Technicians like Willie Pep, Wilfredo Benitez, Pernell Whitaker, and Muhammad Ali captured the imagination of fight fans everywhere within their own individual eras and showcased a distinctive and effective brand of defensive guile.
But over the last several decades, fighters from the Northeastern portion of America utilized and mastered an ultra-effective defensive style, which not only eliminates all potential targets for an opponent, but allows the fighter who implements this strategy to stay in position for a hard counter when making their respective opponents miss.
Although many fight fans have dubbed this defensive technique the “Mayweather Shoulder Roll”, it’s largely known within boxing circles as the “Michigan Shell”.
Former Champions from “The Great Lakes State” like Chris Byrd, James Toney, Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Jr., have all mastered this technique and have been able to exploit the great majority of their opposition in their respective primes as a result.
But not every fighter is successful when attempting to employ this defensive strategy.
Three decade fight trainer James Gogue offers this brief tutorial as to why certain fighters aren’t effective when using the “Michigan Shell” defensive technique.
“We’ve seen fighters throughout the sport implement a strategy that utilizes their footwork as the foundation of their defense, which is effective but not always exciting for the fight fans in attendance,” claims the knowledgeable boxing mentor.
Boxing genius and fight trainer James Gogue, center, with a few of his fans
“Fighters like Wladimir Klitschko will merely move out of punching range when an opponent attempts to launch an assault, but they ultimately move out of position to counter effectively.”
“As a result, they can’t take advantage of the times when they make their opponents miss and fall out of position. When using the shoulder roll, like James Toney or Floyd Mayweather, a fighter not only eliminates every potential target, but he keeps himself in position to land a clean, effective counter to the body or head.”
While Gogue examines the specific components when trying to use the defensive strategy, he does admit that it takes a very special fighter to execute it to perfection.
“Not every fighter can implement this technique, because it ultimately depends on the athleticism and reflexes of the prizefighter.
If you don’t possess the ring vision, natural athletic gifts or quick reflexes of a Floyd Mayweather or James Toney, it’s
very difficult to perfect when facing world class opposition.”
“But when performed by fighters who have the natural athletic gifts to execute the technique properly, it’s almost impossible to overcome.”
Check out the attached video, captured by fight scribe Rodney Green, with three decade fight coach James Gogue and undefeated Super Flyweight prospect Oscar Cantu showing the appropriate way to implement the elite level defensive strategy.