Joe Louis and the Jab Defence
Now we all know Joe Louis as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, many people do believe that he was actually the best heavyweight of all time. With a fantastic record of 66-3 and reigning as the world champion from 1937-1949, it would be tough to argue against ‘The Brown Bomber’, who also was ranked by Ring TV as the greatest puncher in boxing history too. With such a long list of accolades it would be easy to forget just how sharp the boxing IQ of Joe Louis was, in this article we look at just some of the ways Joe Louis was defending the jab.
Louis ability to defend and countering the jab was in no small part to his stance, which was perfectly positioned for Louis to be extremely versatile in his attack and defence. Joe Louis was trained by a man named Jack ‘Chappie’ Blackburn, who was also a former boxer who competed against some great names and thus was extremely experienced and knowledgeable in the art of boxing and defensive boxing. Blackburn modelled the stance and style of Joe Louis on himself, Sam Langford and Joe Gans (two all time great fighters). Louis stance put him in a position with his right hand held open under his chin, this would block the jab, whether that was by catching or parrying. By leaning slightly down and to his right, it put his head off the centre line and made it much easier for Louis to either slip the jab or the right cross. With the weight bearing down more on the back foot it also allowed him to load up with the right hand, whether that was after slipping the jab or throwing it off his own jab.
We can see in the video three ways Joe Louis was defending the jab and he could transition between these counters easily which made it very difficult for his opponent to know how Louis was going to defend and counter the jab. This is down to his stance and add to that his powerful right hand, by defending the jab so well it made him an extremely hard fighter to box against because not only was he taking away your jab, you had to worry about the knockout power in his right hand.