Left Hooks: Who Was The Best At It?
Part Three.
2. I’m always amazed when I read or hear Boxing People talk about the greatest Left Hooker in Boxing and never hear the names of Baby Arizmendi, Freddie Steele, Joe Louis, Joe Walcott, and Tony Zale from the 1930’s.
3. What these Men had were great left hooks that can be seen on film. I’m going to focus on a certain type of left hook that doesn’t get as much attention as it should.
4. So if you see film of Freddie Steele fighting Vince Dundee, Gus Lesnivich, and Babe Risko you’ll see him hook inside the right arm of the Opponent into the body which is a beautiful hook.
5. Watch the fight against Vince Dundee and see how Steele sets up his hook to the body and head. He uses straight right hand leads that hurt or distract Dundee then steps in with a left hook to the body or head inside the right arm.
6. You can see him do the same thing to Gus Lesnivich; watch how Steele doubles up the left hook to the head that drops Lesnivich and then see how he follows up his right hand leads with left hooks to the body and head.
7. Freddie Steele was a great technical Boxer who had great balance and you can see how good his left hooks were in those fights. How he set them up with his right hand and how he doubled them to the body and head.
8. Another great Boxer of the early to late thirties was Baby Arizmendi; film is rare but I got to see a clip of his bout with Mike Belloise and in it he walks Belloise down pressuring him in the fight.
9. Belloise is moving away from Baby Arizmendi trying to create space and fight on the outside. Arizmendi gets inside though and works the body and head.
10. My favorite moment In the brief film of their bout is when Arizmendi throws a tight left hook inside of Belloise’s body hitting him to the liver then doubling it up by hooking to the head all inside the right arm of Belloise.
11. I love that short inside left hook. The Boxer keeps his left elbow close to the side of his body and steps in with it punching inside the right arm of the Opponent hitting the body or head and even doing both.
12. Another great Boxer who could do this was Joe Louis who was able to knockout so many men at Heavyweight. His inside fighting was second to none as he was, in my opinion among others, the greatest Finisher in Boxing.
13. Despite the power and accuracy of Joe Louis’s left hook and the diversity in which he used it he rarely ever gets mentioned as one of the greatest Left Hookers in Boxing. Watch how he uses his jab.
14. Joe Louis was the best at hooking off the jab. It didn’t matter if it landed or missed he was just as accurate as landing the hook off a missed jab as he was landing it. This is impressive and yet somehow forgotten.
15. Louis could throw that left hook inside the right arm of his Opponent tearing into the body and even knocking them out with a single punch to the chin. When he doubled it up he usually dropped the Opponent no matter how big they were.
16. Louis used that hook to the body to slow down faster Men freezing up their legs or weakening bigger stronger Men by hooking to their body wearing them down and robbing them of their breath.
17. Another great Left Hooker who doesn’t get enough attention is Jersey Joe Walcott. He was great at moving Opponents into his left hook by drawing them in.
18. He would act like he was moving away from them drawing them forward as they followed him and throw that left hook up under their vision catching them on the chin. He knocked Ezzard Charles out with that punch.
19. Walcott also put Rocky Marciano down at the start of their bout as well but he never gets recognized as one of the greatest Left Hookers the sport ever developed.
20. Lastly of the late 1930’s and early 40’s was Tony Zale who had a great left hook he used inside his Opponent’s right arm. I’ll save that for later as I talk about the great Boxers of the 1940’s into the 50’s.

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