What Is Southpaw In Boxing: Unveiling the Unorthodox Stance

Kyle Kramer

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Southpaw In Boxing

In the world of boxing, terminology, and techniques can sometimes seem as complex as the sport itself. One such term that often piques curiosity is “southpaw.” 

If you’re new to the boxing world or just looking to deepen your understanding of the sport, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we will unravel the mysteries surrounding the southpaw stance in boxing and provide you with a comprehensive guide to this unorthodox but highly effective fighting style. 

Whether you’re a boxing enthusiast or simply curious about this fascinating sport, read on to find answers to the five most frequently asked questions about southpaw boxing.

What Is Southpaw In Boxing?

In boxing, a southpaw stance refers to a fighter’s positioning with their right hand and right foot forward, which is typically associated with left-handed boxers. In this stance, a southpaw leads with right jabs, followed by a left cross-right hook combination. 

This stance offers a strategic advantage as it can be disorienting for opponents who are more accustomed to facing orthodox fighters with their left hand and left foot forward. Southpaw boxers often use their unorthodox stance to exploit angles, evade attacks, and launch unexpected counterattacks. 

The term “southpaw” originates from baseball, where left-handed pitchers’ arms often face south when on the mound. In boxing, mastering the southpaw stance can be a valuable skill, as it adds diversity and unpredictability to a fighter’s arsenal.

What Is Southpaw Boxing Stance?

A southpaw boxing stance is a position adopted by a boxer where their right hand and right foot are positioned forward, leading with the right side of their body. 

This stance is typically associated with left-handed boxers. In a southpaw stance, the boxer’s left hand is their lead hand, and their right hand is positioned at the back. This is in contrast to the orthodox stance, where the left hand is the lead hand, and the right hand is positioned at the back.

The southpaw stance can provide strategic advantages in boxing as it can be unfamiliar and challenging for opponents who are more accustomed to facing orthodox fighters. 

Southpaw boxers use this stance to create different angles of attack, evade opponents’ punches effectively, and launch surprising counterattacks. It adds diversity and unpredictability to a fighter’s style, making it a valuable skill in the sport.

The Aftermath of Southpaw in Boxing

The aftermath of a southpaw stance in boxing can have various implications and effects on both the boxer using the southpaw stance and their opponent. Here are some key points to consider:

Strategic Advantage

A southpaw boxer can gain a strategic advantage by adopting an unorthodox stance. This can confuse opponents who are more accustomed to facing orthodox fighters, as they are less familiar with the angles and punches that come from a southpaw stance.

Angle Advantage

Southpaw boxers often have an advantage in terms of angles of attack. They can effectively target their opponent’s lead hand (typically the left hand of an orthodox fighter), making it harder for their opponent to defend against punches from unexpected angles.

Defensive Challenges

Boxers facing a southpaw opponent may find it challenging to adapt to the different angles and punches coming from the opposite side. This can lead to difficulties in defending against punches and effectively countering the southpaw’s attacks.

Strategic Adjustments

After facing a southpaw, fighters may need to make strategic adjustments in their training and tactics to prepare for future southpaw opponents. This can include sparring with southpaw partners and developing strategies to counter the southpaw stance.

Enhanced Versatility

Southpaw boxers often have the advantage of being versatile. They can switch between orthodox and southpaw stances, keeping their opponents guessing and adapting to different situations during a fight.

Potential for Unpredictability

The aftermath of a southpaw stance can create an element of unpredictability in a fight. Southpaw boxers may use this to their advantage, making it harder for opponents to anticipate their movements and punches.

The aftermath of a southpaw stance in boxing involves both strategic advantages for the southpaw boxer and challenges for their opponent. It can lead to adjustments in training and tactics, as well as a greater emphasis on adaptability and versatility in the sport.

