The Skills of Joe Brown


joe brown

Joe Brown was a Lightweight Champion in the late 1950’s who fought 185 times over the course of his career. Avoided for a time he received a title shot 13yrs after becoming a pro and when he was in his 30’s. Having become champion he soon introduced the nickname ‘Old Bones’ in an effort to garner more attention – aided by George Gainford, the manager of Boxing Superstar Sugar Ray Robinson who informed Brown that his name was a little too plain to inspire the masses, so they came up with the moniker Old Bones rather like Archie Moore was being named the Old Mongoose.

In the video below I have a quick look at some of the skills of Joe Brown. The first skill we see is switch hitting, Brown was an orthodox fighter but at times he would switch to standing with his right foot forward and throw the right hand like a southpaw jab, he even did this whilst stepping backwards, seamlessly transitioning between stances and using the southpaw jab to catch out his opponent.

Joe Brown also made good use of the screw jab, this is one of my favourite jabs to use and is excellent as a guard splitter, especially if the opponent is using the high guard as the screw jab goes in between the guard. It is often employed off the inside slip to the opponents jab and the hand is turned in to help squeeze the jab up the middle.

Pivoting off the hook was also something Old Bones utilised, this is good for a few reasons – firstly it is an exit strategy off the left hook, it allows you to change the angle by pivoting off and forcing a reset from your opponent. We see Brown using the pivot off the left hook to the body as well, again this is a very smart idea and also helps to protect against any counter punches.

The right hand feint into the left hook was tricky to pick up on old grainy black and white footage but Brown was known to use this move. Brown would feint the right hand and it could cause a reaction in the opponent who looked to avoid the right but instead the opponent would lean into the left hook Brown was actually setting them up for, he would often follow up with the right hand after the left hook.

Lastly we see a neat little trick Joe Brown used – Brown uses the pendulum parry to block a punch but instead of pushing the punch away with his parry, he pins the opponents arm with the parry instead and throws a left to the body, by pinning the lead arm he has taken one arm away lessening the chance of a counter punch.

About the author 


Boxing Coach
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Boxing Author of:

The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival

Strength and Conditioning for Boxing - Work out Hits to get you Fighting Fit!

Forgotten Legends of the Ring - Ten Past Masters of the Squared Circle

*Any videos or images used on this site to support my articles that are copyrighted are used for educational purposes and in accordance to the fair use act and are not my own - all credit is due to the respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.


joe brown, joe old bones brown, old school boxing, screw jab

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