Just like in anything else, trends in the sport of boxing can come and go. As we continue to see the sport evolve most of these trends fade only to get replaced with the next, while others catch on and stick around.
Stance-switching has been around for as long as we can remember and there are plenty of reasons why but there has undoubtedly been a rise in young up-and-coming fighters being groomed as stance-switching fighters.
What is Stance-Switching
In the sport of boxing there are two predominant stances, the orthodox stance where your backhand and back foot are your right, and the southpaw stance where your backhand and back foot are your left.
Some fighters despite being right-hand dominant will still choose to fight in the southpaw stance and vice versa because they want their most dextrous hand to be the front hand where they will be throwing the bulk of their punches (jabs and lead hooks).
In contrast, most others will choose to have their dominant hand in the back so they can pack the most power in their shots (overhands and uppercuts).
Advantages Of Stance-Switching
Stance-switching enables fighters to have the best of both worlds because they can choose which way they want to employ their dominant hand giving them more versatility to work with over the course of a fight.
With the ability to switch stances, a fighter can determine which tactic causes the most difficulty for their opponent, allowing them to adjust their strategy and take advantage of any weaknesses.
For example, many orthodox fighters struggle with southpaws because most people are right-hand dominant which means that there are fewer southpaws to train with.
The less you are exposed to a style in training, the less you are prepared to adjust to it during a fight.
Switching stances mid-fight will introduce a wide array of problems for your opponent to deal with which puts them in compromising situations, these situations give the switcher an advantage to exploit and capitalize on.
The Best Stance-Switcher
When it comes to the most notable switchers, old-school boxing heads will reference Marvellous Marvin Hagler.
He was revered for his ability to switch stances by shifting his dominant left foot in ways that allowed him to quickly escape dangerous situations, weaving his way out of the corners or away from a blitzing opponent.
Hagler undoubtedly showed the effectiveness a stance switcher could have but there is one fighter in the modern day who really has provoked a rise in the prevalence of the technique.
With just as much knockout power and dexterity in his right and left hands, Terrence “Bud” Crawford is arguably the best switcher to ever grace a boxing ring.
Crawford has shown the ability to fight entire rounds in one stance, while seamlessly switching to another in the next depending on what gives his opponents the most problems.
Crawford has switched his way to a flawless 39-0 record decorated with many world championship victories.
Because of the astronomical success he has fostered with this technique, we are now seeing future generations being groomed to switch stances at a much higher rate led by a new guard of champion-level switchers like Jaron Ennis and Sunny Edwards.
Should Any Fighter Learn How To Switch?
The best advice any astute trainer would give a young fighter who wants to learn how to switch is to get comfortable with one stance before moving on to the next.
Being a jack of all trades but a master of none is a fast track to mediocrity in boxing.
Be sure you are fully adept with one stance before you add a whole new element to your game with the understanding that attaining the level of proficiency that Hagler or Crawford has achieved is not possible without decades of effort and sacrifice.
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I agree with everything except the last part. You should learn both stances from the very beginning. Otherwise, you will have a much harder time learning the other stance. I train all my people from the very beginning. The only ones who have a problem several months later are those with previous experience training one side only.