When you walk into a boxing gym for the first time, the first thing you learn is how to stand in what will be your boxing stance. Now there are a number of different stances and you will learn whichever the coach prefers or whichever guard they were taught themselves. In this article and corresponding video below, I look at the stance of boxing great Ezzard Charles.
Charles had what I would refer to as an old school boxing stance, the lead shoulder points towards the chin of the opponent, the lead arm is held lower and across the chest or body and the right hand is held just under the chin. There are a number of advantages to this old school stance and we have seen a number of successful boxers in the recent past use a very similar stance. James Toney practically studied Ezzard Charles, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Andre Ward, Bernard Hopkins and many more used very similar stances.
So what are the advantages? Firstly the position gives you a bladed stance or some might say a half man stance, this means your body is positioned in such a manner that the opponent only really sees half of your body which of course means they have less of a target to aim for. They will also have further to reach should they want to throw a back hand punch at you(right cross if you are orthodox) which puts the opponent at risk of being countered if they are over reaching for punches as well as meaning you have less chance of being hit.
The right hand under the chin also means your right hand(for orthodox fighters) has less distance to travel if you want to throw the cross as opposed to having your right hand higher and by the side of the chin. Less distance to travel means it has a better chance of landing as well as meaning the opponent has less time to react to your cross because of the lesser distance it is travelling. The right hand under the chin also makes it perfect for catching or parrying shots especially the jab and with the bladed stance the head is automatically off the centre line which makes it safer when throwing punches as well as allowing you to better slip to the outside when avoiding punches. Now Ezzard Charles was especially good at throwing punches with his head off the centre line, when Charles threw the cross he would take his head off centre line and even when Charles threw the left hook he would take his head off centre line, making it that much more difficult to tag him with a counter punch. As mentioned above the natural stance with head off the centre line also made it automatic throwing the jab with the head off the centre line.
The lead hand lower across the body protects against body punches and also acts as a shield against the back hand of the opponent, it can also be used to create space by pushing against the opponent. Watch the video below to see Ezzard Charles in action using the perfect boxing stance.