I keep seeing quotes from boxing trainers that mention "six ways to keep a left jab from landing".

There are six ways to keep a left jab from landing. Six ways. For a left jab to land over and over means that your trainer has been deficient in teaching you how to defend against a left jab. You’ve got six damn ways to keep a left jab from landing! So why can’t you draw upon one of those six ways to not get hit by a left jab?
- Wilbert "Skeeter" McClure, quoted in The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science by Mike Silver

I also read Brendan Ingle referring to these "six ways" somewhere - perhaps Prince of the Ring: The Naseem Hamed Story.

Chuck Marbry:

Admittedly, I certainly was no “world-beater” when I was fighting, but my trainer, Lou Kemp Carangio (who himself had over 240 professional bouts, and held Lou Ambers to a ten round draw in 1932) taught us there are at least six ways to keep your opponent from landing his left jab.
- Source

What are the six ways to keep a left jab from landing?

4 Answers 4


I only know 3:

  1. Slip the punch: push on the front foot and slide on the back foot a bit. While doing this, also shift your weight on to the back foot so the moment your opponent retracts their jab, you immediately push on the back foot and counter with a hard cross. Don't slide too much, otherwise you'll be out of range and unable to counter (which is OK as you've avoided the punch, but you could make him pay for it). DO NOT lean back to avoid the punch as he could follow up with a cross and there would be no way for you to avoid that.
  2. Smack it: with a fast and short downwards motion of your glove, smack the incoming jab so that it gets deflected from your face. It's a really short move; your glove should not travel more than a couple of inches. Then you could counter with a right cross (left cross if you're southpaw).
  3. Smack it (alt version) : Same as 2, but in this case you counter with your own jab.

This is what I was taught and try to do, although it's not always easy. If the opponent throws a lazy jab, these 3 methods are relatively easy to implement. If it's a hard fast jab, I usually try to slip to the side by turning my shoulder in and counter with a right straight or a right hook to the body (if you turn your shoulder in nicely, you can put some decent power in that hook).

  1. Slip & jab with left
  2. Sway & then sway back with a jab with left
  3. Parry down with left & counter jab
  4. Block with right & counter jab
  5. Left jab across the (on top) jab and counter with right
  6. Block with the left holding in front of head and cross to counter

There's a few more variations but these 6 cover the main points.

  • I'm not an expert, but parrying down with front-hand may be VERY dangerous. Jab may be followed with right punch - it would be difficult to rise front-hand back to block. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 11:59

Well, it's defined by an author that there are six ways. Maybe there are four, maybe there are 7. Difficult to interpret.

You can slip left, slip right. You can take a small step back. You can move your head slightly back. You can "roll" with it like Mayweather Jr. The list goes on. You can block if with your lead hand, and jab back. You can block it with your back hand and simultaneously throw a jab back.

It's not absolute. Boxing never is.

  • I know that one of the people quoted said "at least six ways", but I've seen the reference to "six" or "at least six" too many times for it to be a coincidence.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 17:33
  1. Parry /catch on same side
  2. Parry opposite side
  3. Slip outside
  4. Slip inside
  5. Bob/duck/change levels
  6. Step back/rock back
  • Do you have a source to back up your answer?
    – Mike P
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 11:36

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