Saturday, July 4, 2009
My first role model in standup sparring was a black belt named Terry from my school. I learned a lot of things from Terry, but one thing I shouldn't have emulated was how close he got to his opponents in sparring. Terry would get in close and use tight hook punches.
That suited his size and style, but not mine.
There's a boxer I sometimes now think of in sparring named Paul Williams (in the photo above he's punching Winky Wright). Williams has the reach of a heavyweight but has fought at weights as low as 147 pounds. What I've noticed about him--it's somewhat visible in this photo---is that when he is throwing a flurry of punches, including hooks or uppercuts, he's using his reach still. (Also notice how he's keeping his left hand in position, protecting his face, as he punches with his right!)
Punching at the outside of your range makes for more power. It prevents opponents with less reach from clinching and ending your advantage. And of course it makes it harder for the opponent to reach you if he has less reach.
Oh, and Happy Fourth of July!