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The Wylie Dissection: Cotto Was Master of Ring Domain

BY Lee Wylie ON June 12, 2014
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Miguel-CottoSo, was it the majesty of Miguel Cotto, his superior command of the squared circle, which spelled doom for Sergio Martinez on June 7 at Madison square Garden in New York City, or was it Martinez' physical decline which had more to do with Cotto wresting the WBC middleweight crown from the Argentine?

Impossible to know for sure. Certainly, that debate will be in play for a dog's age. But this we know for sure. The Puerto Rican got the angles he wanted, dropped the hamers when he wanted to, and fought his way to the signature win of his career. Check out this video to better appreciate some of the intricacies of the Cotto triumph.

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Comment on this article

BFF says:

One word for this video..... Awesome!!!

Radam G says:

I'm not able to log in from the P-Islands to post mid-to-long responses. Holla!

teaser says:

The Wylie dissection …always a must read for me ….great analysis and insight as usual !!

Radam G says:

Nice work, TSS Pugilistic Forensic Scribe W-Ly. You nailed it by clearly showing that M-Co's temple shots decked Ser-Mart, and they had nothing to with his knee($). Equilibrium did! Holla!

stormcentre says:

Sorry to be a part pooper guys but . . . . . . . .

I think Wylie has misunderstood a little about why Cotto and other fighter’s step close to southpaw opponents and sometimes place their lead foot inside of their southpaw opponents; as they throw a left hook.

Also I think he attributes doing this to an anti-convention associated with footwork and fighting southpaws in a misunderstood and not entirely correct manner.

His intentions are good and I am not ridiculing him.

But in my view orthodox fighters don’t generally throw their left hooks with their lead feet inside of their southpaw opponents lead foot because of any reasoning associated with how the traditional convention associated with footwork and fighting southpaws overlooks the value of placing your lead foot precisely where tradition states it should not be if you're fighting southpaws - which is what Wylie states.

Orthodox fighters don’t generally throw their left hooks with their lead feet inside of their southpaw opponents lead foot because it obscures vision or the trajectory of the left hook; although that can be a byproduct of the maneuver.

The above-mentioned inside footwork move associated with - and here is one overlooked aspect of the move - lead left hooks, serves more of a misdirection and distance purpose than one that removes the left hook’s trajectory path from the target’s field of vision.

There is great danger associated with a left hook lead, and that’s whether you're fighting a righty or a lefty.

However, if you can get your southpaw opponent’s right hand out of the way and/or unsuccessfully committed beforehand, so it can't be used to counter hook or block; then that’s a significant advantage.

Additionally, if you can - by simply stepping forward - place yourself inside and out of the main field of your opponent’s power; then that’s a significant advantage also.

Additionally, if you can - by simply stepping forward - ensure your lead foot transfers all your weight forward at exactly the same time as your left hook lands; then that’s a significant advantage also.

There’s not a lot of significant advantages for an orthodox fighter when he fights a southpaw, so this is good for the orthodox fighter.

However, when you do these things it’s important to understand why they're done and what advantages (for the risks) are sought and possibly gained.

If obscuring your left hook’s trajectory were the main objective then one need only adhere to the traditional convention associated with footwork placement for orthodox boxers fighting southpaws; as with your lead foot outside of theirs you have a far greater scope to employ oblique angles than if your lead foot is inside your southpaw opponents.

Draw a bird’s eye diagram of 2 fighters and prove it for yourself.

If your orthodox fighter’s lead left foot is outside of his southpaw opponent’s lead right foot then you can actually step past and behind the southpaw opponent, and in doing so you then create some very obscure angles that simply can't be created when your lead foot is in the alternative and/or traditional position for fighting southpaws.

So obviously there’s a bit more to it than Wylie states. Because if obscuring the trajectory of an orthodox fighter’s left hook targeted for a southpaw’s jaw is your objective you can achieve that from the safe position of keeping your lead foot outside of your southpaw opponent’s lead foot; where it traditionally should be - unless you want to trip up like Andre Ward does at point 8.12 of the video.

Which is one reason why the tradition of lead footwork placement when fighting southpaws - that Lee seeks to challenge (at point 1.56 of the video) - is a tried and tested tradition.

That’s OK though, as Lee is not necessarily entirely wrong here.

More that, not only are there sometimes other more complex reasons for what happens when fighters step inside of their opponent’s lead foot - but also what Lee describes with the footwork move of his chosen orthodox fighters that are up against a southpaw opponent, is not necessarily happening for the reasons and in the manner claimed.

Additionally, just because these footwork moves seem counterintuitive to the traditional convention associated with footwork placement for orthodox boxers fighting southpaws; that doesn’t mean that the tradition itself is wrong.

In fact Lee’s video can actually be used to show how the footwork tradition associated with fighting southpaws is right, and that what the fighters are actually doing is not conflicting with it - but simply choosing to launch a left hook lead in a deceptive way and with as much misdirection as possible.

Unfortunately Lee has - in my view - slightly misunderstood and/or misinterpreted what the fighters he shows are doing and why they're doing it, and as a result he’s arrived at the (wrong) conclusion that it all means that there is a lot to be said for fighting southpaws with the traditionally accepted lead foot placement reversed.

All these guys are doing is half of, or a little bit of, a mix between a diagonal left hook punch and a feint - as a means of launching lead hooks deceptively - and that doesn’t mean the footwork tradition associated with fighting southpaws is wrong or that these guys are not using it.

In fact, more than anything, all the guys Wylie uses in his video actually show that the footwork tradition associated with fighting southpaws is actually correct; as they all either revert back to it for the most part of the fight (after changing feet position to the non-traditional stance) or show how not only how diverting from it is only useful in singular and purposeful circumstances - but also how diverting from it can result in experiencing the dangers and disadvantages that actually made the traditional footwork associated with fighting southpaws popular, successful and a tradition.

If James Toney successfully throws a right jab from an orthodox right cross starting position (as he used to do if a guy was exiting away from him to his right), this doesn’t mean there is a lot to be said for how southpaw foot placement - when throwing right jabs - may not necessarily be all its meant to be.

Get my drift?

Cotto's left hook, thrown with his lead foot inside of Martinez’ lead foot (as is the case {claimed by Lee Wylie} at 2.09 in the video) won't actually be beyond Martinez' field of vision anymore than if it were - as is what is quite often attempted to achieve with perfectly executed left hooks against southpaws - thrown with its author’s feet in the traditional position . . that is with Cotto’s lead left foot outside of Martinez' lead right foot - where - as the video actually shows later on Cotto has most success and comfort with his left hooks.

In fact if Cotto's left foot were outside of Martinez' lead right foot when the Cotto hook was thrown, some elements of Cotto's left hook trajectory would then be even more obscured from Martinez' right field of vision.

The advantage Cotto gained with his misinterpreted foot placement/movement that Wylie seeks to discuss (by claiming Cotto’s left hook was thrown with his lead foot inside of Martinez’ lead foot) was actually due to Cotto quickly closing the distance and also because Cotto stepped inside of the typical arc that Martinez can carry power with, with a right (counter) hook - a southpaw’s delight.

To use this sequence and example of Cotto’s left hook to say or infer that the traditional foot placement method for fighting southpaws (with your lead foot outside of theirs) may not be as good as placing your lead foot inside of your opponent’s; is interesting.

Not in the least as Cotto actually launches the hook Wylie both refers to (2.09) and uses to question the traditional foot placement for fighting southpaws, from a foot position that is not inside of Martinez’ lead foot; therefore showing that the tradition still stands, that Cotto may actually be doing something else (and that he may have not done it correctly), and that Wylie may have misread what’s actually happening and why it is occurring.

Cotto’s move has very little to do with debunking the accepted tradition of foot placement when fighting southpaws.

He was simply launching a left hook lead, and if he had done it after he had actually stepped in and whilst he was in close range then Martinez would not be able to counter with a powerful right hook.

In that situation the disadvantage that Cotto would have forced on Martinez with the above-mentioned counter-southpaw maneuver of stepping in is offset somewhat by 3G’s punching technique discussed here . . . .

http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?12265-One-Significant-Technical-Origin-Of-GGG-s-Power/page9

That’s associated with supinating his forearm as he throws hooks.

As that technique can addresses a relatively close target’s unknown movement and the diminishing power delivery that’s normally associated with hooks thrown at them and/or with a small radius (that may be created from the unknown movement of a target - such as them moving close).

