A southpaw stance in boxing is when the boxer leads with their right hand and moves forward with their right foot, throwing right-handed jabs and powerful crosses and hooks with the left. For a left-handed boxer, this is the standard or normal stance The orthodox boxing designation for a right-handed boxer is often a mirror counterpart of the southpaw stance. In American English, the word "southpaw" is used to describe someone who is left-handed.
William 'Bendigo' Thompson, a 19th-century prizefighter, is largely credited with creating the southpaw stance in boxing.
Check out our previous article for more on southpaw vs orthodox.
Left-handed boxers are typically trained to fight in the southpaw stance, but right-handed fighters do as well. Because dealing with a fighter who moves in the opposite direction of the usual presents tactical and cognitive challenges, the southpaw boxer may have a strategic advantage. The assumption that boxing from an unorthodox stance (or attempting to learn to do so) would be a disadvantage to the boxer is one reason why some left-handed fighters are brought up fighting in the orthodox stance The (actual or perceived) scarcity of coaches who specialize in southpaw stance training is another reason why some left-handed fighters are trained to fight in the orthodox stance.
A talented right-handed fighter, such as Roy Jones Jr. may convert to the southpaw stance to take advantage of most opponents' lack of expertise with left-handers. Furthermore, a right-handed boxer in southpaw with a strong left cross creates an explosive new combination. To compel his opponent to go to the outside of his left side, the converted southpaw can use a right jab followed by a left cross. The converted right-hander may then easily rotate his body left and face his opponent, putting him in orthodox, before unleashing a devastating right cross. If the southpaw boxer has a strong left cross and a dominant right hand, the opponent is at risk of being knocked out by each strike in the combo, since jabs with the power hand may shock or KO in heavier weight classes.
Here’s our list of the top 3 southpaw boxers to have ever graced the sport.
On HBO, Lehlo Ledwaba was set to have a coming-out party on June 23, 2001 in Las Vegas. Instead, he was thrashed by Manny Pacquiao, a teenage Filipino boxer who stepped into the ring on short notice.
Pacquiao is a global star, with a career spanning 26 years and a record eight world titles. He has easily ascended weight classes, bringing his blinding hand speed and explosive power with him.
Freddie Roach the famed coach, transformed him from a knockout artist with one major weapon into a devastating wrecking ball. Barrera, Cotto, De La Hoya, Hatton, Margarito and Morales are all esteemed boxers, were all defeated by him. His four fights with the legendary Juan Manuel Marquez will be remembered for a lifetime, each one a masterpiece in its own right.
Pacquiao has a 54-5-2 record and is a sure lock for the Hall of Fame.
Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist, is considered the greatest defensive fighter of all time. With swift counter punches and a rapid-fire jab, he dazzled opponents. He was an expert at striking his opponent with a quick combo and then slipping away before he could be struck.
Beginning with his first pro loss against Jose Ramirez, he was subjected to some harsh judging, as is typically the case with defensive-minded fighters. He was awarded a draw in his match against Julio Cesar Chavez. The score was highly criticized, with many believing Whitaker should have won easily.
Whitaker, regarded as one of the finest lightweights of all time, retired in 2001 with a 40-4-1 record.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler is not just the best southpaw boxer of all time, but also one of the best boxers of all time, regardless of stance. During one of the most competitive periods in boxing history, the New Jersey native blasted his way to a 62-3-2 record, defending the middleweight title 12 times.
He has victories against Roberto Duran and John Mugabi, a monster puncher. He could box well, but he preferred brawling and was able to "switch hit." During a bout, he would frequently move from a southpaw to an orthodox stance. He could pack a punch and could take one just as well as anyone else.
After a controversial loss against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987, Hagler retired and in 1993 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Did you know Rocky Balboa was a southpaw boxer?
In the second film, Rocky the Italian stallion Balboa fights Apollo Creed and comes out orthodox. Mickey intended for him to go back to southpaw late in the last round, but Balboa refuses, claiming "no tricks, I ain't switching." Mickey advises him that Apollo is ready for him (if he continues to use his right), so he does indeed lead with his left towards the end of the round. The reality is that, Sylvester Stallone tore his pectoral muscles while training, although the idea was inspired by legendary left-handed fighter "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler., who would come out orthodox on occasion to confuse his opponents.
Southpaw or orthodox, makes no matter. All of the greatest boxers spent hours upon hours training in the gym. If you aspire to be the next Hagler or Ali you need to train and train hard! Get all your boxing gear to get you in fighting shape, here.