In this article I am going to take a look at how you would use the shoulder roll if you happen to be a southpaw boxer. Pretty much all the examples we see of shoulder roll experts in the professional game are right handed orthodox boxers – Floyd Mayweather Jr, James Toney, Nicolino Locche for example so it would be interesting to see how a left handed boxer uses the shoulder roll especially as you have to take into account the openess against the opponents straight shot with the rear hand.
The example I will use is none other than the Sweet Pea, Pernell Whitaker, it is also interesting to note that this southpaw was actually trained by a former fighter who was a master of the Philly Shell – George Benton.
We will start from the basics so the double jab. Whitaker first defends the double jab with an outside slip and pivot to his left, which interestingly is right into the path of the opponents straight right but he doesn’t throw it – most likely because Whitaker by using the pivot forced his opponent to reset his stance by which time the clinch had been initiated. The next method Whitaker used against the double jab he now parrys the first jab and then pivots again but this time to his right which makes it very difficult for his opponent to use the rear hand. Also we have to emphasise the use of the pivot as it is a change of angle which makes firing off successive punches difficult for your opponent.
Now I mentioned earlier about being wary of the straight rear hand shot using the shoulder roll against someone of the opposite stance(orthodox vs southpaw and southpaw vs orthodox) and we can see in the video below that Whitaker often went into a high guard when defending against the 1-2 or jab, cross so he was not always using the shoulder roll against the opponents straight rear hand shot – very important for any of you faced with the same situation, don’t force yourself to try using the shoulder roll against the straight back hand of a fighter in the opposite stance.
Whitaker did use other defensive methods against the 1-2 such as the lead hand parry against the jab and then rear hand parry against the cross – again no shoulder roll…other times Whitaker would outside slip the jab and then step back from the opponents straight right, again no shoulder right against the straight right.
Against the lead right of the orthodox fighter Whitaker liked to bend at the waist, an oft used tactic of fighters who use the shoulder roll and his other tactic was also one often used by shoulder roll fighters such as Floyd Mayweather Jr – pullback or step back and counter with his back hand.
With the opponent throwing a 2-3 or lead right followed by the left hook Whitaker would rear hand parry the lead right and roll under the left hook. Against the uppercut Whitaker was mostly pulling back from the uppercut so there is definetly a sense of his outlandish reflexes and instincts coming into play here.
You’ll see a couple of different methods he will use against the 1-2-3 or jab, cross, hook including using the rear hand to parry or block the 1-2 and then Whitaker will pivot out from the hook using the shoulder roll – I am guessing the pivot away from the hook lessens any impact as you are rubber necking away from the punch should the opponent manage to land on the head but in this instance he catches the lead shoulder of Pernell Whitaker. Next we will see the lead hand parry against the jab, the shield against the straight right(Whitaker using his left hand high to block the punch) and then across the hook Whitaker will cross block meaning he uses the same left hand high he used against the cross to block against the hook by moving his left hand across to the side of his right chin, blocking the left hook – an excellent form of defence which he perfectly used here – watch the video below to see Sweet Pea Pernell Whitaker put it all into action.
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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