The top 10 boxing tricks of Floyd Mayweather

Carlos Cinco
Rappler's boxing contributor Carlos Cinco breaks apart the fighting style of Floyd Mayweather.

POWER PUNCH: Floyd Mayweather Jr. connects with a left to the face of Victor Ortiz during their WBC welterweight title fightin September 2011. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Floyd Mayweather Jr is scheduled to take on Miguel Cotto on May 5, when he will put his 42-0 undefeated record at risk.

Mayweather is highly regarded as one of the best — if not the best — defensive tacticians of this generation.

In the boxing ring, he’s a master of his craft and is seemingly impossible to hit. Mayweather presents a stylistic nightmare for any opponent as seen in his past fights: 42 have stepped up to the plate and have tried to defeat him, yet 42 have failed.

So what is it about Mayweather?

His fighting style consists of perfected, generic techniques, while some of his ‘refined’ boxing skills are easy to miss by the untrained eye.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 boxing tricks of Floyd Mayweather Jr. Watch them here.

1. High elbow block

It’s not a legal boxing move to throw elbows as an attack, but it’s surely legal to use your elbows as a guard. Floyd Mayweather sticks his elbows out very high to block incoming attacks, especially when an opponent gets too close.

Mayweather almost sticks that elbow literally into an opponent’s face. Whenever an opponent successfully rushes Mayweather, he is ineffective because of the high elbow block.

2. Head pull

A fighter should never bring his head down too low, particularly below chest-level, when fighting Mayweather. Floyd Mayweather likes to pull his head down, which prompts the referee to reset the action — much like clinching.

Mayweather will pull his head down and render his opponent ineffective, just when the other fighter is about to launch a counter — which of course, Mayweather then stuffs.

3. Shoulder roll

Perhaps the most famous of all Mayweather’s boxing tricks is the shoulder roll. This technique has been perfected by Floyd via Roger Mayweather, his long-time trainer and uncle.

Mayweather uses his large, broad, left shoulder to parry attacks and as a catalyst to launch his counter right straight. Of course, this is only possible because of Mayweather’s uncanny cat-like reflexes. It’s really a beauty to watch in action and in slow motion.

4. High guard, drop jab

Mayweather rarely puts both gloves up in a high guard but when he does, he likes to use a drop jab to surprise his opponent just in case they get confident enough to try and break the defense.

It almost always lands very accurately which scores heaps of points with the judges.

When an opponent sees both of Mayweather’s gloves up in a high guard, they gain a sense of urgency to launch an attack – which is stopped dead in its tracks with a perfectly timed left jab.

5. Forearm crush

This technique is virtually the same as the high elbow block, except he uses his forearm to push off an opponent. Again, this is still a legal boxing move as the forearm is not used as an attack but rather as a guard.

In the past, it has frustrated opponents, prohibiting them from getting close. Mayweather loves to do this and is frustrating to watch, if rooting for the opposition. After the forearm crush, Mayweather likes to throw combinations when an opponent is caught off balance.

6. Leaning right / pull counter

In this instance, Mayweather likes to wait until an opponent makes the mistake of throwing a punch. He then pulls his head back, which is again possible due to his amazing reflexes, and launches his patented right straight.

Most boxing fanatics call this ‘pot-shotting’ because Mayweather only lands one punch at a time, but it’s a well-calculated and well-timed punch. The pull counter is one of the oldest tricks in the book and Mayweather executes it to perfection.

7. Open guard

Mayweather has a 72-inch reach which provides an advantage for him in almost every situation. When an opponent likes to stay busy and throws a lot of punches, much like Pacquiao does and what Cotto will try to do, Mayweather flails his long arms around to disrupt any flow of offense an opponent is able to mount.

It’s almost like holding in a way, in a sense that Mayweather’s aim is to try and tangle his arms with his opponent’s, which then nullifies any incoming flurries.

8. Push tactics

Another one of Mayweather’s multiple defense mechanisms is actually not a legal boxing move, but is not normally penalized.

Whenever an opponent is able to successfully penetrate Mayweather’s defensive space and gets inside the pocket, Mayweather likes to dangle his arms and push opponents away. It’s not pretty to watch but it’s effective in resetting the fight back at the center of the ring.

Opponents are frustrated when fighting Mayweather because they can never get close enough to do any real damage. Mayweather — through various techniques — always manages to push them away.

9. Head and hooks

Sometimes, Mayweather does let opponents in close — usually when he feels that an opponent’s power is not a threat and his limited skills can do no harm.

When this happens, Mayweather likes to dig his head deep into an opponent’s chest and throw hooks to the body and occasionally to the head. This does some serious damage and scores loads of points with the judges because from this position, punches land accurately and are very powerful.

10. Slap hook on the inside

This last one is this writer’s favorite. Mayweather times an opponent as he tries to rush in, at which point he then throws a check-hook.

It’s a lightning-fast left hook that is unexpected, and comes out of nowhere. 

They say the strongest and most damaging punch in boxing is the left hook (if you’re a right handed fighter) because it’s so compact and full of power. It is also the punch that travels the shortest distance compared to other punches, so it’s easy to throw with speed, and land with conviction.

They also say the punch that you don’t see is the one that knocks you out: Mayweather actually knocked Ricky Hatton out with this very punch. –

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