Joe Louis is considered by many as one of the greatest boxers of all time, named by the Ring Magazine as the number one puncher in boxing history, Louis was also trained by quite possibly the greatest boxing trainer ever, Jack Blackburn.
Blackburn, or Chappie as he was often called, was very studious in the way he taught Louis, teaching precise and economical footwork and perfect punching technique. The Brown Bomber was a calm, calculated and efficient killer in the ring.
The video below explains how Joe Louis would throw the right cross. What we notice are two main points when Louis threw the right hand – firstly he would move his lead foot up and over to the left, possibly to get himself in better position to slide the right hand through and secondly Louis would dip his lead shoulder as he threw the right hand.
Dipping the shoulder served multiple purposes – it increased the power of the punch as it helped in really getting the body behind the punch and it also took the head off centre line, which was extremely important. By taking the head off centre line when throwing the right cross Louis ensured that if the opponent tried to counter him they would likely miss with their punch because Louis head was not sitting in the middle.
What is just as intriguing is that it didn’t matter whether Louis first punch was a jab followed by a cross, a lead right hand or a 3-2 combo(left hook, right cross) each time there was the motion of the lead foot stepping up and over to the left which demonstrates just how important footwork and proper foot positioning is to punching and punch power.
There’s no doubt that Louis precise footwork and punch technique went a long way in Louis having the greatest title reign in heavyweight history and for what it is worth, I have done a video on Gerald McClellan in the past(another great puncher) and The G-Man was also very similar to Joe Louis in how he threw the right hand.