Joe Frazier was one of the heavyweight greats, fighting in arguably the toughest decade of heavyweight history, he became world champion – beating legends such as Muhammad Ali as they became involved in what was boxings most famous trilogy.
Now Frazier was considered a small heavyweight in that he was only 5’11 which is short for the heavyweight division, yet he fought his way to the top as not just an Olympic gold medallist, but the heavyweight champion of the world too. The video below looks as one key element Frazier used to overcome the difference in height and reach he faced against taller and longer opposition.
We all know about Joe Frazier’s left hook, but in order to land the left hook – which I believe was the best left hook in history(because let’s face it, every opponent knew he was going to throw it yet they still couldn’t stop it) Frazier had to get into position to land it and against taller fighters that meant becoming skilled at closing the gap.
Joe Frazier was constantly bobbing and weaving, always moving his head, a style taught to him by the great Eddie Futch(you can read my article on the greatest boxing trainers HERE), but the key difference in how Frazier did this was that he was constantly leaning forwards with the slip. Often you see fighters pull back with the slip but if a shorter fighter is doing that, by slipping back they are only making it harder for themselves to come back with a counter punch and they also still allow the opponent to throw long 1, 2’s(jabs and crosses) as you have pulled back.
Joe Frazier would slip leaning forwards, this meant that when he made you miss he had not only avoided the punch but he had now cut the gap between himself and his opponent, this means Frazier was in position to throw his daunted left hooks and his opponent could not now use the long 1, 2 to keep the shorter opponent on the outside. Now Frazier had slipped leaning forwards the fight was on the inside, exactly where a shorter fighter wants to be against a taller opponent because they can now throw those short explosive hooks and get on the chest of the opponent. Watch the video below for a demonstration of Joe Frazier at his best against Muhammad Ali in the fight of the century.