When the target is close - as Cotto would have been had he stepped in first and then thrown the left hook - that would otherwise thwart a conventional attack/hook’s power; as they usually only carry power and meaningful speed at medium and long fighting distances.

This is one reason why Martinez didn’t throw a perfect counter right hook on Cotto when Cotto pulled that move (not because of the lack of vision of the trajectory). As Martinez not only wrongly anticipated Cotto’s forward movement as a jab and didn’t expect what Cotto did with his left hook lead - but Martinez also has little speed and power with those close range counter right hooks; so he wouldn’t throw one if Cotto was going to end up in close as a result of that move as it appeared he might.

And Cotto didn’t stay in close as he didn’t execute that entire move correctly even though the left hook wasn’t bad.

Confirmation that Cotto didn’t execute that entire move correctly can be seen from how he had to awkwardly lean back to avoid Martinez’ incoming and extended right hand, from the lack of a Cotto follow through right cross, and from where Cotto’s feet ended up; the latter confirming why the traditional foot placement for fighting southpaws still stands and how any limitation of it had nothing to do with Cotto’s above described move.

Martinez was not sure whether a jab was a better way to return fire on Cotto and this move, but his own feet/body placement were not ideal for that punch either; hence the sloppy extended right arm.

Most guys Martinez fights are not that strategically prepared for southpaws and as such they therefore don’t use that move on Martinez; particularly at that range.

Which comes back to what I said previously here . . .

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?15535-Cotto-I-Will-Find-a-Way-to-Win&p=54391&viewfull=1#post54391

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?15535-Cotto-I-Will-Find-a-Way-to-Win&p=54395&viewfull=1#post54395

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?15154-SERGIO-MARTINEZ-Predicts-KO-of-Cotto-Round-Nine-Or-Earlier&p=52638&viewfull=1#post52638

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?15154-SERGIO-MARTINEZ-Predicts-KO-of-Cotto-Round-Nine-Or-Earlier&p=52864&viewfull=1#post52864

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?15154-SERGIO-MARTINEZ-Predicts-KO-of-Cotto-Round-Nine-Or-Earlier&p=53022&viewfull=1#post53022

About how Roach’s experience with southpaws and Cotto sparring Pacquiao will pay dividends with the Cotto V Martinez fight.

To recap about the above-mentioned technique(s) in a reverse engineered manner we need to go back to One-Significant Technical Origin Of GGGs Power.

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?12265-One-Significant-Technical-Origin-Of-GGG-s-Power/page9

Gennady Golovkin allows his forearm to supinate in a unnatural (for conventional punching techniques to which he applies the approach) manner so that the line created by his knuckles is vertical (or thereabouts) on impact.

This does many things and I will keep it simple in this post by disregarding the other complexities, such as medial rotation of the shoulder and so forth, which are often employed with forearm supination to modulate power and velocity; when punching.

Notice that when people attempt to flex their bicep-muscles so that they are as large as possible; they will almost always bring the forearm into supination?

This brings the bicep into play more and traditionally thrown hooks usually have very little to do with the bicep when compared to other arm muscles.

It also allows - because the bicep is brought into play more - power to be delivered in hooks that possess a small and/or changing radii - the kind Martinez would need to throw to counter Cotto in close and/or when executing the above-mentioned move; as the other more traditional approach to hooks require more space to deliver serious power and/or generate speed.

Bringing the bicep into play with hooks as above described (with a supinated forearm) also allows for torque modulation throughout a reasonably high arc/degree of the hook - something traditionally thrown hooks also do not usually do - particularly those that don’t supinate the forearm and therefore rely heavily on chest, shoulder and tricep muscles.

Traditionally thrown hooks do not usually allow for torque modulation throughout their arc of trajectory because those hooks simply set the fist in motion at a given velocity and then rely on the momentum of the hand and arm (and the initial accuracy of the punch; therefore radius) to deliver the power.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, Martinez (like many other boxers and particularly southpaws) only throws hooks that are of the traditional kind.

Therefore, the advantage Cotto had was not necessarily solely due to Cotto’s hook being out of Martinez’ field of vision because of any lead foot placement he may have had on any plane perpendicular to a line drawn from Martinez to Cotto - but more because Cotto moved close to Martinez and at a distance where Martinez simply could not get off a fast, accurate and meaningful counter (or other) hook to prevent (or retaliate) Cotto from doing what he was going to do with his own left hook.

There was also the misdirection associated with how Cotto’s advancement, as he stepped in, namely his body and foot placement that resulted from stepping in, would have probably initially registered with Martinez as something other than a hook.

But all of this is a little bit more involved than simply placing your foot inside your opponents, so that the trajectory of your punch is obscured.

Furthermore, none of it means that the traditional approach to foot placement when fighting southpaws leaves something to be desired; as the move of Cotto’s or Ward’s is not executed to overcome a limitation with that approach and/or its traditionally prescribed footwork.

Even though these moves we discuss are mostly Cotto’s, Cotto may not necessarily know all this in these deeply technical and above-mentioned terms.

As fighters often leave the really technical aspects related to how they and these things work to their trainers and sense them and learn them that way.

However, Cotto would know that Martinez was virtually powerless to retaliate with his own counter hook at that close range, and that Cotto’s own unfamiliarity with the move in general meant that his own foot placement was not ideal to deliver the right cross follow up - which itself would have been a far better exit strategy than that which he deployed.

Additionally, what disguised Cotto’s punch/hook (more than anything) was the fact that he didn’t have to launch it from back where he may usually launch them.

Instead he stepped forward, and because his feet placement were not where he usually throws left hooks from, Martinez simply didn’t expect it and/or thought it was a jab as you usually move forward with them. As such, it was a combination of misdirection and the ability of Cotto’s forward movement itself to position Martinez in such a way where he couldn’t easily retaliate - not obscure vision - that mostly enabled Cotto the advantage that Wylie discusses at point 2.09 of the video.

Had Cotto moved forward and closer to Martinez by the same amount with his left foot outside of Martinez' lead foot, Cotto's hook would have been even more obscured from Martinez's field of vision - than if his feet were as Wylie describes (which they weren’t even like that); but this would not have allowed Cotto to execute such a quick, short, tight radius hook, and it (due to its more conventional overall position; for a southpaw’s orthodox opponent) would have also undoubtedly given Martinez a far greater insight as to what Cotto was thinking about doing and had as options.

Additionally, had Cotto moved forward and closer to Martinez by the same amount with his left foot outside of Martinez' lead foot; it would have also ensured that Cotto was not in such a vulnerable position - where he had to lean back as he did - in the event he failed to execute the entire move 100% - providing yet further evidence of the effectiveness of the traditional foot placement approach for fighting southpaws and how Cotto’s move had very little to do with exposing its limitations.

However, without the ability for Cotto to execute such a quick, short, tight radius hook, all up those extra milliseconds may have actually allowed Martinez to reposition and/or lean back himself; so that he could then throw a hook with the kind of radius that his traditional style requires to quickly deliver power; whether it be a lead or counter variant of the hook.

And as such this was the risk for reward analysis that obviously took place without entirely running its course, before Cotto decided to hastily step in and throw a left hook; only to find that, going against the tradition of foot placement associated with fighting southpaws, where his left foot ended up inside of Martinez’ lead right foot, was actually too awkward a place to end up unless there was a better exit strategy.

This move is brilliant when all its parts work and are executed perfectly; otherwise it gets tricky and dangerous and can become an example of why the tradition exists of not fighting southpaws with your lead foot inside theirs for too long.

Things are not always as they seem, and at least Cotto didn’t get hit by Martinez’ extended left hand or trip up on Martinez’ right foot, as Ward did with Dawson (8.12) when he executed a similar move to launch a lead left hook with misdirection.

Now just to confuse things even more; if you have a look at the video still at the point 2.00 you will see that Cotto actually doesn’t launch his left hook from a position where his lead foot is inside Martinez’ lead foot; as Wylie infers.

At that point of the fight, when Cotto launches his left hook, it’s actually from a position where his lead foot is not inside Martinez’ lead foot; as Wylie suggests.

Cotto only has his lead foot inside Martinez’ lead foot after the hook/punch is thrown; further evidence that there really is not a lot to be said for challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs.

Cotto starts off with his lead foot outside of Martinez’ lead foot or not inside it, then - as his hook-punch is in the air, he (and this is technically not good) pulls his left hand back (telegraphing it, rather than just launching it forward as you should do in boxing) to create the arc required in the given space, mostly because his feet are not actually where they really should be for that kind of hook - he takes his left foot and steps inside Martinez’ lead right foot; as his hook lands.

