“Use your jab more.”
If you ever trained boxing, oh boy, I am sure you heard that one from your coach and even scolded multiple times for it during your sparring. Those words can be heard repeated like mantra throughout all of the boxing gyms in the world.
But why the jab?
The reason why all the boxing coaches put such an emphasis on the jab is simple—the jab is the most important punch in boxing. In fact, there are many reasons that support this statement. In this article, we will outline the most important ones that explain why the jab is such a crucial punch for boxing and how mastering this punch will help you to become a better boxer.
#1: It is the safest punch to throw
To begin, the jab is the safest punch you can throw. The jabbing hand is the closest hand to your opponent and the jab is the most direct and accessible punch in boxing. Despite that the jab carry less power than your cross or hooks, it is the punch that you’re most likely to land.
Most importantly however, it is the punch that you have to least commit. Specifically, there is no twisting your hips, stepping to your sides, or being off balance. That means you’re in a safer position when throwing the punch and as a result, you decrease the chance of getting hurt all while increase the possibility of hurting your opponent—the sweet science of boxing. Furthermore, another important advantage of this punch is that you can nearly throw it from virtually any position.
#2: The jab sets the bout
The next reason why the jab is such an important punch is that it establishes the way the fight proceeds.
The jab establishes the range and pace of the fight. In particular, the jab allows the taller fighter to keep a distance from his or her opponent and for the shorter fighter, quick jabs set a higher pace that will increase the chance for the fighter to dominate the rest of the rounds. A prime example that illustrates this is Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. 2. One of the most important tactics Joshua used to defeat Ruiz was keeping Ruiz at a distance with his Jab. Jab, jab, double jab and move. Floyd Mayweather also did this in many of his bouts. Hence, when used wisely, the jab can win you a bout.
Important Note: We do not want to be accused of oversimplifying such a complicated fight as Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. 2. There are many reasons why Joshua won, and not all of them are linked to the usage of the jab. Despite this, we still think that the jab played a key role in Joshua’s success.
#3: The jab sets up boxing combinations
Another key aspect of the jab is that it sets up majority of boxing combinations. Despite that the jab itself is not a knockout punch, it allows one to throw a knockout punch.
Knockouts rarely come out of nowhere and certainly they do not exist in the vacuum—there are not many bouts in which you see a single straight hand or an uppercut produced out of thin air that produces a knockout. Namely, the component that precedes all of those knockout punches is indeed the jab. With the jab you can faint, decrease concentration of your opponent, drowse him and then finish the fight with a heavy punch combination.
The Klitschko brothers absolutely mastered this way of fighting. In fact, if you look at their knockouts, the majority of them start from the jab and are proceeded by the straight right-hand and left hook. To illustrate this, check it out here:
#4: The jab can do a lot of damage
One thing that professionals know but majority of beginner boxers don’t, is that the jab can inflict serious damage upon the fighter. Interestingly, many beginners do not throw enough jabs as according to them, the jab cannot “knock someone out”. Such a statement is utterly false for many reasons, and here we will mention the main two.
Firstly, to debunk this myth, check out the bouts of boxing champions like Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev who, with their stiff jabs, put guys down many times in their careers.
Secondly, the jab is indeed a knockout punch, but only when understood properly. Yes, it is hard to knock someone out with one jab, but when thrown accurately for 6 or 7 rounds, jabs are way more damaging than people think. In particular, they close eyes, open cuts, break noses, and contribute to bruises—all of those injures are enough to end a bout. The jab is a long-range weapon, that when thrown throughout the rounds, will contribute to serious damage.
#5: The jab as a probing tool
Last but not least, the jab is especially crucial since it is a “data collecting device” and this description can’t be more truthful than it gets.
The jab can be used as a pair of binoculars to observe and see through your opponent.
That is, it allows you to check how the opponent reacts, whether the opponent is confident or fearful, and to test his/her reflexes. Also, the jab allows you to see the movement of your opponent, open his/her guards, or press onto the mistakes in his/her strategy. While throwing an automatic, simple and straight jab, you have time to look for openings and think about implementing new combos or strategy. The jab is the tool used to think in the sport of boxing. Indeed, when you go to higher levels in boxing, you will observe that the jab will allow you to strategize in the ring and that is absolute key in succeeding at higher levels.
Enjoyed Our Content?
We hope that not only you enjoyed the article but also that we changed the way you think about the jab. In the video below, you can check out some nice jabs, that both were changing the way the fight went or that knocked fighters out.