So what is one referring to when they talk about ‘closing the gap’? Closing the gap in boxing usually refers to closing the distance between yourself and the your opponent.
Ok so we have established that closing the gap is basically the distance between you and your opponent, that gap can also be termed as the safe zone. A place where you cannot hit your opponent and they cannot hit you. If you cross this safe zone, you are at risk of getting hit before you can hit your opponent. So how do you manoeuvre yourself into a position of strength when crossing this ‘safe’ zone?
One way is to use the same method used by Bernard Hopkins when he fought fellow great and world champion Oscar De La Hoya. Hopkins closed the gap by throwing his jab out and then immediately dipping under whilst stepping forward. De La Hoya had already tried countering the jab which meant Hopkins had dipped under his eyeline and almost surprised him by closing that gap. The move meant Hopkins was now toe to toe with his opponent and on the inside(shoulder to shoulder) – another quick tip, ensure your head is on the outside/left shoulder of your opponent else you will dip into their right hand.
Shortly after Hopkins closed the gap, he knocked De La Hoya out with a shot to the body.
Closing the gap is essential, especially when fighting someone taller than you, you must learn to close this gap using both footwork and head movement or your opponent can simply fight on the outside. Hopkins method is just one way to get inside, Mike Tyson would often get inside by using the inside slip for example.
Bernard Hopkins can be seen as something of an inspiration for many of us – because he won another world title at age 48 and was still boxing as a professional in his 50’s! Have a look at the video below to see just how Hopkins was able to close the gap.