The main purpose of this write-up is to set down the proper ways of slipping punches like a pro boxer. We shall also discuss relevant subjects pertaining to defensive fighting and more for our readership’s benefit.
Aggressive Fighters Are Exciting to Watch But…
The first impression we get from words related to pugilism or prizefighting is often synonymous to aggressiveness. To fight means to attack, and that may be true in a literal or even to a technical degree.
Some boxers grow their worldwide popularity through their aggressive styles. There are the likes of Arturo Gatti, whose bloody encounters with his archrival Micky Ward remain a boxing classic, often replayed on television.
World champion boxer Manny Pacquiao, who currently ranks in the top five of BoxRec’s greatest boxers list of all time Pound for Pound has transcended his image singly as a boxer.
He is now a crossover personality regardless of sport, owing mainly to his popular fighting style and, of course, a congenial personality.
The boxers who initiate the action are almost always the crowd favorite. This is not just a matter of perception among boxing fans, and often reflects on the scorecards too.
For even boxing judges are more inclined to score a round in favor of the boxer who takes charge of the action, who makes things happen, per se.
More credit is given generally to them compared to a boxer who simply waits for the other to make mistakes before committing himself to throw a punch.
However, aggression alone may not be sufficient to win a match, at least not at an advanced, elite level.
To be the best, one has to accept that…
Defense Is a Key Element in Boxing
To learn how to effectively slip a punch is just the inception of gradually becoming a completely developed pug.
Some boxers, either by choice or the lack of fundamental training, allow themselves to be hit so they can hit back harder.
It is also not unusual to witness a change of fighting style in the middle of a prizefighter’s career- for the better, or worse-
Arturo Gatti used to box before he eventually transitioned into an all-action, warrior mentality of a fighter.
A professional boxer like Manny Pacquiao exploits his high-energy offense to essentially compensate for his lack of defensive skills, and this drives the crowd gaga, shower of appreciation rain down in arenas.
However, the more important question for the purpose of this discussion should be:
Is your attacking style considered an effective aggression?
If not, you may be completely wasting your energy and making yourself vulnerable to counter-punches every time you open up.
Muhammad Ali enjoyed drawing his opponents to the corner.
He liked to lean against the ropes, egging his challengers to bomb away as he slips them, or blocked them; a style dubbed by experts as the rope-a-dope.
Once his opponents became winded, Ali would soon wisely take over the match. The end game was a mere formality.
Nothing sucks the excitement and vitality out of an aggressor than a solid defensive boxer that makes you miss your punches most of the time.
Learning to Slip Punches like a Pro
Simply put, to slip a punch means to veer away from the direction of the projectile. Depending on the type of punch you are supposed to stay clear of, this involves slight head movement acted simultaneously with proper foot placement.
Before we delve further into the topic of slipping punches like a pro, we cannot put more emphasis on the importance of keeping your balance through proper footing, not forgetting to bend your knees just a tad.
You might have the best ideas of how to slip a punch, theoretically, but without one’s feet secure on the ground a quick evasion may only result to a loss of proper balance which, at a certain angle, may appear like a valid knockdown.
How to Slip a Jab (Orthodox Stance), Points to Remember:
- Pivot and slightly shift one’s weight and head (dipped) craftily to the right at a two o’clock angle.
- Slightly bent knees will aid in the clockwise movement, causing the hips and shoulders to rotate, react in a fraction of a second.
- One’s weight will be shifted a little more on the hind leg.
To slip an incoming right hand shot is similar to slipping inside a jab.
How to Slip a Right Hand Straight Punch (orthodox), Points to Remember:
- Pivot your body counter clockwise with your head dipped, chin tucked and well defended.
- Propel movement with slightly bent knees to aid in rotating the hips and shoulders simultaneously.
- Subtle transference of one’s weight from the neutral position towards the lead foot.
- Don’t bend forward from the waist up
The importance of a slip is twofold. The more obvious benefit of evading a punch is to avoid harm, but this also sets you up for a proper counter punch.
When you slip a jab by leaning cleverly to the right, you are in position to use that weight transference and clocked shoulder to throw a booming right overhand to the head, or a stab to the left side of the opponent’s body.
Slipping to the left versus a straight punch or a jab naturally gets you closer to your foe. This means you will have more punch options available, such as inserting a right hand straight of our own to the head or the midsection.
You may also whack that right side ribcage with a cross between an uppercut and a hook, followed by another left hook to the head.
Perfection, slipping punches like a pro translates to beautiful, effective boxing. This way you are able to use your energy wisely, as compared to over aggressively pursuing an opponent.
Using one’s energy wisely means that you are able to throw quality punches, the ones that really mean something and are visible to the judges.
Ineffective aggression will only tire a boxer out. It is a waste of energy, which should be honed to build more speed and power, the more telling shots.