The fact that Cotto had to pull his hand back and telegraphs the hook because the space requirements were not right, is further evidence that there really is not that much to be said for challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs; because that problem would most likely not exist if Cotto didn’t place his lead foot inside of Martinez’ lead right foot, as Cotto threw his left hook.

Martinez then counters with a sloppy left handed punch after Cotto does this, but if Cotto didn’t place his lead foot inside of Martinez’ lead right foot as he threw his left hook, and if Cotto held and maintained a position outside of Martinez’ lead right foot as he threw his own left hook it is highly debatable whether Martinez could counter Cotto effectively there too, and what’s more the right cross options for Cotto may even be better from there.

So aside from showing how Wylie’s video and article actually supports the tradition of foot placement when fighting southpaws, rather than questioning it; it may also seem like I have contradicted myself.

As I above state that the point of Cotto’s move was to be in a position where Martinez couldn’t counter him with his own hook, but Martinez still got a counter off didn’t he?

The point here is that Cotto actually tried to do what I describe above (by moving in and out of Martinez’ power range) but he actually didn’t execute that move perfectly; which doesn’t mean it can't be done.

There are many reasons why Cotto didn’t execute the move properly and here are a few;

1) The move is new to Cotto.

2) The move is not easy, particularly against fast guys.

3) To be both safe and successful with the move you must get the distance right and sell all misdirection aspects of it; as well as repositioning your opponent so their weight is not such that they can easily retaliate.

4) Cotto failed to get the distance to Martinez perfectly right before throwing the hook, as he was concerned about Sergio’s right hook counter.

5) Martinez was considerably more wary and side-on than you would like for the move to be executed easily.

Had Cotto, with his hands up, stepped in and close to Martinez (which in this case just happens to result in a position where Cotto’s lead foot would not be outside of Martinez’ lead foot), then thrown his left hook, the move may have been perfect for all the above-mentioned reasons.

From there, after the Cotto left hook had landed, he would then be close and therefore safe from any Martinez’ right hook counter; which would then open up a right cross opportunity and/or advantage that Martinez would effectively be powerless to completely defend off.

If you have a look at point 2.03 of the video - just as Cotto’s left hook (and foot) has landed - you can see from Martinez’ head and body positioning that if Cotto were positioned with his left foot outside of Martinez’ lead right foot - but still just as far forward as Cotto got to be from the way the move was actually executed - contrary to what Wylie is saying - Cotto’s left hook would then actually be further out of Martinez’ field of vision; further showing that obscuring the trajectory of your hook is not entirely what this move is all about and that there really is not a lot to be said for challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs - as this is simply a move to enable a left hook lead to get off with a minimal signature.

And if you look at what Cotto did at points 3.25 and 4.11 of the video, when Cotto landed a successful left hook on Martinez; it appears that, albeit not to the same extent distance-wise as the above-mentioned footwork example, by placing his lead left foot outside of Martinez’ lead foot - in the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs - Cotto successfully managed to get his hook off with noticeably greater ease than if his lead foot was otherwise placed.

At points 6.39, 6.43 and 7.16 of the video you can actually see that Cotto has far more success and comfort with his hooks when his own lead foot is not inside of Martinez’ lead foot - exactly as most convention has it when fighting a southpaw; which offers some reasoning as to why an orthodox fighter placing his lead foot inside a southpaw opponent’s is still not always a good idea.

This may have implications for Wylie’s claim that challenges the success and tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs, when he states; “Martinez can't track the trajectory of the hooks (6.35)”, and attributes it to fighting southpaws with your lead foot inside theirs.

As immediately after that point and Wylie comment, at the 6.39 point/mark, Cotto - with his lead left foot not inside Martinez’ lead right foot - goes onto to deliver a hook to Martinez that seriously drops him in a slightly delayed manner; further indicating that the claim that Cotto’s success in this fight is attributed to challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs, is perhaps as debatable as claiming that any success Cotto did have when his lead foot was inside Martinez’ lead foot was due solely to the fact that that position obscured Martinez vision of Cotto’s hooks.

Wylie discusses an advantage Cotto achieved in the Cotto V Martinez fight, but in my opinion not with a complete understanding of what Cotto is really doing and/or entirely in the correct context.

Furthermore, I also believe Wylie wrongly attributes success Cotto has (when his feet are in a certain position in relation to Martinez’ lead foot) to an assumption that supports challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs; despite the fact that the video evidence he offers debunks his assumptions as much, if not more, than it actually supports it.

Cotto tried to achieve an advantage and/or execute a move that involved placing his lead foot inside Martinez’ lead foot, but he didn’t quite execute the entire move properly.

It didn’t matter that much because Martinez is not used to guys that do those things anyway, but Roach has seen it all before and he knows it’s a southpaw weakness.

The move Cotto tried and Wylie attributed to everything that is positive in the fight, is risky because in doing it and closing the distance, if you get it wrong, you could walk into a Martinez left cross counter.

Closing the distance in the manner described also takes the power away from any possible Martinez left cross counter, if you get the move right, and then it gives Cotto the chance to counter that and also have the element of both surprise and anticipation.

None of this means that challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs is a good idea, or even that that was what Cotto and Ward were doing when they stepped forward and threw left hooks.

Onto the remarks about Ward.

Ward placed his left foot inside Dawson’s but look at the result - they both fell over.

This supports the view that it is not a good idea to challenge the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs and/or assume anytime someone successfully or unsuccessfully places their lead foot inside that of their southpaw opponents they are challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs.

Ward actually did this so that his left foot would come back to the floor at the same time as when his hook landed, and so the left hook (as far as clues provided by his footwork, and both body placement and movement ) appeared to be a jab.

Wylie actually did get that aspect of the deceptiveness about why both Ward and Cotto threw their left hooks in the manner they did when their feet were not in the expected placement.

The reason Cotto and Ward both use this technique is to disguise the hook, misdirect the opponent, introduce an element of surprise, and increase the hook’s power; but the technique will not remove the hook’s trajectory from the opponent’s field of vision any more than if the hook were thrown with its author’s lead foot outside of the opponent/target’s lead foot - supporting - not challenging - the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs.

Furthermore, even though Cotto may have - as Wylie puts it - pivoted to his left away from Sergio’s power hand; by stepping in with his left foot as he threw the left hook Cotto stepped right into Martinez’ power hand, and I think this also shows how Wylie may have misinterpreted why Cotto did some of the things he did and what their intended purposes really were.

Not in the least as most of Cotto’s success with hooks came from when his lead foot was actually outside of Martinez’ lead foot - exactly as convention would have it, and exactly as the video excerpt of Andre Ward falling over both substantiates and shows when Ward tried to - in Wylies’ terms - challenge the tradition of fighting southpaws with his lead foot outside theirs.

Overall though, I like your work Lee.

Seriously.

The Commish says:

Stormcenter, I ask this in a joking but very respectful way: Was that post (#6) a chapter from a book on boxing technique you are writing/working on?

Man, was it ever deep. Are you are college professor?

One of your paragraphs read "...I will keep it simple in this post by disregarding the other complexities such as medial rotation of the shoulder anhd so forth, which are often employed with forearm supination to modulate power and velocity; when punching." WTF? If that's keeping it simple, you may have lost a slew of readers along the way!

Over the years, I have been incredibly fortunate to have met and befriended five of the greatest trainers of all time. Four are no longer with us. They are Ray Arcel, Gil Clancy, Eddie Futch and Emanuel Steward. Another is considered to be by many the top trainer in the game today--Freddie Roach.

I have always been interested in the nuances of the game, first as a fighter always reaching for new heights of mediocrity and then as a writer, TV/radio analyst analyst, commissioner and talk show host. One of the nuances I have been interested in is "How do you fight a southpaw?"

All five of my legendary trainer/friends said, in summary, "You beat 'em with speed and timing."

All agreed that no two fighters are alike, and that includes southpaws. Some are very quick with no power. Others have great power with no speed. Some have a little of both. Few have a lot of both. The ones that do have defensive liabilities. The ones that have everything are named Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

Eddie Futch was a brilliant tactician and teacher. I am close friends with one of his star pupils: Freddie Roach, whose fights I used to announce on ESPN.

