Southpaw vs Orthodox: Which Is The Best For You?

There are two main boxing stances: orthodox and southpaw. Both boxing stances have their own unique strengths, weaknesses, and successful fighters.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the pros and cons of both the southpaw and orthodox boxing stances. Eventually, you will know what boxing stance is best for you!

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Both Stances in Short

Before diving into the details, here’s a quick overview of both boxing stances.

Southpaw Stance

A southpaw boxer places their right foot and right hand in the forward position with their left hand and foot at the rear. This stance is commonly adopted by left-handed boxers.

Source: Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports

Orthodox Stance

An orthodox boxer does the exact opposite of the southpaw boxer. Their left foot and left hand are in the forward position and their right hand and foot at the rear. This stance is commonly adopted by right-handed boxers.

Source: Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports

How To Choose Your Boxing Stance?

When choosing between the southpaw and orthodox stances the primary factor to consider is your dominant hand and foot.

DOMINANT HANDRECCOMENDED STANCE
RIGHTORTHODOX
LEFTSOUTHPAW
UNIQUE PREFERENCEEXPERIENCE WITH BOTH

Typically, right-handed boxers would adopt the orthodox stance, while left-handed boxers would go for the southpaw stance.

However, some fighters may feel more comfortable in the opposite stance due to their unique body mechanics, footwork, or personal preference.

It is essential to experiment with both stances to determine which one suits you best. But remember, that’s just a rule of thumb.

Real-life case
I advised my friend, who kicks a football with his left foot (indicating a stronger right leg for support), throws a ball with his left hand but punches harder with his right hand, to prioritize the hand with the stronger punch.

In boxing, leveraging your dominant side for powerful crosses, as opposed to jabs, is crucial for knockout potential. Despite the drawback of slower footwork due to reliance on his weaker leg, he solved this by implementing regular boxing footwork drills into his routine.

Advantages of Southpaw Stance

Southpaw fighters enjoy several unique advantages in the ring primarily due to their rarity and the unfamiliarity of their opponents with the southpaw stance.

Some of the key advantages of the southpaw stance include:

1. “Easier” Jabs

Southpaw fighters tend to have stronger and more accurate jabs than their orthodox counterparts.

This is because southpaws are more familiar with the angles and types of punches used by orthodox fighters, making it easier for southpaws to throw sharp, well-calculated lead jabs at their opponents.

2. Better Suited for Exchanges

Southpaws are generally better at returning punches and countering attacks due to their unique stance. Their fighting posture makes it more difficult for orthodox fighters to time their attacks, giving southpaws the upper hand during exchanges.

3. Easier Trap Setting

Southpaw fighters can set up traps against orthodox fighters more effectively. Their unique foot positioning and stance give them the advantage of creating openings and capitalizing on their opponent’s mistakes.

4. Lead Foot Advantage

The southpaw has an advantage in foot positioning, particularly when the orthodox fighter’s footwork is weak. Known as the T-Position, the southpaw aims to be on the outside of the orthodox fighter’s lead foot.

This allows them to throw powerful straight crosses or deliver impactful right hooks to the head or body. Check out the graph below or read Expert Boxing’s article for more details.

Credits: Expert Boxing

5. Increased Comfort in the Ring

Southpaw fighters are often more comfortable and relaxed in the ring, as they have more experience and more accustomed fighting orthodox opponents. This can give them a mental edge during the fight.

Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Advantages of Orthodox Stance

Orthodox fighters also have their unique advantages in the ring. Some of the key benefits of the orthodox stance include:

1. “Familiar” Opponents

Orthodox fighters are more likely to face other orthodox fighters in the ring, giving them a better understanding of their opponents’ movements. This familiarity allows for a more intuitive and anticipatory fighting style.

The chances of predicting the next move of an orthodox boxer is – as an orthodox boxer yourself – much higher than when fighting a southpaw boxer.

2. Access to Coaching

Orthodox fighters generally have easier access to quality training and coaching due to the higher population of right-handed people and therefore, mostly, orthodox boxers.

This can give them an advantage in terms of skill development and preparation for fights. After all, most top coaches like Cus D’Amato or Eddie Futch were orthodox fighters themselves.

3. Liver Punch

The positioning of the orthodox stance brings the fighter closer to their opponent’s right side, making it easier to target the liver. Trying to knock your southpaw opponent out with a liver punch is an effective (and painful!) strategy. Use it in your advantage as an orthodox boxer.

AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac

Limitations of Southpaw and Orthodox Stances

Both southpaw and orthodox boxers face certain limitations. Due to the smaller population of left-handed fighters, southpaws may have a harder time finding quality coaches and sparring partners to train with. This can impact their skill development and preparation for fights.

On the other hand, orthodox fighters may struggle against southpaw opponents due to their unfamiliarity with the stance and unique fighting style. This can put them at a disadvantage during fights and force them to adapt their strategies on the fly.

Famous Southpaw and Orthodox Boxers

Famous southpaw boxers:

  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Vasyl Lomachenko
  • Marvin Hagler
  • Pernell Whitaker.

Famous orthodox boxers:

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Mike Tyson
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr.
  • Canelo Alvarez

The best way to become an expert in your boxing stance is to analyze real life examples. Are you a less taller and more muscular, bulky right handed boxer? Perhaps boxing matches of Mike Tyson will help you improve your boxing skills. Or are you a southpaw fighter with extremely fast en fluent footwork, analyze Vasyl Lomachenko.

Summary

In a head-to-head match between a southpaw and an orthodox fighter the outcome often depends on the skill and experience of the individual fighters. However – as we discussed before – some general trends can be observed:

  1. Southpaw fighters tend to have an advantage in exchanges and counter-attacks due to their unique stance and angles.
  2. Orthodox fighters may struggle against southpaw opponents due to the unfamiliarity of their stance and techniques.
  3. Southpaws are generally more comfortable in the ring against orthodox opponents, as they have more experience fighting against them.
  4. Orthodox fighters may have better access to quality training and coaching, giving them an edge in skill development and preparation for fights.

Southpaw vs Orthodox: Who Wins?

There is something known as the southpaw advantage. Southpaws do have a slight advantage over orthodox boxers.

When two boxers fight in opposite stances (so one orthodox and one southpaw), it’s called an open stance. Boxing in an open stance opens up additional attack options for both boxers. Still, southpaws have a significant advantage over orthodox fighters since they are far more accustomed to it.

Because most boxers fight in an orthodox stance, they constantly train and compete against each other, but the opposite is never the case. In fact, fighting a fellow southpaw is definitely more difficult than fighting an orthodox.

Of course, this advantage does not guarantee that the southpaw will always win. Everything is determined in the boxing ring. There are orthodox boxers, like Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather and Roy Jones, who are fantastic versus southpaw boxers.

Finally, you may excel as both a southpaw and an orthodox. Each boxing stance has famous fighters as well as switch hitters. So the winner is determined by the best overall boxer, not the best boxing stance.

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