Switch-Hitter Fixture: Miguel Cotto and David Haye - Plus Conclusive blows on Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr and more!
By JD Camacho (Nov 6, 2009) DoghouseBoxing  
Quality switch-hitting in baseball, where a player bats right-handed against left-handed pitchers and left-handed against right-handed pitchers, is a rare sight. Even rarer, though, is quality switch-hitting in boxing. A quality switch-hitter in boxing can employ seamless stance-shifts, from southpaw to orthodox and back again, to gain tactical advantages over their opponents.

Like in baseball, too, the actual boxing benefits of switch-hitting are debatable.

Recently, welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto and heavyweight contender David Haye were seen preparing for the biggest fights of their respective careers by switch-hitting during their open workout sessions. Cotto has switch-hit throughout his career, but Haye has never switched out of his orthodox stance regularly in any of his twenty-three professional bouts. How much of an advantage can it be?

Some fighters can use these shifts in an effective manner. Shane Mosley switch-hit liberally earlier in his career, where stance shifts were just one cog in his dynamic lightweight machine. Even in his latest fight against Antonio Margarito, Mosley stunned Margarito by switch-hitting from an orthodox right uppercut to a southpaw cross. The cross led to a knockdown and an eventual stoppage.

For others, switch-hitting proves more showy than successful. Mosley’s business partner Oscar De La Hoya switch-hit against then pound-for-pound king Pernell Whitaker to embarrassing effect. De La Hoya’s poor balance out of his unnatural southpaw stance contributed to an official knockdown scored against him. De La Hoya abandoned switch-hitting for much of his career afterwards.

Former Olympians and Super Six contenders Andre Dirrell and Andre Ward have also switch-hit in many of their fights, with mixed results. And perhaps the poster-children for switch-hitting are the Brendan Ingle-trained Naseem Hamed and Junior Witter. Each fighter changes stances so often that they defy a label. While their odd styles appear to confuse opponents, the heavy use of switch-hitting seems to also highlight their opponent’s blows. Whether because of poor balance or something else, Hamed and Witter both appear to flail much more often when hit.

So if switch-hitting is on their minds, both Haye and Cotto enter the most significant prizefights of their careers with all the pros and cons of an uncommon ability. Potential mystery and dynamism accompany the possibility of reduced stability and resistance. And if stability and resistance are the suffering factors, Haye should pay closer attention than Cotto.


-RA the Rugged Man ripped Floyd Mayweather apart. Tore him limb from limb. He’s like Brian Kenny without a leash…
Manny Pacquiao was on Jimmy Kimmel the other night, where he serenaded the crown with one of his trademark songs. I’ve never seen fans cheer on such an underwhelming performance since the last Hatton fight…
-So Paul Williams will fight Sergio Martinez in December. If anyone thinks Williams will have trouble with Martinez because he had trouble with southpaw Carlos Quintana, they must have forgot Williams’ whitewash of Winky Wright earlier this year…
-If Chad Dawson can avoid Glen Johnson’s strength inside, he should come out with the victory. Glen’s a crazy old codger, though, and he nearly taught the upstart whippersnapper a lesson last time. Should be a good one…

JD at: jdcamachorj@gmail.com

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