Roy Jones Jr. was one of the most gifted fighters to ever enter the ring. Cut from the same clothe as Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and Sugar Ray Leonard, Jones utilized complex footwork and insane hand speed to outmaneuver and outperform his opponents.
Jones would suddenly switch between patient and subtle footwork to aggressive flurries and risky one punch knockouts.
And perhaps there is no punch more risky in the history of boxing than the one you see Jones throwing here.. Arms wide open, chin forward, charging towards his opponent. A punch I like to call the Dive Bomb.
The danger for Jones when throwing this punch goes beyond simply leaving his hands low. He is not only completely exposing himself, he is taking away his ability to quickly block or parry, and leading with his chin.
By all rational, this punch shouldn’t work. Even with Jones amazing speed and natural talent, this technique was insanely risky. But against all odds, Jones used this it to score several knockdowns.
So how did he pull this off, and why did it work so well?
The answer has to do with Jones primary weapon, his leading right hand.
Jones used his rear hand the way most other fighters use their jab. It was his primary way to keep distance, wear down opponents, and set up combinations. At the same time, this “jab” contained knock out power.
In the same way Ali used his circling jab to get quickly score and then get out of range before his opponent could counter, Jones would throw his cross to enter and then leave by a completely different angle.
Jones most common technique was to throw his cross while switch stepping into an open, or even southpaw, stance. He would then escape by shuffling out to either side.
In this clip jones land with his right hand as he switch steps to a more neutral stance, and then shuffles out to the inside to change the angle, avoiding a counter.
Here we see Jones connect with a cross, and then step back into southpaw to avoid a left hook counter. This is essentially a shifting shoulder roll.
Jones could also pivot off his lead foot as he threw his cross to create a different angle of attack and escape. It kept his opponent guessing and was particularly useful against southpaws.
Using these techniques, Jones combined his attack and retreat into one seamless movement.
This is similar to the multi-stanced style used by Mike Tyson, but whereas Tyson used to go toe to toe with his competitors and angled off to create openings, Jones would change angles to evade counters and reposition himself at long range.
That being said, Jones was also able to use his leading rear hand to chase after his opponents and set up combinations.
His switch step allowed him to easily shift forward and chase after his opponent in southpaw.
Jones right hand was extremely versatile and contained knockout power.
This left his opponents over reactive to any movement from his right hand, and it was this fear that allowed Jones to throw his dive bomb.
Watch how Jones prepares his right hand to land. He wings his right arm, lowers his left, slips to the side and put most of his weight onto his lead leg.
Once he got his opponent wary of this setup, Jones would perform the same motion, but instead throw both arms out wide, shuffle forward and connect with his left as a hook or an uppercut.
Focusing hard on his right hand, his opponents would often block the wrong side.
Here Jones spreads both arms out wide, and his opponent guesses that a right hand is coming, and covers up his left side. Instead, Jones knocks him out with a lightning fast left hook to the head.
Jones punches were hard enough to predict in the first place, as they often began by his waist and looped around in entirely new directions, much like Canelo does today.
Add on another hand, and it’s easy to see why his opponents had such a hard time predicting what was coming.
The most impressive aspect of watching Jones in his prime was his creativity. Many fighters are fast and many fighters have great reflexes, but Jones used his in a way that’s truly astounding to watch.
While I normally encourage practicing the techniques broken down and then trying it out in sparring, I would definitely advice against it in this case, unless you have the same level of ridiculous speed of Jones. The only thing I can think of more dangerous than the dive bomb would be trying to knock someone out with both hands behind your back.
From the Modern Martial Artist, this has been David Christian, wishing you, happy training.