Freddie told me that he saw some huge holes in Sergio Martinez' defense. With Sergio, one of those holes/flaws was the fact that Martinez brought his right arm--his jabbing arm--back very low. He was an easy target for the left-hooking Cotto. Roach worked with Cotto on getting inside and firing that hook over Martinez' jab. Roach worked on getting Cotto's lead foot (his left) both INSIDE Martinez' lead foot (his right) and POUTSIDE. Then they worked on the hook's quick, short delivery.

They also worked on a fast start.

"Hurt Martinez early we got him," Roach told me.

It wasn't just easy. It was ridiculously easy.

As far as punching power, anybody can be taught to hit harder.

Emanuel Steward's favorite story was how he took a skinny kid named Thomas Hearns, a kid who came through the amateurs with a lot of wins but few knockouts and made him into a Hall-of-Famer known for his punching power. How did he do it? Emanuel taught him leverage. Everything working together at once: The punch, the turn of the hips and shoulders, the pivoting of the foot.

All five of those great trainers told me the same thing.

"It's easy," Clancy used to say. "It's just getting these guys to do it that's the hard part."

So, Stormcenter, that's it in a nutshell.

But I WILL buy your book when it comes out!

That was one well-thought-out, well-written chapter.

Have you done one on the "Check Hook?"

-Randy G.

Skibbz says:

Wow, I'm very impressed with that piece Storm. I didn't realise how much I had read until after it was finished, you clearly show knowledge and interest and that's always nice to see.

I agree on how Cotto was throwing his left hook and it wasn't coming how Martinez expected, it was clear that Roach anticipated the failure of the knee and wanted to get in Martinez' face who couldn't move out of the way effectively.

Either way, it was a nice video, and I must say an even nicer comment by Storm. Got to love these forums.

Radam G says:

[QUOTE=The Commish;55316]Stormcenter, I ask this in a joking but very respectful way: Was that post (#6) a chapter from a book on boxing technique you are writing/working on?

Man, was it ever deep. Are you are college professor?

One of your paragraphs read "...I will keep it simple in this post by disregarding the other complexities such as medial rotation of the shoulder anhd so forth, which are often employed with forearm supination to modulate power and velocity; when punching." WTF? If that's keeping it simple, you may have lost a slew of readers along the way!

Over the years, I have been incredibly fortunate to have met and befriended five of the greatest trainers of all time. Four are no longer with us. They are Ray Arcel, Gil Clancy, Eddie Futch and Emanuel Steward. Another is considered to be by many the top trainer in the game today--Freddie Roach.

I have always been interested in the nuances of the game, first as a fighter always reaching for new heights of mediocrity and then as a writer, TV/radio analyst analyst, commissioner and talk show host. One of the nuances I have been interested in is "How do you fight a southpaw?"

All five of my legendary trainer/friends said, in summary, "You beat 'em with speed and timing."

All agreed that no two fighters are alike, and that includes southpaws. Some are very quick with no power. Others have great power with no speed. Some have a little of both. Few have a lot of both. The ones that do have defensive liabilities. The ones that have everything are named Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

Eddie Futch was a brilliant tactician and teacher. I am close friends with one of his star pupils: Freddie Roach, whose fights I used to announce on ESPN.

Freddie told me that he saw some huge holes in Sergio Martinez' defense. With Sergio, one of those holes/flaws was the fact that Martinez brought his right arm--his jabbing arm--back very low. He was an easy target for the left-hooking Cotto. Roach worked with Cotto on getting inside and firing that hook over Martinez' jab. Roach worked on getting Cotto's lead foot (his left) both INSIDE Martinez' lead foot (his right) and POUTSIDE. Then they worked on the hook's quick, short delivery.

They also worked on a fast start.

"Hurt Martinez early we got him," Roach told me.

It wasn't just easy. It was ridiculously easy.

As far as punching power, anybody can be taught to hit harder.

Emanuel Steward's favorite story was how he took a skinny kid named Thomas Hearns, a kid who came through the amateurs with a lot of wins but few knockouts and made him into a Hall-of-Famer known for his punching power. How did he do it? Emanuel taught him leverage. Everything working together at once: The punch, the turn of the hips and shoulders, the pivoting of the foot.

All five of those great trainers told me the same thing.

"It's easy," Clancy used to say. "It's just getting these guys to do it that's the hard part."

So, Stormcenter, that's it in a nutshell.

But I WILL buy your book when it comes out!

That was one well-thought-out, well-written chapter.

Have you done one on the "Check Hook?"

-Randy G.[/QUOTE]

Indeed that he needs to do one on the check hook.

BTW! As I have always noted: Marvelous Marvin Haglers was both a lefty and right-handed fighter. People should give him his dues and halt the southpaw-ism of him. He was the greatest ever on using both sides and adding the famous shift punching.

All the great trainers that you named I also knew/know them quite well. And they have clearly said that there is no one way to fight all. Being a southpaw, I know. Dudes stereotyping how to fight me got bumrushed.

And Stormcentre was gettin' on his STORM! That Down Under cat is AWESOME. Hehehe! Holla!

stormcentre says:

[QUOTE=The Commish;55316]Stormcenter, I ask this in a joking but very respectful way: Was that post (#6) a chapter from a book on boxing technique you are writing/working on?

Man, was it ever deep. Are you are college professor?

One of your paragraphs read "...I will keep it simple in this post by disregarding the other complexities such as medial rotation of the shoulder anhd so forth, which are often employed with forearm supination to modulate power and velocity; when punching." WTF? If that's keeping it simple, you may have lost a slew of readers along the way!

Over the years, I have been incredibly fortunate to have met and befriended five of the greatest trainers of all time. Four are no longer with us. They are Ray Arcel, Gil Clancy, Eddie Futch and Emanuel Steward. Another is considered to be by many the top trainer in the game today--Freddie Roach.

I have always been interested in the nuances of the game, first as a fighter always reaching for new heights of mediocrity and then as a writer, TV/radio analyst analyst, commissioner and talk show host. One of the nuances I have been interested in is "How do you fight a southpaw?"

All five of my legendary trainer/friends said, in summary, "You beat 'em with speed and timing."

All agreed that no two fighters are alike, and that includes southpaws. Some are very quick with no power. Others have great power with no speed. Some have a little of both. Few have a lot of both. The ones that do have defensive liabilities. The ones that have everything are named Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

Eddie Futch was a brilliant tactician and teacher. I am close friends with one of his star pupils: Freddie Roach, whose fights I used to announce on ESPN.

Freddie told me that he saw some huge holes in Sergio Martinez' defense. With Sergio, one of those holes/flaws was the fact that Martinez brought his right arm--his jabbing arm--back very low. He was an easy target for the left-hooking Cotto. Roach worked with Cotto on getting inside and firing that hook over Martinez' jab. Roach worked on getting Cotto's lead foot (his left) both INSIDE Martinez' lead foot (his right) and POUTSIDE. Then they worked on the hook's quick, short delivery.

They also worked on a fast start.

"Hurt Martinez early we got him," Roach told me.

It wasn't just easy. It was ridiculously easy.

As far as punching power, anybody can be taught to hit harder.

Emanuel Steward's favorite story was how he took a skinny kid named Thomas Hearns, a kid who came through the amateurs with a lot of wins but few knockouts and made him into a Hall-of-Famer known for his punching power. How did he do it? Emanuel taught him leverage. Everything working together at once: The punch, the turn of the hips and shoulders, the pivoting of the foot.

All five of those great trainers told me the same thing.

"It's easy," Clancy used to say. "It's just getting these guys to do it that's the hard part."

So, Stormcenter, that's it in a nutshell.

But I WILL buy your book when it comes out!

That was one well-thought-out, well-written chapter.

Have you done one on the "Check Hook?"

-Randy G.[/QUOTE]



Hey Randy,

Thanks for the comments.

By the sounds of it you have had the chance to know some very good trainers then.

It would be interesting to have a chat with you.

By the way, Brendon Ingle is another good (UK based) trainer, but from those you mentioned Futch was pretty good in my opinion too.

From your discussions with those you mention you spoke to about southpaws and also Roach; you should be able to see that my previous comments provided in my 5 or so other posts - where I provided the links for those posts - my guessing was not bad for what Cotto and Roach would probably plan to do with Martinez.

In one of those posts I made it pretty clear that Martinez was a not a fundamentally sound boxer - something Roach knew also.

From there it was relatively easy because guys that are super-reliant on agility and unorthodox moves to befuddle opponents need their space and a means to control the fight to dictate that; therefore they usually don’t like it and lose their focus when they get bullied and hurt early.

