“It was in one lighting instant on the evening of March 8, 1971, that Joe Frazier reached the zenith of his brilliant career, landing his ‘smoking’ left hook on the jaw of the Greatest, whose protective right hand was well out of position at the moment of impact.  Muhammad Ali struggled to his feet and after the mandatory eight-count miraculously pressed on.”

- Peter DePascale 1

Right handed fighters throw left hooks and left handed fighters throw right hooks.  The hook is considered more deadly than a straight shot if thrown properly because it arrives from outside your opponent’s peripheral vision.  Also, since it travels in a curve, it can sneak behind an opponent’s high guard.


The hook is thrown with the arm locked in a 90 degree angle perpendicular to the floor.  The fist can be either turned downwards or with the back of the hand facing the opponent.  (I prefer the latter.)  The locked left arm is thrown across the body while pivoting off of the lead foot.  As with the straight right, and all power shots, the force should originate from the foot.  The hips should be violently twisted to the right (if throwing a left hook), as the punch is delivered.  In Boxer’s Start-Up, Doug Werner says, “…bring the punch to completion by tucking it into [your] chest.” 2  Unlike straight punches that return back to position along the same path that they took when being thrown, the left hand should be pulled back to position using the same momentum that was used to throw it.

In The Boxer’s Workout, DePascale also warns, “Finally, if you’re right-handed, don’t even think about hooking with your right.  Your right hand is too far away from your target and completely visible during delivery.” 1  Throwing a right hook as a right-handed fighter presents several issues.  First, whipping your right hand across your body when the right side of your body is one step back (because of the typical boxing stance) would leave you totally off-balance and more susceptible to getting knocked down than almost any other position you could normally put yourself in.  Second, because it is coming from the rear hand and must take a longer path than a straight-right hand, your opponent has more time to counter.  Finally, throwing a right hook takes away the whole point of why hooks can be devastating punches.  Instead of coming from outside of your opponent’s visual range, the right hook can be seen from beginning to end because of the odd path it must take.

If you need anymore convincing that you need a good left hook for your boxing arsenal, consider Joe Frazier’s thoughts: “The majority of great punches in boxing history probably relied more on the straight right than they did the left hook.  But when thrown correctly, I think the left hook is the most powerful and dangerous punch in the game.” 3  Learn from the left hook master himself and check out his book, Box Like the Pros:

Footnotes:

1. DePascale, Peter. The Boxer’s Workout. New York: Fighting Fit, Inc., 1990.

2. Werner, Doug. Boxer’s Start-Up: A Beginner’s Guide to Boxing. San Diego: Tracks Publishing, 1998.

3. Frazier, Joe. Box Like the Pros. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.

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