Recently I wrote an article about Tyson Fury and the Kronk Gym influence. Fury, who became heavyweight champion of the world again when he defeated Deontay Wilder 10 days ago, went back to the Kronk Gym to train with the nephew of Manny Steward for this fight. One of the methods I outlined in the article was the use of the stiff arm.
Thomas Hearns was one of the best exponents of the stiff arm and although it is something he used extensively, it wasn’t just him from the Kronk Gym under the tutelage of Manny Steward who used the stiff arm. Lennox Lewis and Wladmir Klitschko, two dominant champions in the heavyweight division both used the stiff arm and both trained Manny Steward.
The stiff arm becomes an effective move when combined with the jab and cross. Using the stiff arm helps to set your range and is usually set up for the right hand behind it but can also be used to set up other shots such as the left hook to the body. Not only does it help you find your range but it also helps to block any punches coming back at you and can be a real nuisance to your opposition. The stiff arm works best when coming after the jab as it will then create indecision for your opponent to what is coming next.
We can also note that the stiff arm works best for those fighters who have length – or a long reach. Hearns was a 6’1 fighter who started out in the welterweight division and even when he moved up in weights, he was generally the taller fighter with the longer reach, this makes it more effective because he could stiff arm you and it was difficult for the shorter fighter to do something about it in time before Hearns threw his punch behind it. Lewis and Klitschko were also two tall heavyweights with a long reach.
Hearns stiff arm was also great because he had a great jab and a tremendous right hand. Hearns could snap the jab out with speed and adding to this he was great at using the feint, all adding to the effectiveness of the stiff arm. Infact I am not sure there was a better one, two puncher than Hearns – in my article on the greatest punchers in history, I have Thomas Hearns as the no.1 pound for pound puncher because he carried his power through every division he moved up in and his right hand was the main weapon.
Watch the video below to see Thomas Hearns demonstrating why his stiff arm was so effective.