That would be why Roach said hurt Martinez early.

Then you have the fact that southpaws also enjoy a degree of comfort over their rivals, and there are, of course, ways to deal with them and take them out of their comfort zone too that both include and go beyond what I describe above.

Did you notice how Cotto when not moving around and gaining position, at times, stayed off to the right of Martinez so that his right jab would open his chest up rather than go across it? Now, use the term opening his chest only to explain the position Cotto went for, and whilst doing that is good for Cotto the main reason was so Sergio was not in a comfortable position to throw his jabs; therefore he felt a little less secure and was less able.

I know this forum sometimes get tired of me mentioning Kostya Tszyu, but if you look at his first world title fight with Jake Rodriguez you have a lot of information there on how to fight a southpaw in terms of punches, foot placement, timing and distance.

You will notice - and this is something many observers overlooked - Kostya Tszyu has almost no urgency with some of his more telling blows!

Why is that?

It’s because of (all of) what I am saying.

Obviously there is more to it than this, but I have written enough large posts for a while.

Mostly I just wanted to make sure that I responded to Lee’s work, as usually it’s pretty good.

But in this instance I think he looked at a few things in isolation, some maybe not close enough, and attributed some aspects of the Cotto V Martinez fight to what he interpreted, perhaps a little hastily, and then from that he drew some fantastic and possibly mesmerizing conclusions.

Thanks.

stormcentre says:

[QUOTE=The Commish;55316]Stormcenter, I ask this in a joking but very respectful way: Was that post (#6) a chapter from a book on boxing technique you are writing/working on?

Man, was it ever deep. Are you are college professor?

So, Stormcenter, that's it in a nutshell.

But I WILL buy your book when it comes out!

That was one well-thought-out, well-written chapter.

Have you done one on the "Check Hook?"

-Randy G.[/QUOTE]

Oh, by the way . . no it’s not part of a book.

Believe it or not; I actually wrote it on my laptop last night as I watched TV.

Reading your comments though, maybe I should place it in one, or at least an article.

How much does Mr. Woods pay these writers?

Not sure, I am probably too lazy for that.

The Shadow says:

[QUOTE=The Commish;55316]Stormcenter, I ask this in a joking but very respectful way: Was that post (#6) a chapter from a book on boxing technique you are writing/working on?

Man, was it ever deep. Are you are college professor?

One of your paragraphs read "...I will keep it simple in this post by disregarding the other complexities such as medial rotation of the shoulder anhd so forth, which are often employed with forearm supination to modulate power and velocity; when punching." WTF? If that's keeping it simple, you may have lost a slew of readers along the way!

Over the years, I have been incredibly fortunate to have met and befriended five of the greatest trainers of all time. Four are no longer with us. They are Ray Arcel, Gil Clancy, Eddie Futch and Emanuel Steward. Another is considered to be by many the top trainer in the game today--Freddie Roach.

I have always been interested in the nuances of the game, first as a fighter always reaching for new heights of mediocrity and then as a writer, TV/radio analyst analyst, commissioner and talk show host. One of the nuances I have been interested in is "How do you fight a southpaw?"

All five of my legendary trainer/friends said, in summary, "You beat 'em with speed and timing."

All agreed that no two fighters are alike, and that includes southpaws. Some are very quick with no power. Others have great power with no speed. Some have a little of both. Few have a lot of both. The ones that do have defensive liabilities. The ones that have everything are named Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

Eddie Futch was a brilliant tactician and teacher. I am close friends with one of his star pupils: Freddie Roach, whose fights I used to announce on ESPN.

Freddie told me that he saw some huge holes in Sergio Martinez' defense. With Sergio, one of those holes/flaws was the fact that Martinez brought his right arm--his jabbing arm--back very low. He was an easy target for the left-hooking Cotto. Roach worked with Cotto on getting inside and firing that hook over Martinez' jab. Roach worked on getting Cotto's lead foot (his left) both INSIDE Martinez' lead foot (his right) and POUTSIDE. Then they worked on the hook's quick, short delivery.

They also worked on a fast start.

"Hurt Martinez early we got him," Roach told me.

It wasn't just easy. It was ridiculously easy.

As far as punching power, anybody can be taught to hit harder.

Emanuel Steward's favorite story was how he took a skinny kid named Thomas Hearns, a kid who came through the amateurs with a lot of wins but few knockouts and made him into a Hall-of-Famer known for his punching power. How did he do it? Emanuel taught him leverage. Everything working together at once: The punch, the turn of the hips and shoulders, the pivoting of the foot.

All five of those great trainers told me the same thing.

"It's easy," Clancy used to say. "It's just getting these guys to do it that's the hard part."

So, Stormcenter, that's it in a nutshell.

But I WILL buy your book when it comes out!

That was one well-thought-out, well-written chapter.

Have you done one on the "Check Hook?"

-Randy G.[/QUOTE]

I've told him that a thousand times. He's one of those guys where if he talks you listen. Very, very intelligent guy.

Editor Mike says:

WOWWWWWWWW. That is committment!

[QUOTE=stormcentre;55313]Sorry to be a party pooper guys but . . . . . . . .

I think Wylie has misunderstood a little about why Cotto and other fighter’s step close to southpaw opponents and sometimes place their lead foot inside of their southpaw opponents; as they throw a left hook.

Also I think he attributes doing this to an anti-convention associated with footwork and fighting southpaws in a misunderstood and not entirely correct manner.

His intentions are good and I am not ridiculing him.

But in my view orthodox fighters don’t generally throw their left hooks with their lead feet inside of their southpaw opponents lead foot because of any reasoning associated with how the traditional convention associated with footwork and fighting southpaws overlooks the value of placing your lead foot precisely where tradition states it should not be if you're fighting southpaws - which is what Wylie states.

Orthodox fighters don’t generally throw their left hooks with their lead feet inside of their southpaw opponents lead foot because it obscures vision or the trajectory of the left hook; although that can be a byproduct of the maneuver.

The above-mentioned inside footwork move associated with - and here is one overlooked aspect of the move - lead left hooks, serves more of a misdirection and distance purpose than one that removes the left hook’s trajectory path from the target’s field of vision.

There is great danger associated with a left hook lead, and that’s whether you're fighting a righty or a lefty.

However, if you can get your southpaw opponent’s right hand out of the way and/or unsuccessfully committed beforehand, so it can't be used to counter hook or block; then that’s a significant advantage.

Additionally, if you can - by simply stepping forward - place yourself inside and out of the main field of your opponent’s power; then that’s a significant advantage also.

Additionally, if you can - by simply stepping forward - ensure your lead foot transfers all your weight forward at exactly the same time as your left hook lands; then that’s a significant advantage also.

There’s not a lot of significant advantages for an orthodox fighter when he fights a southpaw, so this is good for the orthodox fighter.

However, when you do these things it’s important to understand why they're done and what advantages (for the risks) are sought and possibly gained.

If obscuring your left hook’s trajectory were the main objective then one need only adhere to the traditional convention associated with footwork placement for orthodox boxers fighting southpaws; as with your lead foot outside of theirs you have a far greater scope to employ oblique angles than if your lead foot is inside your southpaw opponents.

Draw a bird’s eye diagram of 2 fighters and prove it for yourself.

If your orthodox fighter’s lead left foot is outside of his southpaw opponent’s lead right foot then you can actually step past and behind the southpaw opponent, and in doing so you then create some very obscure angles that simply can't be created when your lead foot is in the alternative and/or non-traditional position for fighting southpaws.

So obviously there’s a bit more to it than Wylie states. Because if obscuring the trajectory of an orthodox fighter’s left hook targeted for a southpaw’s jaw is your objective you can achieve that from the safe position of keeping your lead foot outside of your southpaw opponent’s lead foot; where it traditionally should be - unless you want to trip up like Andre Ward does at point 8.12 of the video.

Which is one reason why the tradition of lead footwork placement when fighting southpaws - that Lee seeks to challenge (at point 1.56 of the video) - is a tried and tested tradition.

That’s OK though, as Lee is not necessarily entirely wrong here.

More that, not only are there sometimes other more complex reasons for what happens when fighters step inside of their opponent’s lead foot - but also what Lee describes with the footwork move of his chosen orthodox fighters that are up against a southpaw opponent, is not necessarily happening for the reasons and in the manner claimed.

Additionally, just because these footwork moves seem counterintuitive to the traditional convention associated with footwork placement for orthodox boxers fighting southpaws; that doesn’t mean that the tradition itself is wrong.

