Southpaw is an exciting combat sport to watch. The sport has attracted many fans and thrilled them for years.
If you are a Southpaw fan, you will agree that there are some differences compared to other combat sports. During a match, you will see the fighters moving around the ring strangely, and all the usual patterns you get to see in other fights seem to not be there. At times, you might also see a Southpaw fighter getting confused by the unusual positions of the opponent.
But a great Southpaw fighter is superior, he/she can easily figure out the opponent’s position.
When it comes to a Southpaw stance, the first thing that comes to the focus is the boxer’s ‘paws’. You do not get to see what you observe commonly—fighters keeping their right hands back, and left hands forward—they use their right hands for power punches and left hands for quick jabs. In a Southpaw match, you get to see just the opposite.
Southpaw fighters use their right hand to jab and left hand to punch. Left-handers with strong left arms will make good Southpaw fighters. But, not all Southpaw fighters are left-handers. And right-arm fighters can also be good at Southpaw fights.
Apart from the placement of the hands, foot positions are very important and they make a huge difference.
In a traditional boxing fight, boxers do not fight standing face-to-face. They position themselves sideways, keeping one foot in front of the other. Usually, they put their left foot forward and transfer their weight on their back foot.
But you will get to see a different picture in a Southpaw match. You will see the fighters’ lead feet on the same side. As such, if any of the fighters steps forward on the jabbing side, there arises the possibility of running into the other fighter’s lead foot.
In a Southpaw fight, the footwork is as important as the fighters’ physical strength.
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Advantages of a Southpaw Fighter
Akin to any other sportsperson, a Southpaw fighter gets the following advantages:
Usually, Southpaw fighters are rare opponents, so they are not used to fighting with one another. The unfamiliarity poses a great advantage for them as they cannot figure out each other’s tactics.
The unfamiliarity is a great psychological gain for the fighters. And the fact remains that a slight unfamiliarity can bring big consequences.
Jab Positioning and Punching Distance:
Apart from the mental advantage, arising from unfamiliarity, Southpaw fighters can find it a bit tough to hit each other either with jabs or power punches.
Jabs become difficult because their guards—their right hands—are on the same side as their lead hands. As such, they can easily block a jab as their lead hands are already in position.
When it comes to power punches, the distance due to the lead legs stacking on top of each other, instead of moving side by side, necessitates punches to move somewhat further to make contact with the opponent. So, punching becomes a bit difficult.
Disadvantages of a Southpaw Fighter
Along with the advantages, there are a few disadvantages of being a Southpaw fighter, such as:
As it is a bit challenging for Southpaw fighters to land a jab on the opponent due to advantageous positions of their lead hands, they need tremendous speed and strength to tackle the challenge.
The position of the fighters’ feet also poses a problem. As the lead feet of both the fighters get lined up, there could be a tendency to fall, especially if they place their other feet inside.
Moreover, an outside foot placement gets a fighter away from the opponent’s center and that makes him/her harder to hit.
During a fight to get an outside foot placement, the loser can fall while trying to get back to the outside. It is a kind of disadvantage.
Top Southpaw fighters
There are many top-rated Southpaw fighters, but we have mentioned only some of them:
- Conor McGregor
- Anderson Silva
- Demian Maia
- Nick Diaz
- Vitor Belfort
- Lyoto Machida
- Israel Adesanya
Southpaw fighters have advantages and disadvantages, akin to any sportsperson of any discipline. The best thing for them to do is to explore ways to minimize the disadvantages and maximize the advantages. You will certainly agree that Southpaw is an exciting combat sport despite a few disadvantages.