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Old 09-30-2014, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 5,935
Boxing punches: The jab, cross, hook and uppercut

Have I got this right?

The jab is the workhorse of boxing, best used to test defenses, set up a power attack and to whittle down the opponent. It is the hallmark of the more technical boxers who use mobility and range like Mohammad Ali.

Thee uppercut is the difficult, high risk/high reward punch that has the most potential for a knockout but also requires putting yourself at greater risk.

What about the cross and the hook? I know their technical definitions but I don't know what they're best suited for. When would one use a hook rather than a cross and vice versa? What are their advantages and disadvantages? What boxing style best fits either?

Are there other major types of punches I've missed?
Old 09-30-2014, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Near Philadelphia
Posts: 6,485
Really there are a million different punches; one kind sort of dissolves into another at some point. A hook to the ear in a clinch is a hook just like a wide open step-back haymaker is a hook, but the latter is also basically an uppercut, too.

It's just situational. You're moving and they're moving. If you imagine the other guy's head and torso as the target and his hands and arms as obstacles, where you are physically and what he's doing are going to determine what's a reasonable way to attack. A straight right hand (i.e. what you're talking about as a cross, although sometimes people distinguish the straight from a cross) comes from inside the window of the other guy's defenses. If you're inside him and you can land a straight to his face, that's the most direct way to hurt him, shortest distance and all that.

A hook obviously comes from outside that window. If his hands are in, you hit him where they ain't. It's pretty tough to defend hooks to the body, so if he's locked up tight you can just kind of hammer on his ribcage until he opens up. Same principle. It depends on a lot of things, but ultimately it's just style. Mike Tyson had those rolling hooks that would start in a full-body crouch and he'd leap up out of it and move his whole body around and just explode on people; if you can do that then the answer to when you'd use a hook is as soon as you're going to land it, because they're going to die when you do.
Old 10-01-2014, 10:07 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 35,286
Probably the best treatise on punching ever written is Jack Dempsey's Championship Fighting.

Dempsey wasn't much of a jabber, so there are other ways of throwing that punch besides the "jolt" with the trigger step he recommends. Different fighters use different punches in different ways. Ali's jab was sort of a potch, a point-scorer. Larry Holmes, George Foreman, and Sonny Liston pounded with the jab, leaving their opponents too dazed to avoid long sweeping punches. Joe Louis would flay you alive with his jab, and then knock you out with a combination.

Likewise for other punches. Rocky Marciano was famous for wide, swinging punches, but his most famous knockout was with a right hand that traveled six inches and kayoed Jersey Joe Walcott in the thirteenth. Mike Tyson would come at you in a crouch and then unload with a huge hook from outside. He was fast enough in his youth to get away with it. Then he aged, and Evander Holyfield was able to slip the hook and beat him with shorter hooks and rights after pushing him back.

The uppercut is a low-percentage punch, useful mostly in close.

If you want to see how to throw a hook, look at Joe Frazier. He threw all his hooks the same, and changed the position of his feet to throw it at different angles. Of course, he got hit a lot on the way in, but he made it work up to after his first fight with Ali.


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