There are many bits of advice that are too long to be considered tips and too short to write an entire feature about. In spite of that, they are still important information to remember. In no particular order and somewhat random, here they are…
Keep your hands up at all times. Yeah, it sounds basic, but that means in training too. Even after the bell rings to end the round, don’t get in the habit of immediately dropping your hands. You never know that, once you get in a real fight, your opponent won’t try to cheap shot you after the bell or that he won’t accidentally let an extra one fly. So keep your hands up until the bell has sounded, the round has ended and the exchange is clearly over. Practice it in the gym and in sparring so you will do it in the actual fight.
Don’t do the boxing hop. Have you ever watched a fighter in an exchange, step back to catch his rhythm and reposition himself to throw the next combination and, in doing this, brings his feet together? He jumps back and brings his front foot together with his back foot in a sort of skipping motion. As a result the boxer leaves himself vulnerable and without a solid foundation. Even if it’s only for a split second, from this position, he cannot throw a punch properly or defend against one either. You should always have your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Save the dancing for the night club. If you need to step back and reset or find your rhythm, do it from a safe distance away from your opponent, but always keep your feet the proper distance apart.
Moving your head doesn’t just mean side to side. Giving your opponent angles, which is key to good defense, also involves moving your head up and down. This isn’t done by raising your chin up and down…that’s just dangerous. In order to give your opponent a variety of looks and keep him guessing where your head will be, use your hips and legs to create different heights. Too many fighters only use the tick-tock motion, shifting their weight side to side, rocking their upper torso and head back and forth. Changing the height your head is at is as equally as important. This not only makes you harder to hit and more challenging for your opponent to predict where your head will be, but it also puts you in position to punch from different levels and angles. It serves to make your offense and defense equally unpredictable and tough to anticipate. Unpredictability is an exceptional trait for a fighter to possess.
Pay constant attention to where your weight is. Is it all on your front foot? If it is, you’re going to have a hard time generating much power in your back hand. A large part of power punching comes from shifting your weight. If all your weight is already forward, you don’t have much to shift. Is all of your weight on your back foot? If it is, then your jab is probably ineffective, not reaching its mark often enough and is not long or strong enough to dictate the distance of the fight. Is most of your weight on the heels of your feet? If it is, then quick movements are likely difficult for you to make. You have a hard time adjusting to opponents who move a lot and when you’re hit, you have a hard time maintaining your balance. Boxing isn’t a waiting game, but it is a weighting game. Where you place your body weight can tell you a great deal about potential weaknesses you have and where you are most vulnerable.
Throw punches for crying out loud! Hockey legend, Wayne Gretsky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” This applies to boxing just as easily as it does hockey. That doesn’t mean to throw meaningless, non-stop punches, but it does mean that, in order to create openings, you have to do something. If you are waiting for that perfect punch or clear chance to land a haymaker, you may find yourself standing at a deficit at the end of each round, every round until the fight is over. Keep touching your opponent, test his reactions, give him angles and keep your jab in his face always. Not just when you have a clean shot. ALWAYS. That constant pressure will wear on him and is more likely to force him make a bad move or desperate attempt to counter. That’s when your opening will happen. It comes from activity…being busy…letting your hands go. Opportunities don’t just happen. They are created.
This is another opportunity for you to go out and put these things into practice in the gym. The time you spend there, molds and shapes the fighter you will become in the ring. Don’t squander your training
time. Make every round count for something. Don’t think you’re going to save the magic for fight night. Magic in boxing comes from hard work and dedication. Hard Work and Dedication. Have you heard that before?