Southpaw vs Orthodox: Top Ten Boxing Tricks Pacquiao Uses

by Tom Reynolds on January 4, 2011

Manny Pacquiao is easily one of the best boxers in history.  He is fast, tough, and incredibly smart.  In the article How to Punch like Mike Tyson, we saw a few of the strategies and techniques that Tyson used to be so successful in his early years.

The below ten techniques are showing the recent fight of Pacquiao who is a southpaw against Margarito who has an orthodox stance. Keep in mind that many of these techniques work well if you are fighting someone with the opposite stance.

Also, any of these techniques can be added to MMA with practice. Remember to try these out when sparring, eventually adding kicks, the clinch, and takedowns if your goal is to use this in the cage.

1. Tap Block, Tap Jab

When you watch fights, you’ll notice that almost every match goes through phases of feeling out and phases of aggression. Pacquiao counters soft feeler jabs with a tap block and a stiff jab.

This counter works for any feeler strike whether its a kick or a punch. Block light and counter hard.

2. Right Hook Over Left Jab

You need speed to pull this one off.  This works whenever you are fighting someone with an opposite stance.  In this case, Pacquiao fight southpaw (right foot forward) against Margarito who has an orthodox stance (left foot forward).

Pacquiao slips his head inside of the punch and throws a hook over top of Margarito’s jab.

Be careful with this as your opponent is left with a great opening for his cross. Be prepared to beat him with your own cross or to slip your head out of range.

3. One-Legged Lead Left

This is basically a subtle version of the superman punch.  Pacquiao takes Margarito off guard by using the cross when his back leg isn’t planted.  This gives him more reach, a little more speed, and a little less power for the right.  It can be dangerous because your balance is off momentarily, but it can also slip in to take your opponent off guard.

4. Sneak in a Double-Left

Pacquiao isn’t simply throwing two crosses in a row. There is more going on here than you think.  Especially when fighting against someone with the opposite stance, this technique works well.

Pacquiao uses a cross as he steps to the outside of Margarito’s lead leg. He gets a great angle on Margarito and has a really open target.

5. The Triangle Guard

I’m not a huge fan of this defense, but it can work well against people that favor straight punches.  It can also work against taller, lankier opponents.

Pacquiao puts his first on his forehead so that his elbows are facing his opponent. The jab and cross to the face is nullified. The major issue is that hooks and any punch to the body will connect unless you move out of range.

6. Left Step, Left Cross

If you were to learn one technique to use against someone with a switched stance, this is it.  This counter is all about the footwork.  As Margarito throws his cross, Pacquiao steps to the outside and slips his head outside of the punch.  Once Margarito is commited, he either counters with the cross or a light jab followed by a cross.

7. Vertical Jab

The vertical jab is simply a jab with his thumb facing the ceiling. It is a cross between a jab and a long uppercut.  This punch slips through the hands a little easier and is great to use after combination to get out without being countered.

8. Forearm Defense

It’s easy to develop this ability, but it takes some work with timing. Basically he extends his arm briefly to keep a distance from Margarito and defend against looping punches.

9. Rear Overhand Left

The overhand is a strong punch that is hidden by your head.  There are a lot of people that pull this off well and Pacquiao is one of them. He disguised it by looking down and turning his body so that the punch is almost coming from behind him.  The overhand loops around the guard like a hook, but connects with the power of a cross.

10. Left-High, Left-Low

1-2 (jab, cross) to the head then 1-2 or 1-4 (jab, hook) to the body is one of Pacquiao’s favorite combinations. It works so well because Margarito is forced to cover his face for the initial combo and it’s hard to recover enough to protect the body.

Now checkout the video and give them a shot.  Atleast a few of these techniques will work well added to your current game.

A special thanks to for this video.

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  • Josh

    I just watched this entire fight for the first time and it was very impressive. I really like this post, Eric. Thanks for explaining each of the tricks – this helped me a lot!

  • Hi, I’m Johnny from and just wanted to tell you THANKS for posting the video. Great site you’ve got here.

    • Eric

      Thank you. You’ve got a phenomenal website yourself!

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