Shame on you if the title of this piece evoked images of “dolled-up” prostitutes parading
their wares up and down the red-light district. If, instead, you pictured Joe Frazier’s lethal power punch that deposited “the greatest” on the seat of his pants in the 15th round of their first meeting in 1971, you’re on the right track.
Although the straight right hand is traditionally known as a power punch, some of the most devastating knockouts have materialized as a result of the hook. The hook connects on the temple or the tip of the chin and snaps the head around. When thrown properly, it’s a beautiful punch to witness. It can be fluid, graceful and reflect the awe-inspiring images of a ballerina’s dance. When thrown improperly, it’s a horrific and almost comical sight that is easily countered.
To throw a proper hook, begin from the basic boxing stance. Dip the right knee slightly and square your hips toward the opponent. Transfer your weight to the ball of your left (front) foot as you begin the pivot and throw the punch. As the pivot is continued, rotate your hips and shoulders from square to sideways toward the opponent. The pivot and rotation in this stage of the punch generates significant power. Once extended, the arm should be parallel to the floor, with the elbow bent at a ninety-degree angle. Be sure to keep your chin “tucked” throughout the punching process. Once the punch is completed, quickly return to the basic boxing stance. Keep in mind that each segment of the punch delivery should be combined into one movement so that it is fluid, and this is only accomplished through practice.
The hook shouldn’t be thrown indiscriminately. Use other punches to set it up so that your distance is correct. You don’t want to throw it from too far out, which dramatically lowers the chance of it connecting and opens you up for a counter. From too close, the punch will likely miss its mark and fall behind your opponent’s head.
Oscar De La Hoya and Joe Frazier are but a few of the boxers that have utilized the hook
effectively. Who can forget Felix Trinidad’s devastating left hook that put Fernando Vargas on his back and changed the course of the fight in the first round of their meeting? What about the tight, almost unnoticeable, left hook by Diego Corrales that dropped Angel Mandfredy? Although the lead, usually weaker, hand initiates the hook, the power that the shifting of weight generates is enormous.
Beautiful, poetic and surgeon-like, the left hook is an elegant weapon that can turn the tide of any match. With the right amount of practice, it can be a devastating addition to your arsenal.