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Dec 16th
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Home Boxing INSIDE SCOOP
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INSIDE SCOOP

jim-jeffries-boxerWith more and more big men choosing to scrap their distance strategies, and fight on the inside, I usually join the purists in grimacing.  As a tall man, I know the importance of using your natural size and strengths to their full advantage.  However, height is not the only strength that many tall fighters have, and sometimes, the ability or mentality overrides the visual stature of a fighter.  With certain fighters like Tyson Fury, who may like to fight inside, but are powerless and sloppy when doing so, it is important to remember a few of those big men who excelled at inside game, despite our initial objections.

Jim Jeffries
Yes, I am going back quite a ways here, but at 6'2" over 100 years ago, Jeffries has a height advantage over nearly everyone he fought,  With his pawing left hand, which was also his hardest punch, Jeff could have very easily walloped most opponents from the outside.  However, when he did score those kayoes, it was usually after muscling and frustrating opponets with his strength on the inside.  He fought out of a crouch as well, further negating his height advantage.  In fact his biggest asset was his superior strength, and not his height and reach, therefore he was wise to give it up.  It did ultimately lead to his downfall.  Combating ring rust, age, rapid weight loss, and the best opponent he had ever faced, Jeffries could not outmuscle Jack Johnson, and played right into the champion's better defense.

Riddick Bowe
Again, Bowe's amazing infighting ultimately led to an early demise.  That, combined with his taking on so many tough opponents, tremendous heart, and lousy defense.  At 6'5", with a great jab, Bowe could have made a career of outboxing opponents, and did so on occasion, but it was a rare Bowe fight, when he did not want to rumble on the inside.  His favorite combo, the jab/right uppercut, required him to do so.  Only his close loss to Holyfield in his second fight did this strategy not pay off for him.  It even helped him make opponents very uncomfortable, as judges were swayed in his close fight with Tony Tubbs, and Golota mentally imploded from Bowe's refusal to play it safe.  He was a shot fighter by 29, but what a run it was.

Diego Corrales
True, Corrales was not a big man, but for his divisions, he was quite tall.  Men like John Brown, and Joel Casamayor (2nd fight) were very frustrated by Chico's boxing skills.  However, the Sacramento native had shorter arms than most tall fighters, and therefore had tremendous torque on the inside.  He also possessed the tall, thin fighter's typical one punch power.  Damian Fuller and Jose Luis Castillo (1st fight) fell for this time and again, instinctively crowding the taller fighter, thinking that he would be less powerful inside.  It was certainly not the case, as he scored brutal knockouts over both men.  Like the other two fighters on this list, he was washed up before age 30, but he had several careers-worth of accomplishments and fan-love before that time.

Chris Strait
www.convictedartist.com

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