Terence “Bud” Crawford’s recent victory over Errol Spence has led to him becoming a superstar in the world of professional boxing. A skilled and crafty fighter, Terence Crawford’s understanding of boxing is something any fighter can learn from, regardless of their preferred combat sport. He is one of the few boxers who is proficient in either stance, being able to use his ring IQ to adapt to any of his opponents. Today, Evolve Daily is pleased to share five ways to fight like Terence Crawford.
1) Educated Jab
The jab is a cornerstone to any top-level boxer, and Terence Crawford is no exception. Crawford has a very educated jab; he is able to throw it as a rangefinder, paw with it to create openings, and even land it powerfully enough to hurt an opponent. If this wasn’t enough, Crawford possesses an educated jab from both orthodox and southpaw stances. This makes it very difficult for an opponent to establish their own jab, which stifles the game of most boxers. Even when he faces an opponent who has a skilled jab of their own, his ability to switch stances can take away their jab. One example of this is when he fought Ricky Burns. Burns was landing his jab numerous times on Crawford during round one. Crawford quickly switched to southpaw and took away the angle and opening for the orthodox jab, eventually winning the fight by unanimous decision. During his fight with Errol Spence, Crawford was even able to knock him down using a power jab as Spence closed the gap.
The ability to switch stances opens up a myriad of offensive and defensive options for any boxer. It has been discouraged historically as it takes much more time to learn both stances, as opposed to sticking with one. The advantages a boxer can gain from switching stances range from closing the gap quicker, creating angles for defense or offense, and even adjusting to an opponent taking a dominant angle. Switching stances while punching can also prevent an opponent from adapting to your patterns and counter-punching. One example of this is when Crawford faced Yuriorkis Gamboa, a three-division world champion and an Olympic gold medalist. Gamboa was known for his elusive movement and hand speed, which many opponents had difficulty with. Crawford began to switch stances early in the fight and continued to switch between orthodox and southpaw throughout. In round nine, Crawford caught Gamboa with a devastating right uppercut as Crawford stepped backwards from an orthodox to a southpaw stance. The constant switching prevented Gamboa from using his natural gifts to win this matchup.
When Crawford faced Errol Spence for the title of undisputed welterweight world champion, he chose to fight as a southpaw specifically to throw off Spence’s game plan. Crawford has said that he realized Spence didn’t fight many southpaws and had trouble with the ones he had faced. This change in stance from orthodox to southpaw was one of the factors that allowed Crawford to dominate the entire fight and claim victory. Because there are fewer southpaws, southpaws often have less experience fighting other southpaws, making a closed stance matchup easy to exploit for switch hitters.
One of the hallmarks of Crawford’s boxing style is his spectacular knockouts, a result of his punching power. What makes Crawford even more unique is that he has power in both hands, from both stances. Although not everyone can possess the level of power Crawford has, anyone can train to have power in both hands and from both stances. If you are naturally right-handed, you will need to work on your punching power for your left hand more, and vice versa for anyone left-handed. Shadowboxing can be a great way to do this, but you want to get on the heavy bag or mitts to really hone your potential for punching power. The video above shows Crawford working the heavy bag from both stances.
Terence Crawford is naturally right-handed, but he has trained his left hand to also deliver knockout punching power. One example of this is his fight against Shawn Porter. Although he ended the fight with a right hook, the knockdown before that came from Crawford landing a left uppercut right between Porter’s guard.
Although Crawford is known for his offensive capabilities, his defense is also an integral part of his success in the ring. Crawford deftly uses slips, weaves, shoulder rolls, and pivots combined with agile footwork to dance around his opponents. His head movement is utilized heavily in most of his fights, which also helps him set up devastating counters. Crawford will often slip an opponent’s punch to his right from southpaw, followed by a swift pivot, reminiscent of the legendary Pernell Whitaker. Crawford also makes use of the philly shell defense, even from a southpaw stance. He is able to gauge distance acutely and deflect his opponent’s punches off of his lead shoulder or forearm as he pivots away. This is especially impressive given that even the defensive genius Floyd Mayweather had difficulty implementing the philly shell in an open stance matchup. Crawford’s lowered lead hand from his philly shell also lets him use a flicker jab with an upwards motion, similar to what Tommy Hearns would do to set up his chopping rear hand. The video above showcases many instances of the impressive defensive ability of Terrance Crawford.
5) Fight IQ
Terence Crawford’s best attribute may be his mind. Knowing how to perform defensive maneuvers, footwork patterns, and stance switches doesn’t amount to anything unless you know how to execute them at the moment. Crawford’s high fight IQ allows him to use the right tool for the situation at hand. For example, he gained a tactical advantage over Errol Spence by assessing Spence’s strengths and weaknesses. Once he realized that Spence struggled with dealing with the lead hand of other Southpaw fighters, he used his ability to fight in southpaw as a weapon. As the legendary Cus D’amato once said, boxing is ninety percent mental and only ten percent physical. Methodical, deliberate training of specific techniques with the applications in mind can lead you to developing your own fight IQ.
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