Re: Side stepping
It's a precautionary move, and one of the basic drills that Roach puts his fighters through. It'd help to work this out on the pads first, perhaps you'd want to practice ducking the hook to get used to getting low and then go from there. Even though you're tall, you can always slip to the right of their jab and then pivot to the side thus taking their left hook out of the equation.
Willie Pep had no problem with getting to the side of his opponents. Taking from his bag if tricks, here's one thing that you can do if your opponent's hands are up in a peek-a-boo guard and your punches can't get through (Which happens when an opponent feels like doing a rope-a-dope). Side-step forward to the right of your opponent and then follow up with a left hook or uppercut. This gets you out of their line of fire and opens up a pipeline through their guard. Don't just slap the left like Willie. If you're in that favorable position, you can score a double whammy by dragging an uppercut up from their solar-plexus to their chin. Hell, you might even be able to land multiple left hands on them since you're catching them by surprise.
Another move is to spin your opponent, it's a subtle move that's done by moving to the side of your opponent and giving them a little pull behind their left elbow, thereby enabling you to get to the side, or even behind your opponent. Keep the ref in mind as it's not allowed in the amateurs, and even in the pros it can depend on the ref. It's worth getting down in sparring, but in a match you may have to wait for the ref to get out of position before doing it.
Anyways there's also the side-step, not to be confused with a simple step to the side. It's an old move that you'll see a lot in the old boxing manuals. To start, step forward to the right with your right foot without moving your left foot. You have to throw your weight to the right, letting gravity accomplish this move, thereby just barely slipping their jab. You then push off your right foot and throw the right cross over their extended left arm. Shift your weight onto your left leg, accelerating your body weight by turning on your right foot, and pulling your left shoulder back, using your left leg as hinge. Don't forget to turn your right hand over. This can be a knockout!
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