Alternative Boxing Stances 1. Mayweather's Defence
As previously mentioned "you need to learn the rules before you can break them". However if all boxers employed nothing but the basic stance there would be alot of technically sound albeit boring fights. Part of the appeal of Boxing is the widely different characters involved, the different styles involved (to be examined in later posts), and the different stances involved. Each has its own positives and negatives that we will examine in detail, and it is important for all boxers to have at least some experience in each of the styles. 1. Mayweathers Defence The first stance that we will examine is that demonstrated by Floyd Mayweather Jr. This defence does have a name and strictly speaking it is not the Philly Shell but rather the Crab. However we will examine the semantics of the style in another post, I will call it the Mayweather defence for now as he is the face of the style and many people attempt to immitate what they see rather than understanding what he does.
Mayweather's rear hand alternates between being held near jaw as per the basic stance, and in front of the jaw when pulling back from attack or catching punches. The front shoulder is rolled further forward than in the basic stance and the front hand is held across your body rather than in front of your face The protection of Mayweathers defence is provided by the hand on the rear side and shoulder at the front. This allows for very rapid defense with minimal body motion. For example a jab cross left hook attack is defended with a small parry of the jab, a roll of the left shoulder to deflect the cross and a cover with the right glove against the hook. As the lead hand in the basic boxing stance provides a first line of defensive barrier, by reducing this to only a shoulder instead, the guard of Mayweather is an advanced guard. Boxers utilizing this defence need to be very comfortable with being under pressure and seeing punches come at them and responding with minimal motion otherwise they risk over reacting to shots and opening themselves up to attack. A great advantage of this defence is that it usually results in the jab coming out at weird and unexpected angles. Imagine two boxers who are identical in every way aside from a 2 inch reach differential. All things being equal if both boxers throw traditional straight jabs, the boxer with the longer reach will generally land while the shorter reach will fall just short. Ways around this will be covered in later posts but for now let us consider this the case. However by altering the angle of ones jab, as occurs with this stance that comes out in a straight line from down to up can quite easily change this. This in addition to the defensive hand placement of the rear hand means that jabs can be defended from a closer range thus allowing the boxer with the shorter reach to land their jabs and is great for counter punching. The alternate angle of the jab especially one that moves in an upward position serves another purpose, namely that it often either comes underneath your opponents guard or forces them to lift their head which in turn exposes their chin. If you throw a traditional straight jab at an experienced boxer they will likely simply parry it away. However if you throw an upward flicking jab as occurs with the hand positioning in Mayweathers defence, by the time the jab enters the field of vision leaning back is often the most natural defense. If one can anticipate this happening this jab becomes a great asset in setting up the right hand. Whilst arguably one of the more difficult guards to master the guard used by Floyd Mayweather Jr or slight variations of it such as the Philly Shell are important to have at least a basic knowledge of. The reason for this is that it serves as a good mid point in such occasions as over committing on a hook, if caught with your lead hand down or when attempting to transition to In boxing. We will explore all of this as well as the confusion involved in the naming of this defence in future posts. Stay tuned.