Advantages of Fighting Southpaw

Advantages of Fighting Southpaw

Fighting from a southpaw stance in boxing can provide several advantages for the boxer. These advantages stem from the unorthodox nature of the stance and the different angles of attack it offers. Here are some key advantages of fighting southpaw:

Surprise Element

Southpaw boxers are less common than orthodox boxers, so opponents may be less familiar with facing a southpaw. This element of surprise can catch opponents off guard, making it harder for them to anticipate punches and defensive maneuvers.

Angle Advantage

Southpaw boxers have a unique angle of attack. Their right jab can effectively target their opponent’s lead hand (typically the left hand of an orthodox fighter), disrupting their opponent’s offense and making it challenging to defend against punches coming from an unusual angle.

Footwork and Movement

Southpaw fighters often excel in lateral movement and circling away from their opponent’s power hand (the right hand of an orthodox fighter). This can help them avoid punches and create openings for counterattacks.

Awkwardness for Opponents

Fighting a southpaw can feel awkward for orthodox boxers. They may struggle to establish their rhythm and range against a southpaw opponent, which can lead to frustration and mistakes.

Counterpunching Opportunities

Southpaw boxers can exploit the openings that orthodox fighters present when they try to attack a southpaw. This can lead to effective counterpunching opportunities, as opponents may leave themselves vulnerable when trying to land punches.


Many southpaw boxers are skilled at switching between orthodox and southpaw stances during a fight. This versatility adds an extra layer of complexity for opponents, as they must adapt to different stances and strategies.

Strategic Advantage

Southpaw fighters can strategically control the center of the ring and dictate the pace of the fight, using their stance to keep opponents on the outside and at a distance.

Defensive Challenges for Opponents

Southpaw boxers often present defensive challenges for orthodox opponents due to their different punching angles. This can make it harder for opponents to land clean punches.

Variety of Punching Combinations

Southpaw fighters have a different arsenal of punching combinations, which can include powerful left crosses and right hooks. These punches can be difficult for opponents to predict and defend against.

The advantages of fighting from a southpaw stance in boxing include surprising opponents, exploiting unique angles of attack, and creating challenges for opponents who are more accustomed to facing orthodox fighters. 

Southpaw boxers often use these advantages to control the tempo of a fight and create opportunities for both offense and defense.

Disadvantages of Fighting Southpaw

While fighting from a southpaw stance in boxing offers several advantages, it also comes with its share of disadvantages and challenges, especially when facing orthodox opponents. Here are some of the disadvantages of fighting southpaw:

Limited Opponent Familiarity

Southpaw fighters are less common, so they may have less experience facing orthodox opponents. This can result in a lack of familiarity with the strategies and tendencies of orthodox boxers.

Vulnerability to Right Hands

Southpaw fighters are more exposed to their opponent’s power hand (typically the right hand of an orthodox fighter). This can make them more vulnerable to right hooks and straight right punches, which can be damaging if not adequately defended.

Footwork and Defensive Adjustments

Southpaw boxers often need to make significant adjustments to their footwork and defense when facing orthodox opponents. They may find it challenging to circle away from their opponent’s power hand and must adapt their movement accordingly.

Orthodox Opponent’s Familiarity

Orthodox boxers are generally more accustomed to facing southpaw opponents than the other way around. They may have developed specific strategies and techniques to deal with southpaw stances, minimizing the element of surprise.

Reduced Right-Hand Power

Southpaw fighters primarily rely on their left hand for power punches. This can make their right hand less powerful, which may limit their offensive options and make them somewhat predictable.

Sparring Partners

Finding suitable sparring partners who can mimic the style and stance of orthodox opponents can be challenging for Southpaw boxers, which can hinder their preparation for fights.


While some southpaw fighters can switch between stances, not all are equally proficient at it. Limited adaptability can become a disadvantage if the opponent successfully exploits weaknesses in the less dominant stance.

Judging and Scoring

Judges may have biases or preferences when scoring rounds involving southpaw fighters, potentially affecting the outcome of close fights.