In fact Lee’s video can actually be used to show how the footwork tradition associated with fighting southpaws is right, and that what the fighters are actually doing is not conflicting with it - but simply choosing to launch a left hook lead in a deceptive way and with as much misdirection as possible.

Unfortunately Lee has - in my view - slightly misunderstood and/or misinterpreted what the fighters he shows are doing and why they're doing it, and as a result he’s arrived at the (wrong) conclusion that it all means that there is a lot to be said for fighting southpaws with the traditionally accepted lead foot placement reversed.

All these guys are doing is half of, or a little bit of, a mix between a diagonal left hook punch and a feint - as a means of launching lead hooks deceptively - and that doesn’t mean the footwork tradition associated with fighting southpaws is wrong or that these guys are not using it.

In fact, more than anything, all the guys Wylie uses in his video actually show that the footwork tradition associated with fighting southpaws is actually correct; as they all either revert back to it for the most part of the fight (after changing feet position to the non-traditional stance) or show how not only how diverting from it is only useful in singular and purposeful circumstances - but also how diverting from it can result in experiencing the dangers and disadvantages that actually made the traditional footwork associated with fighting southpaws popular, successful and a tradition.

If James Toney successfully throws a right jab from an orthodox right cross starting position (as he used to do if a guy was exiting away from him to his right), this doesn’t mean there is a lot to be said for how southpaw foot placement - when throwing right jabs - may not necessarily be all its meant to be.

Get my drift?

Cotto's left hook, thrown with his lead foot inside of Martinez’ lead foot (as is the case {claimed by Lee Wylie} at 2.09 in the video) won't actually be beyond Martinez' field of vision anymore than if it were - as is what is quite often attempted to achieve with perfectly executed left hooks against southpaws - thrown with its author’s feet in the traditional position . . that is with Cotto’s lead left foot outside of Martinez' lead right foot - where - as the video actually shows later on Cotto has most success and comfort with his left hooks.

In fact if Cotto's left foot were outside of Martinez' lead right foot when the Cotto hook was thrown, some elements of Cotto's left hook trajectory would then be even more obscured from Martinez' right field of vision.

The advantage Cotto gained with his misinterpreted foot placement/movement that Wylie seeks to discuss (by claiming Cotto’s left hook was thrown with his lead foot inside of Martinez’ lead foot) was actually due to Cotto quickly closing the distance and also because Cotto stepped inside of the typical arc that Martinez can carry power with, with a right (counter) hook - a southpaw’s delight.

To use this sequence and example of Cotto’s left hook to say or infer that the traditional foot placement method for fighting southpaws (with your lead foot outside of theirs) may not be as good as placing your lead foot inside of your opponent’s; is interesting.

Not in the least as Cotto actually launches the hook Wylie both refers to (2.09) and uses to question the traditional foot placement for fighting southpaws, from a foot position that is not inside of Martinez’ lead foot; therefore showing that the tradition still stands, that Cotto may actually be doing something else (and that he may have not done it correctly), and that Wylie may have misread what’s actually happening and why it is occurring.

Cotto’s move has very little to do with debunking the accepted tradition of foot placement when fighting southpaws.

He was simply launching a left hook lead, and if he had done it after he had actually stepped in and whilst he was in close range then Martinez would not be able to counter with a powerful right hook.

In that situation the disadvantage that Cotto would have forced on Martinez with the above-mentioned counter-southpaw maneuver of stepping in is offset somewhat by 3G’s punching technique discussed here . . . .

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?12265-One-Significant-Technical-Origin-Of-GGG-s-Power/page9

That’s associated with supinating his forearm as he throws hooks.

As that technique can addresses a relatively close target’s unknown movement and the diminishing power delivery that’s normally associated with hooks thrown at them and/or with a small radius (that may be created from the unknown movement of a target - such as them moving close).

When the target is close - as Cotto would have been had he stepped in first and then thrown the left hook - that would otherwise thwart a conventional attack/hook’s power; as they usually only carry power and meaningful speed at medium and long fighting distances.

This is one reason why Martinez didn’t throw a perfect counter right hook on Cotto when Cotto pulled that move (not because of the lack of vision of the trajectory). As Martinez not only wrongly anticipated Cotto’s forward movement as a jab and didn’t expect what Cotto did with his left hook lead - but Martinez also has little speed and power with those close range counter right hooks; so he wouldn’t throw one if Cotto was going to end up in close as a result of that move as it appeared he might.

And Cotto didn’t stay in close as he didn’t execute that entire move correctly even though the left hook wasn’t bad.

Confirmation that Cotto didn’t execute that entire move correctly can be seen from how he had to awkwardly lean back to avoid Martinez’ incoming and extended right hand, from the lack of a Cotto follow through right cross, and from where Cotto’s feet ended up; the latter confirming why the traditional foot placement for fighting southpaws still stands and how any limitation of it had nothing to do with Cotto’s above described move.

Martinez was not sure whether a jab was a better way to return fire on Cotto and this move, but his own feet/body placement were not ideal for that punch either; hence the sloppy extended right arm.

Most guys Martinez fights are not that strategically prepared for southpaws and as such they therefore don’t use that move on Martinez; particularly at that range.

Which comes back to what I said previously here . . .

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?15535-Cotto-I-Will-Find-a-Way-to-Win&p=54391&viewfull=1#post54391

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?15535-Cotto-I-Will-Find-a-Way-to-Win&p=54395&viewfull=1#post54395

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?15154-SERGIO-MARTINEZ-Predicts-KO-of-Cotto-Round-Nine-Or-Earlier&p=52638&viewfull=1#post52638

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?15154-SERGIO-MARTINEZ-Predicts-KO-of-Cotto-Round-Nine-Or-Earlier&p=52864&viewfull=1#post52864

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?15154-SERGIO-MARTINEZ-Predicts-KO-of-Cotto-Round-Nine-Or-Earlier&p=53022&viewfull=1#post53022

About how Roach’s experience with southpaws and Cotto sparring Pacquiao will pay dividends with the Cotto V Martinez fight.

To recap about the above-mentioned technique(s) in a reverse engineered manner we need to go back to One-Significant Technical Origin Of GGGs Power.

[url]http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?12265-One-Significant-Technical-Origin-Of-GGG-s-Power/page9

Gennady Golovkin allows his forearm to supinate in a unnatural (for conventional punching techniques to which he applies the approach) manner so that the line created by his knuckles is vertical (or thereabouts) on impact.

This does many things and I will keep it simple in this post by disregarding the other complexities, such as medial rotation of the shoulder and so forth, which are often employed with forearm supination to modulate power and velocity; when punching.

Notice that when people attempt to flex their bicep-muscles so that they are as large as possible; they will almost always bring the forearm into supination?

This brings the bicep into play more and traditionally thrown hooks usually have very little to do with the bicep when compared to other arm muscles.

It also allows - because the bicep is brought into play more - power to be delivered in hooks that possess a small and/or changing radii - the kind Martinez would need to throw to counter Cotto in close and/or when executing the above-mentioned move; as the other more traditional approach to hooks require more space to deliver serious power and/or generate speed.

Bringing the bicep into play with hooks as above described (with a supinated forearm) also allows for torque modulation throughout a reasonably high arc/degree of the hook - something traditionally thrown hooks also do not usually do - particularly those that don’t supinate the forearm and therefore rely heavily on chest, shoulder and tricep muscles.

Traditionally thrown hooks do not usually allow for torque modulation throughout their arc of trajectory because those hooks simply set the fist in motion at a given velocity and then rely on the momentum of the hand and arm (and the initial accuracy of the punch; therefore radius) to deliver the power.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, Martinez (like many other boxers and particularly southpaws) only throws hooks that are of the traditional kind.

Therefore, the advantage Cotto had was not necessarily solely due to Cotto’s hook being out of Martinez’ field of vision because of any lead foot placement he may have had on any plane perpendicular to a line drawn from Martinez to Cotto - but more because Cotto moved close to Martinez and at a distance where Martinez simply could not get off a fast, accurate and meaningful counter (or other) hook to prevent (or retaliate) Cotto from doing what he was going to do with his own left hook.

There was also the misdirection associated with how Cotto’s advancement, as he stepped in, namely his body and foot placement that resulted from stepping in, would have probably initially registered with Martinez as something other than a hook.

But all of this is a little bit more involved than simply placing your foot inside your opponents, so that the trajectory of your punch is obscured.

