Pro-Style As an Amateur

When I first started boxing, I had a textbook on amateur stance and style; hands high, left hand about six inches away from the chin, fairly upright stance and active defense with a focus on 'cover and counter' type rhythm. It was long before my coach pulled me aside and said that this was not going to work. He had me pull my hands to my chin, square up just a bit and start working on my head movement with immediate counters and punching while the opponent was punching. Did he know that I loved Mike Tyson !? Who knows, I'm sure I gave it away somewhere in my training. This 'new' Peekaboo style took me to a new level in the gym. I felt like I had a style all my own (of course this was not true), I imagined I was Mike Tyson, slipping and countering, and knocking guys out!

Style is one thing, ability is another, and the ability to execute your style is even another thing. It did not take long for me to realize that I did not have the punching power of Mike Tyson, most guys don't, even the pros. After many beat downs in the first 6 months at the gym I started to get into my rhythm and style, and in my first fight I was like a white Mike Tyson, I bobbed and weaved and came ahead with heavy blows. It was all glory, I was gassed by the end of the second round from all the aggression. I won that fight, mostly from solid defense and the ability to land clean shots when it was my turn to throw, I didn't knock my opponent out and it was the Mike Tyson-esque performance I imagined. Which brings me to the purpose of this post, a reader writes in:

… I also noticed at the amateur level, everyone learns to box the traditional way. However, I really like the unpredictability of Floyd Mayweather's style, or the ambush style of Sergio Martinez. I believe much of their success has more to do with their unorthodox style than just there natural ability.

What are your thoughts on fighting like the above-mentioned fighters … Sergio and Roy Jones Jr. often drop their hands, yet it seems to work for them. I don't have amazing quickness, but would certain drills or repetition help me achieve similar working styles at the amateur level? "

There are a couple things you should keep in mind with any kind of style:

1) Your style is how you put each piece of your boxing repertoire together in action. To keep it basic, one guy likes to catch the jab and counter, the other guy likes to slip the jab and counter. This is the beginning of style. Boxing is about position, technique, patterns and rhythm. You can emulate Roy Jones or Mayweather, but you will always be you with your own style, this can be good or bad. Take what …