Boxing is a deceptively complicated sport with a long history. Along with that comes jargon, sport-specific lingo, and a lot of nuances that can be confusing for new viewers that want to get into the sport. But really, most of the concepts you need to understand to enjoy watching a boxing match are very simple, as long as they are properly explained to you first. In this article, I’ll share five (5) of my tips for watching a boxing match.
Image Credit: Joel Muniz
5 Tips For Fight Night
1. Watch The Feet
There are a lot of terms that get thrown around in boxing to describe footwork. “Ring generalship,” “Dancing,” “Cutting off the ring,” but really they all boil down to the same basic concept: whoever is controlling their opponent’s feet is probably winning the match. For example, if you see someone “walking his opponent down” or “stalking,” what that essentially means is that they are controlling the engagement and forcing their opponent out of the center of the ring – and thus, they’re probably winning. On the flip side, if one fighter is “boxing off the back foot” well, they are constantly angling away from their opponent and not allowing them to get into a good punching position. Generally, if you watch a fighter’s feet, you will get an idea of who is in control in the match.
2. Punches Aren’t Equal
The idea here is that some punches are worth more to the judges than others. If one fighter lands ten feathery jabs with no pop or power behind them, and then halfway through the round, the other boxer lands a massive right hand that staggers their opponent, chances are that the judges will notice the latter more (and you will too). Big punches are not technically worth more in the official rules of boxing, but frankly, we all know that the punches that matter are the ones that get noticed. That isn’t to say you can’t win a boxing match by throwing light punches and having a stellar boxing defense, but it's a general unspoken rule that power punches, specifically clean power punches, matter more than zoning punches.
3. The “30-30” Rule
The “30-30” Rule is a boxing strategy that was used by Sugar Ray Leonard in order to cash in on his speed. The basic rule of thumb is that if a fighter can win the first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds of a round, there is a good chance they will win the round on at least one judge’s card. This is because the beginning and the end of a round are what people tend to notice the most. So when you’re watching a fight, keep an especially close eye on fighters during these periods, and you’ll notice you’ll be far more accurate predicting who wins each round.
4. Patterns and Habits
In a fight, you may notice that a boxer keeps throwing the same punches, using the same feints, or using the same methods to avoid damage. One way to enjoy what you may perceive as a boring or predictable match is to start trying to decipher the boxer’s motive for these patterns. Are they trying to lure a certain reaction from their opponent? Is it just raw muscle memory? Could they have an injury they are concealing? When you start looking for these things, it adds a whole new level of intrigue to the match. Plus, picking up on these habits and techniques will help you in your own boxing training.
5. Listen To The Corner
Often when watching a boxing match, the cameras will take you into the corner to hear what the coaches are saying to the fighters. This is a great time to improve your knowledge and your understanding of the strategies used in the match. It is especially fascinating to watch whether a fighter listens to his corner and executes their instructions, or decides on another course of action.
Tune In and Get Inspired
We know – sitting on the sidelines isn’t fun. That’s why we know you’ll want to get in on the action now that you know how to watch a fight! Not only will jumping into boxing training help you with your fitness goals, but it will also give you a better understanding of the sport.
So now you’re ready to train like a fighter, right? Get access to hundreds of boxing, kickboxing, strength, conditioning, recovery, and stretching workouts that will push you mentally and physically. Download the FREE FightCamp App and train with real fighters from the comfort of your own home.