Furthermore, none of it means that the traditional approach to foot placement when fighting southpaws leaves something to be desired; as the move of Cotto’s or Ward’s is not executed to overcome a limitation with that approach and/or its traditionally prescribed footwork.

Even though these moves we discuss are mostly Cotto’s, Cotto may not necessarily know all this in these deeply technical and above-mentioned terms.

As fighters often leave the really technical aspects related to how they and these things work to their trainers and sense them and learn them that way.

However, Cotto would know that Martinez was virtually powerless to retaliate with his own counter hook at that close range, and that Cotto’s own unfamiliarity with the move in general meant that his own foot placement was not ideal to deliver the right cross follow up - which itself would have been a far better exit strategy than that which he deployed.

Additionally, what disguised Cotto’s punch/hook (more than anything) was the fact that he didn’t have to launch it from back where he may usually launch them.

Instead he stepped forward, and because his feet placement were not where he usually throws left hooks from, Martinez simply didn’t expect it and/or thought it was a jab as you usually move forward with them. As such, it was a combination of misdirection and the ability of Cotto’s forward movement itself to position Martinez in such a way where he couldn’t easily retaliate - not obscure vision - that mostly enabled Cotto the advantage that Wylie discusses at point 2.09 of the video.

Had Cotto moved forward and closer to Martinez by the same amount with his left foot outside of Martinez' lead foot, Cotto's hook would have been even more obscured from Martinez's field of vision - than if his feet were as Wylie describes (which they weren’t even like that); but this would not have allowed Cotto to execute such a quick, short, tight radius hook, and it (due to its more conventional overall position; for a southpaw’s orthodox opponent) would have also undoubtedly given Martinez a far greater insight as to what Cotto was thinking about doing and had as options.

Additionally, had Cotto moved forward and closer to Martinez by the same amount with his left foot outside of Martinez' lead foot; it would have also ensured that Cotto was not in such a vulnerable position - where he had to lean back as he did - in the event he failed to execute the entire move 100% - providing yet further evidence of the effectiveness of the traditional foot placement approach for fighting southpaws and how Cotto’s move had very little to do with exposing its limitations.

However, without the ability for Cotto to execute such a quick, short, tight radius hook, all up those extra milliseconds may have actually allowed Martinez to reposition and/or lean back himself; so that he could then throw a hook with the kind of radius that his traditional style requires to quickly deliver power; whether it be a lead or counter variant of the hook.

And as such this was the risk for reward analysis that obviously took place without entirely running its course, before Cotto decided to hastily step in and throw a left hook; only to find that, going against the tradition of foot placement associated with fighting southpaws, where his left foot ended up inside of Martinez’ lead right foot, was actually too awkward a place to end up unless there was a better exit strategy.

This move is brilliant when all its parts work and are executed perfectly; otherwise it gets tricky and dangerous and can become an example of why the tradition exists of not fighting southpaws with your lead foot inside theirs for too long.

Things are not always as they seem, and at least Cotto didn’t get hit by Martinez’ extended left hand or trip up on Martinez’ right foot, as Ward did with Dawson (8.12) when he executed a similar move to launch a lead left hook with misdirection.

Now just to confuse things even more; if you have a look at the video still at the point 2.00 you will see that Cotto actually doesn’t launch his left hook from a position where his lead foot is inside Martinez’ lead foot; as Wylie infers.

At that point of the fight, when Cotto launches his left hook, it’s actually from a position where his lead foot is not inside Martinez’ lead foot; contrary to that which Wylie suggests and use to attribute to higher causes.

Cotto only has his lead foot inside Martinez’ lead foot after the hook/punch is thrown; further evidence that there really is not a lot to be said for challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs.

Cotto starts off with his lead foot outside of Martinez’ lead foot or not inside it, then - as his hook-punch is in the air, he (and this is technically not good) pulls his left hand back (telegraphing it, rather than just launching it forward as you should do in boxing) to create the arc required in the given space, mostly because his feet are not actually where they really should be for that kind of hook - he takes his left foot and steps inside Martinez’ lead right foot; as his hook lands.

The fact that Cotto had to pull his hand back and telegraphs the hook because the space requirements were not right, is further evidence that there really is not that much to be said for challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs; because that problem would most likely not exist if Cotto didn’t place his lead foot inside of Martinez’ lead right foot, as Cotto threw his left hook.

Martinez then counters with a sloppy right handed punch after Cotto does this, but if Cotto didn’t place his lead foot inside of Martinez’ lead right foot as he threw his left hook, and if Cotto held and maintained a position outside of Martinez’ lead right foot as he threw his own left hook it is highly debatable whether Martinez could counter Cotto effectively there too, and what’s more the right cross options for Cotto may even be better from there.

So aside from showing how Wylie’s video and article actually supports the tradition of foot placement when fighting southpaws, rather than questioning it; it may also seem like I have contradicted myself.

As I above state that the point of Cotto’s move was to be in a position where Martinez couldn’t counter him with his own hook, but Martinez still got a counter off didn’t he?

The point here is that Cotto actually tried to do what I describe above (by moving in and out of Martinez’ power range) but he actually didn’t execute that move perfectly; which doesn’t mean it can't be done.

There are many reasons why Cotto didn’t execute the move properly and here are a few;

1) The move is new to Cotto.

2) The move is not easy, particularly against fast guys.

3) To be both safe and successful with the move you must get the distance right and sell all misdirection aspects of it; as well as repositioning your opponent so their weight is not such that they can easily retaliate.

4) Cotto failed to get the distance to Martinez perfectly right before throwing the hook, as he was concerned about Sergio’s right hook counter.

5) Martinez was considerably more wary and side-on than you would like for the move to be executed easily.

Had Cotto, with his hands up, stepped in and close to Martinez (which in this case just happens to result in a position where Cotto’s lead foot would not be outside of Martinez’ lead foot), then thrown his left hook, the move may have been perfect for all the above-mentioned reasons.

From there, after the Cotto left hook had landed, he would then be close and therefore safe from any Martinez’ right hook counter; which would then open up a right cross opportunity and/or advantage that Martinez would effectively be powerless to completely defend off.

If you have a look at point 2.03 of the video - just as Cotto’s left hook (and foot) has landed - you can see from Martinez’ head and body positioning that if Cotto were positioned with his left foot outside of Martinez’ lead right foot - but still just as far forward as Cotto got to be from the way the move was actually executed - contrary to what Wylie is saying - Cotto’s left hook would then actually be further out of Martinez’ field of vision; further showing that obscuring the trajectory of your hook is not entirely what this move is all about and that there really is not a lot to be said for challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs - as this is simply a move to enable a left hook lead to get off with a minimal signature.

And if you look at what Cotto did at points 3.25 and 4.11 of the video, when Cotto landed a successful left hook on Martinez; it appears that, albeit not to the same extent distance-wise as the above-mentioned footwork example, by placing his lead left foot outside of Martinez’ lead foot - in the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs - Cotto successfully managed to get his hook off with noticeably greater ease than if his lead foot was otherwise placed.

At points 6.39, 6.43 and 7.16 of the video you can actually see that Cotto has far more success and comfort with his hooks when his own lead foot is not inside of Martinez’ lead foot - exactly as most convention has it when fighting a southpaw; which offers some reasoning as to why an orthodox fighter placing his lead foot inside a southpaw opponent’s is still not always a good idea.

This may have implications for Wylie’s claim that challenges the success and tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs, when he states; “Martinez can't track the trajectory of the hooks (6.35)”, and attributes it to fighting southpaws with your lead foot inside theirs.

As immediately after that point and Wylie comment, at the 6.39 point/mark, Cotto - with his lead left foot not inside Martinez’ lead right foot - goes onto to deliver a hook to Martinez that seriously drops him in a slightly delayed manner; further indicating that the claim that Cotto’s success in this fight is attributed to challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs, is perhaps as debatable as claiming that any success Cotto did have when his lead foot was inside Martinez’ lead foot was due solely to the fact that that position obscured Martinez vision of Cotto’s hooks.

Wylie discusses an advantage Cotto achieved in the Cotto V Martinez fight, but in my opinion not with a complete understanding of what Cotto is really doing and/or entirely in the correct context.

Furthermore, I also believe Wylie wrongly attributes success Cotto has (when his feet are in a certain position in relation to Martinez’ lead foot) to an assumption that supports challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs; despite the fact that the video evidence he offers debunks his assumptions as much, if not more, than it actually supports it.

