulder (like with a normal right hand). They merely maintain their position, and then they appear in the lead. They can get that right hand off so much quicker and from any posture because of how little they punch and how they punch so minimally.
9. Walking Around
This is one of the things I like very much about professional boxers. They move about quite a bit. While they seem to deal with such ease, serenity, and nonchalance, they are always well-prepared. They’ll enter, strike you, and then leave. You don’t even notice how effortlessly they sneak up on you since they are so cunning. You become enraged as you observe how nonchalantly they stroll away. They don’t jump, panic, or do anything similar when they need to run. Basically, they take three steps: one to the left, one to the right, and possibly two more to the left before exiting.
Walking keeps their feet on the ground, their energies under control, and the conflict calm. To be able to stroll around the arena carefree, a fighter must be extremely skilled, but that is what professionals excel at.
10. Lots of TOUCHING
Pros frequently touch their adversaries. I really mean a lot. It stands in stark contrast to the way amateur boxers battle, who typically defend themselves by keeping their hands to themselves. When you watch professionals spar, you will constantly see that they are placing their hands on and occasionally touching their opponents. It’s such a powerful tactic, and when applied correctly, it may open up a world of offensive and defensive possibilities.
You could contact an opponent offensively just to confuse him. You could stroke his head instead of jabbing him in the head (which is slower), or if his glove is up, you could touch his glove and then swiftly deliver a hook to his torso. Punch with either the opposite hand or the one that touched first. Before attacking him, pinpoint a specific area to concentrate on his defense before attacking him.
An opponent’s punches could be stopped with a defensive touch. If you didn’t have time to counter-jab—perhaps your body wasn’t in the right position or your hand wasn’t far enough back—you might simply extend your palm and swiftly push his face away. It’s a really frustrating strategy that gives you just enough breathing room to move forward.