There is a myth about boxing legend Willy Pep winning a boxing match without throwing a single punch.
But generally speaking, defense alone will not win fights. A solid defense that sets you up for an effective counter punching agenda does!
Docking and Weaving
Also an evasive maneuver similar to slipping a punch, docking and weaving involves moving the head laterally and underneath an incoming shot.
Carefully shifting the weight to the left or right leg, as the case may be, according to the flow of direction and with bent knees, this is usually followed by a hook to the body and another hook upstairs.
Docking and weaving is more common during in-fights where fighters cut distance and sometimes even tangle while fighting at close quarters.
What Makes a Defensive Wizard?
Knowing how to properly slip, bob, and weave is valuable information every prospective boxer ought to possess. The other half of this subject focuses on knowing when to apply your learning.
You wouldn’t want to bob and weave perfectly toward a punch, would you?
The main difference between an average and a master class defensive boxer is the uncanny ability to ANTICIPATE a punch.
How would you know if it were a jab, straight, hook, or an uppercut before it happens? This has nothing to do with Jedi skills.
Practice Makes Perfect
Apart from working on the necessary muscles to facilitate a swift slip movement, such as doing squats to build power in your legs, one needs to practice reading opponents’ punches through extensive sparring.
As with everything else in life, EXPERIENCE always makes a great teacher.
Try mixing up sparring partners with different styles. Learn on the fly. The best boxers are always able to adapt to all kinds of challenges.
This would entail careful observation of an opponent’s bodily movements. It’s about understanding physics in action while occasionally getting punched in the face.
Study a fighter’s style, take note of one’s tendencies, what one’s often used punch combinations are…
One way or the other you will eventually find a pattern to the madness.
A detailed mitt work with a proper coach may help simulate not only your offense but also your parrying, blocking, and counter-punching abilities.
While unloading your punches, an experienced coach may cleverly disrupt the mitts drill sequence by throwing an occasional punch of his own, an arbitrary shot for you to counter back. So always pay attention!
Another strategy in learning how to anticipate an incoming shot is to perfect your own punch execution.
Train as hard as you can without causing injury to yourself. Push your limits. Learn how your body behaves when you are exhausted because chances are you will see your opponent make similar mistakes too, and you should know how to take advantage of it.
The more you are able to execute and understand how your body works will shed light in understanding your opponent’s.
There are countless clues for each and every one of us to learn from. And whatever you do…
Always Keep an Eye on Your Opponent
You wouldn’t know what should come next if you don’t have the person you’re up against in your sight. So whether you go under a punch, or slip a jab, do not take your eyes off your only target.
Some boxers learn to hide their weaknesses better as they earn more experience. This way boxing becomes more of a chess match than a slugfest. It requires more patience, and probing, a longer build-up leading to the real action.
Not only are weaknesses harder to detect, but the punches too become more deceptive.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. likes to jab at his opponents early and frequently, so much so that you’d expect it to come each time he comes at you. That’s how he wants you to think.
Then he disguises this stiff, stinging jabs that should quickly transition into a left hook. The more variety he employs, the more you are burdened with guesswork. He loves it when you overthink and lose focus!
But the eyes don’t lie. It almost always manifests a signal before a punch follows.
While incorporating all these data, try not to take it all at once. Enjoy as you train. Love what you do. Learning how to slip a punch and anticipate will take time and countless visits to the gym.
It will involve a ton of experiences before you reach a level where a challenger’s punch will seem slower to your trained eye than it is in reality.
A trained eye might see a punch before it unfolds. It sees probabilities, opportunities, and misses.
Here’s an awesome video from our friends over at Expert Boxing which shows you the basics on how to slip punches – worth a watch!
Conclusion: Offense Versus Defense
The best boxers in the world are capable of blurring the lines that border between offense and defense. So this becomes a seamless transition to and fro.
This flexibility will make any boxer adapt to a situation and implement what he feels is necessary to be victorious.
Earlier in his career, Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez used to be heavily criticized for capitalizing too heavily on his opponent’s mistakes. That was up until we all saw him knockout Manny Pacquiao cold, thought him for dead.
Did his critics still chide him for “running” after that? And fighting backwards doesn’t count as running by the way.
The young Floyd Mayweather Jr. used to move around in the ring when he fought in the lighter weight classes.
He used his foot speed and advantage in endurance to tire his opponents that kept chasing him around while being potshot every now and then.
But as he grew older, his body fitting more naturally into a welterweight size, he tactically changed his style.
He is able to stand in front of you without getting hit- literally. He has become more offensive minded through demonstrating his sleekness and ability to slip, dock and weave through punches.
The main takeaway here is that you can use defense as an offensive strategy and vice versa.
The ideal objective of a young prospective boxer should be to bring balance to his game. The ability to shift from one style to another will give you the advantage of being unpredictable. Hopefully it shall result to a lasting career too.