Old School Boxing Defence
Sandy Saddler is considered one of the greatest Featherweight boxers of all time, some would even say he is the best ever but he is almost always mentioned in the top 2-3 alongside the man he fought four times – Willie Pep. Now Saddler was known for three things, firstly the aforementioned four bouts with Willie Pep, two of the best ever going head to head in one of the most intense boxing rivalries of all time. Secondly for his power, Saddler is one of a handful of men to have finished his career with over 100 knockouts and lastly for his bag of tricks, some might say his ‘dirty’ bag of tricks. In this article and the video below I delve into the bag of tricks of Sandy Saddler and more specifically how he used his rear hand for defence.
The first thing we notice about Saddler is his guard which uses the rear hand extended, this is useful for a number of reasons, mostly he can block the opponents punches almost as soon as they throw the punch because the rear hand of Saddler was so far out. He could also use this rear hand to disrupt the opponents balance by nudging them on their shoulders. I’m sure many of you reading this have heard of George Foreman and I did make a video in the past on the similarities between Saddler and Foreman so it should come as no surprise that two Saddlers worked with Foreman, Sandy and his cousin.
A not so legal method of using the rear hand, Saddler would tie you up using his rear hand and then use his free hand to hit you so pretty much a hold and hit, holding you with his rear hand behind your neck and sliding in uppercuts with the lead hand. Another illegal trick we see in the video is Saddler holding the opponents arm with his rear hand and then using a hammer fist to punch down on the opponents arm around the elbow, this was done very quickly and then turned into a jab, definitely not a move I would advise anyone to be doing!
A staple of Saddler’s defence was the rear hand parry, he would use the parry to steer your punch out and away from him and this also diverted the opponents momentum making it very difficult to follow up with a punch using the same hand. At times Saddler would transition that rear hand parry into a rear hand punch over the top so parry and right cross. Other times, especially on the inside, Saddler could hold that parry so now he is pulling down the opponents guard with his rear hand and once again he can slide in uppercuts using his free hand.
In one of the fights with Willie Pep, Pep suffered a dislocated shoulder and in the video we can see how this might have happened, Saddler would lock the opponents lead arm with his rear hand and then punch through the middle so it is very possible this arm lock could also cause a dislocation especially there is a struggle going on between the two.
Finally we see something of a lost art to end the video, Saddler was very adept at wrestling an opponent as were many old school boxers from the past and we see here Saddler effortlessly transition between a pendulum parry, under hook and hold and hit.