Tricks of the Pittsburgh Kid
Back in the day Pittsburgh used to be a hot bed of Boxing talent – Harry Greb, Billy Conn, Fritzie Zivic, Charley Burley were all great fighters and adding to the list of hot talent was the Southpaw Lightweight champion Paul Spadafora.
Spadafora worked with one of the greatest boxers of all time Pernell Whitaker and another of his coaches was Tom Yankello. Tom is someone I am very high on and I believe his teachings will bring out more champions from Pittsburgh. In this article I am going to go over some of the tricks Spadafora no doubt learnt from the likes of Yankello and Whitaker.
The High Elbow
Paul Spadafora would use the elbow of his lead arm in various ways. By lifting his elbow when defending or pivoting he could use the elbow as an extra barrier blocking shots before they could reach his shoulder or head and if the shot was aimed at the body then the elbow would be able to block this as well. The high elbow could also be used to create space from an opponent by pushing them away and it could also double up by pinning the guard or gloves of the opponent so they couldn’t get their punches off.
The Touch and Shoot
By touching the gloves of the opponents lead hand, Spadafora would keep their guard occupied and then shoot his left cross right down the middle whilst they were still busy trying to deflect his jab.
Pulling down the Guard
A lovely little trick here by Spadafora. We even see the 1,3,2 used to set up the rear cross, the jab is aimed at the opponent and the hook is quickly delivered almost like a push or a slap to line the opponent up with your rear hand but Spadafora put a little twist on this taking advantage of the southpaw angle. Spadafora would throw his jab and then use his hook to pull down the lead hand of the opponent and that would create a wide open window for him to land his left cross through the newly created gap from pulling down the guard with his left hook.
Perhaps what Spadafora was most known for his use of angles and the pivot which made him a very slippery customer. Just like Pernell Whitaker, Spadafora could pivot just as well in either direction, often preceding the pivot with the slip or bending at the waist. These use of angles and pivoting off made it very hard for the opponent to pin Spadafora down.
The proper way of using the shell or the shoulder roll is to make yourself as small a target as possible and when you watch Paul Spadafora defending a combination of punches, not only does he pivot but before that he really makes himself a smaller target so there is very little to hit, he is tucked in right behind that lead shoulder and the arms are tight and compact leaving almost for the opponent to land clean on.
Watch the video below to see The Pittsburgh Kid Paul Spadafora giving a demonstration in southpaw boxing…