The disadvantages of fighting from a southpaw stance in boxing include vulnerability to right-hand punches, the need for adjustments when facing orthodox opponents, and the potential for opponents to be more familiar with their style. 

Overcoming these disadvantages often requires dedicated training, adaptability, and a solid understanding of both stances to compete effectively at a high level.

Best Southpaw Boxer of All Time: At A Glance

Here’s a table of the best Southpaw boxers of all time, along with essential details about each boxer:




Weight Class

Professional Record

Notable Achievements


Marvin Hagler



62-3-2 (52 KOs)

Undisputed Middleweight Champion, 12 Successful Title Defenses


Pernell Whitaker


Lightweight, Welterweight

40-4-1 (17 KOs)

4-Weight World Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist, Defensive Genius


Manny Pacquiao


Flyweight to Welterweight

62-7-2 (39 KOs)

8-Division World Champion, Fighter of the Decade (2000s)


Vicente Saldivar



37-3 (26 KOs)

3-Time World Champion, Dominant Featherweight


Hector Camacho

Puerto Rico

Super Featherweight to Jr. Middleweight

79-6-3 (38 KOs)

3-Division World Champion, Flamboyant Style


Tiger Flowers



115-14-6 (41 KOs)

Undisputed Middleweight Champion, Hall of Famer


Young Corbett III



125-12-22 (32 KOs)

Welterweight Champion, Boxing Legend


Joe Calzaghe


Super Middleweight, Light Heavyweight

46-0 (32 KOs)

Undefeated Career, Long-reigning Super Middleweight Champion


Gabriel Elorde


Super Featherweight, Lightweight

88-27-2 (33 KOs)

Longest-reigning Super Featherweight Champion, Boxing Icon


Sergio Martinez


Middleweight, Light Middleweight

51-3-2 (28 KOs)

Lineal Middleweight Champion, Exciting Fighting Style


What Is a Southpaw Stance in Boxing?

In boxing and some other combat sports, the term “southpaw” refers to a fighter’s stance where they have their right hand and right foot forward, as opposed to the more common orthodox stance, where the left hand and left foot lead.

Why Is It Called ‘Southpaw’?

The term “southpaw” has its origins in baseball, where left-handed pitchers’ arms would often face south when on the mound. In boxing, it was adopted to describe fighters who use the left hand as their lead hand.

What Are the Advantages of Fighting Southpaw?

Southpaw fighters have several strategic advantages, such as the element of surprise, unique angles of attack, and the ability to disrupt their opponent’s offense by targeting their lead hand. We’ll delve deeper into these advantages in this post.

Are There Any Disadvantages to the Southpaw Stance?

While there are clear benefits to fighting southpaw, it also comes with its share of challenges, including vulnerability to right-hand punches and the need for adaptability when facing orthodox opponents. We’ll explore these disadvantages as well.

How Can I Train for Southpaw Boxing?

If you’re considering adopting the southpaw stance or want to prepare for facing southpaw opponents, we’ll provide tips and training strategies to help you become proficient in this unorthodox style.

Wrapping Up

In the world of boxing, the southpaw stance remains a captivating enigma, offering both advantages and challenges that continue to shape the sport’s dynamics. 

Understanding what makes a southpaw boxer unique, the historical origins of the term, and the strategic nuances involved in this unorthodox style opens up a fascinating realm of possibilities for fighters and fans alike.

Whether you’re an aspiring Southpaw fighter or an enthusiast seeking deeper insight into the sweet science, this exploration of Southpaw boxing has shed light on the mysteries surrounding this distinctive art form. 

Armed with knowledge, you’re now better equipped to appreciate the artistry and strategy that unfold within the squared circle when southpaws step into the spotlight.

Thank you for your time.

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Kyle Kramer

I am a personal trainer and boxing expert of Deleware county. I have been in the fitness industry for more than 10 years. I specialize in weight loss, boxing, and nutrition coaching. I am currently working as a Personal Trainer & Boxing Expert of Delaware County, Philadelphia. LinkedIn

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