Cotto tried to achieve an advantage and/or execute a move that involved placing his lead foot inside Martinez’ lead foot, but he didn’t quite execute the entire move properly.

It didn’t matter that much because Martinez is not used to guys that do those things anyway, but Roach has seen it all before and he knows it’s a southpaw weakness.

The move Cotto tried and Wylie attributed to everything that is positive in the fight, is risky because in doing it and closing the distance, if you get it wrong, you could walk into a Martinez left cross counter.

Closing the distance in the manner described also takes the power away from any possible Martinez left cross counter, if you get the move right, and then it gives Cotto the chance to counter that and also have the element of both surprise and anticipation.

None of this means that challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs is a good idea, or even that that was what Cotto and Ward were doing when they stepped forward and threw left hooks.

Onto the remarks about Ward.

Ward placed his left foot inside Dawson’s but look at the result - they both fell over.

This supports the view that it is not a good idea to challenge the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs and/or assume anytime someone successfully or unsuccessfully places their lead foot inside that of their southpaw opponents they are challenging the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs.

Ward actually did this so that his left foot would come back to the floor at the same time as when his hook landed, and so the left hook (as far as clues provided by his footwork, and both body placement and movement ) appeared to be a jab.

Wylie actually did get that aspect of the deceptiveness about why both Ward and Cotto threw their left hooks in the manner they did when their feet were not in the expected placement.

The reason Cotto and Ward both use this technique is to disguise the hook, misdirect the opponent, introduce an element of surprise, and increase the hook’s power; but the technique will not remove the hook’s trajectory from the opponent’s field of vision any more than if the hook were thrown with its author’s lead foot outside of the opponent/target’s lead foot - supporting - not challenging - the tradition of fighting southpaws with your lead foot outside theirs.

Furthermore, even though Cotto may have - as Wylie puts it - pivoted to his left away from Sergio’s power hand; by stepping in with his left foot as he threw the left hook Cotto stepped right into Martinez’ power hand, and I think this also shows how Wylie may have misinterpreted why Cotto did some of the things he did and what their intended purposes really were.

Not in the least as most of Cotto’s success with hooks came from when his lead foot was actually outside of Martinez’ lead foot - exactly as convention would have it, and exactly as the video excerpt of Andre Ward falling over both substantiates and shows when Ward tried to - in Wylies’ terms - challenge the tradition of fighting southpaws with his lead foot outside theirs.

Overall though, I like your work Lee.

Seriously.[/QUOTE]

thegreyman says:

@stormcentre Nice post! It's certainly a sweet SCIENCE to you!

thegreyman says:

@stormcentre Nice post! It's certainly a sweet SCIENCE to you!

stormcentre says:

Fighting southpaws was one of my favorite things to do.

They almost always do similar things, have comparable confidence lines, and they often learn the sport from an approach that usually has the same starting point and therefore allows you to apply - within reason - a cookie cutter approach; to what often becomes a mauling fight.

It's the last point that will typically give the southpaw fighter an advantage, as he generally acclimatizes to that in the gym (with everything reversed) more than you.

Therefore, this means there are a few ways that you fight southpaws and a few things you don't do.

You must stay to that plan and be diligent throughout the fight, and usually things will work out.

Fernando Vargas fought Ronald (Winky) Wright (the southpaw) quite cleverly, although he brawled a little too much.

Vargas, stayed with his lead foot where it should be when fighting southpaws for the most part of the fight, and shoveled his punches into Winky quite neatly with a rhythm that ensured openings for punches southpaws are vulnerable to (on Winky) were capitalized in a way where some of Fernando’s punches could either be counters or great leads; without Vargas actually knowing/seeing what punch Wright would have thrown for it to actually be a counter.

Kind of like an anticipated counter that defaults to a lead. And they are a brilliant weapon for a southpaw.

Enough said.

Did anyone check out the Kostya Tszyu V Jake Rodriguez fight and see what I was talking about above, when responding to the interest associated with fighting southpaws correctly?

After the Kostya Tszyu V Jake Rodriguez fight they asked Jake Rodriguez who hits harder Tszyu or Felix Trinidad, and Rodriguez said without hesitation Kostya Tszyu.

Rodriguez had fought a young and prime Felix Trinidad, who was 12 and 0 going in, in 1991; to a 10 round unanimous loss. But the loss for Jake Rodriguez didn’t set him back too much as he went onto capture the IBF light welterweight title in 1994 when facing Charles Murray.

Rodriguez then defended that title twice in 1994 before being blown out by Kostya Tszyu in 1995 with what was probably one of the better performances not just in boxing - but also on how to fight a southpaw.

By approaching Rodriguez, a southpaw, in a particular way Kostya Tszyu was able to place himself out of danger a lot of times whilst also being able to seriously wind up some of his punches - particularly hooks (that were required only because Tszyu was deliberately offline) when the target was mobile.

Check it out, it’s a goldmine of information for anyone wanting to study how to fight a southpaw, that’s free on YouTube.

Radam G says:

Wow! Southpaws are different in styles and skills just as much as right-handed fighters are.

We lefties are stereotyped like we are jokes or aliens or something. And when are we don't fight like the labels put on us, the pundits start saying that we are southpaws that fight like we are conventional fighters.

WTF! OMG! Stereotypes and strategies about southpaws are bum rushed by talent and skills. Holla!

stormcentre says:

[QUOTE=Radam G;55454]Wow! Southpaws are different in styles and skills just as much as right-handed fighters are.

We lefties are stereotyped like we are jokes or aliens or something. And when are we don't fight like the labels put on us, the pundits start saying that we are southpaws that fight like we are conventional fighters.

WTF! OMG! Stereotypes and strategies about southpaws are bum rushed by talent and skills. Holla![/QUOTE]


Agreed RG.

I never said it was easy fighting a lefty. It takes a good grasp of boxing before you can apply the techniques I refer to.

Before that happens, you're probably eating leather more than you like.

But, when fighting a lefty (if you're a righty) you can get into a position where they can't easily hit you and you can easily hit them with your power hand; that's where you are with your lead left foot outside their lead right foot.

Holla!!!!!!!!

Radam G says:

[QUOTE=stormcentre;55456]Agreed RG.

I never said it was easy fighting a lefty. It takes a good grasp of boxing before you can apply the techniques I refer to.

Before that happens, you're probably eating leather more than you like.

But, when fighting a lefty (if you're a righty) you can get into a position where they can't easily hit you and you can easily hit them with your power hand; that's where you are with your lead left foot outside their lead right foot.

Holla!!!!!!!![/QUOTE]

Sorry, but it is no position -- except on the canvas -- that a right-handed fighter can [and could] get in, where I cannot find him and blast him. Speed doesn't only kill, it finds. And if you are quick -- of thought, foot and fist -- you can have your pick. Holla!

stormcentre says:

[QUOTE=Radam G;55460]Sorry, but it is no position -- except on the canvas -- that a right-handed fighter can [and could] get in, where I cannot find him and blast him. Speed doesn't only kill, it finds. And if you are quick -- of thought, foot and fist -- you can have your pick. Holla![/QUOTE]

And that was exactly what Rodriguez said before fronting up to Tszyu.

Anyway, it's great to see the confidence and fighting spirit in you has not waned any with these years.

There are ways to fight leftys but maybe you're not susceptible to them due to your experience, after all not every technique works on everyone.

Holla!!!!

Radam G says:

There are exceptions to every rule. And fighters who have uncanny tools. "Sweet Pea" Whitaker was not going to be caught by any conventional fighters. And the young, late, great Hector "Macho Time" Camacho was a pug of 1,001 moves and 1,002 types of punches.

And I won't bring myself and styles into the discussion because I'm hiding in plain sight and have fought in Sidney and Perth. And you will likely figure out my ID in a kangaroo hop. Hehe! Holla!

stormcentre says:

Where about in Perth?

Radam G says:

[QUOTE=stormcentre;55466]Where about in Perth?[/QUOTE]

Haha! Good one! But I'm not saying. Holla!

stormcentre says:

There are only 2 main places to have a pro fight there, so I thought I would corner you...



Do you know what they are?

Radam G says:

[QUOTE=stormcentre;55468]There are only 2 main places to have a pro fight there, so I thought I would corner you...



Do you know what they are?[/QUOTE]

C'mon, Storm! You've probably pinned me down already. I'm old skool rope-a-doping. Hehe! Holla!

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