Floyd Mayweather Jr made the shoulder roll popular, this guard has been used for over a century in boxing but it was really Mayweather Jr who popularised it and suddenly everyone wanted to use the shoulder roll or its most popular variation, the Philly shell.
With the lead hand low position, this means the rear hand is of added importance because if you are not using that rear hand correctly, you stand to get knocked out as opponents look to come over the top of your low lead hand. In the video below I have a quick look at how George Benton, considered by many to be the greatest exponent of the Philly Shell – positioned his rear hand.
Benton in his more natural Philly Shell stance kept the rear hand under his chin, sometimes just out in front covering the left side of his chin. This was used to catch and parry punches, with his head off centre line it also made it more difficult to tag him with jabs or the straight right/right cross. But he did not always keep his hands in this position and he allowed for some flexibility – he was not rigid in his guard. Benton often bought his rear hand out and to the side, even showing the parry position to his opponent, sometimes he would jab in this position with his rear hand out by the side and other times he would jab with his rear hand under the chin – Note I said under the chin, not above the chin as in most conventional guards.
I have made a video in the past how Floyd Mayweather Jr would throw his right hand with his hand placed under the chin, now there is a lot of cross over between the Philly and Michigan styles and Benton was no different, he would also throw his right commonly from under the chin. This makes the rear hand travel quicker to its target than if it was higher and by the side of the chin as it has less distance to travel, it also made for a more snappy rear hand as often you will not load up or wind up for the punch especially as with the shoulder roll or Philly Shell there is a lot of rolling of the shoulders to set up counter punching with the right hand so it makes sense it is used in this closer and tighter position so you can snap it out when counter punching off the shoulder roll.
Boxing Coach Strength and Conditioning Coach Boxing Author of: The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival Strength and Conditioning for Boxing - Work out Hits to get you Fighting Fit! Forgotten Legends of the Ring - Ten Past Masters of the Squared Circle *Any videos or images used on this site to support my articles that are copyrighted are used for educational purposes and in accordance to the fair use act and are not my own - all credit is due to the respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.
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