George Benton was one of the fighters I featured in my book Forgotten Legends of the Ring, not only was Benton one of the top middleweights in the 1960’s, he would later become one of the best trainers of all time as he trained a number of world champions and one of the best ever in Sweet Pea Pernell Whitaker.
Now Benton was especially good using the Philly Shell and is one of the greatest defensive artists in boxing history, the Philly Shell and other similar methods of the Shoulder Roll are noted for the position of the rear hand, which is often just underneath the chin. With this in mind I simply wanted to see how a master of the Philly Shell defence handled the left hook, because with the rear hand lower there is an increased risk of getting tagged by the opponents left hook.
The first method we see George Benton employing is the most common – he simply lifts the arm and shields the left hook, keeping the elbow nice and tight, he may turn after the punch or he may come back and counter the left hook with his own left hook.
The second method we see is bending at the waist, which is very common for anyone employing the Philly Shell. Benton would bend at the waist which would take his torso almost to the right allowing the left hook to just sail over his head. In this position Benton cannot really counter so he would do a few things off the bend. Benton could pivot and then counter, he could step back to move out of range or he could step in to close the gap and initiate the clinch. Benton would also use the bend at the waist when defending against the double left hook, he might block the first hook using the shield and then bend at the waist against the second hook.
Benton could also use the roll to avoid the left hook, another common method to defend the left hook but he would sometimes turn this into a counter punching opportunity by punching with the roll. As Benton would roll under the left hook at the same time he would deliver a punch to the opponents body. This was a very effective move because you are hitting the opponent at a time they are most vulnerable – which is when they are attacking.
Lastly we see Benton simply stepping back from the hook to create enough room to come back with his own counter. Watch the video below to see ‘The Professor’ George Benton at work against the left hook.
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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