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Jab – right uppercut – left hook is a well known combination used by fighters before and after Mike Tyson, e.g. Sugar Ray Leonard and Lennox Luwis. This already answers our usual question:
Peekaboo or not?
No, this combination is not genuinely peek-a-boo. Ray Leonard threw this combo 2-3 times per round in the bout against Wilfredo Benitez. This rate of throwing a three punch combo is uncommonly frequent in the classic style because the fighters work mostly with jabs and rarely with one-two’s when one hundred percent have confidence in their own safety. Below is a rare example of shadow boxing jab – right uppercut – left hook by Sugar Ray Robinson:
Developing the Technique
For the sake of learning, we consider the use of this combination by parts: either jab – right uppercut or right uppercut – left hook.
Jab – right uppercut
Below is an example of Mike Tyson working on this combination during mitt work, heavy bag workout, sparring, and fighting:
To be fair, what shown in the right top example of the above clip, is not 100% heavy bag workout of this combo. We believe it is more related to another combo we will discuss. Anyway, one reason why this combo is not often seen is because the design of conventional vertically hanged heavy bags makes it unsuitable for developing rear hand uppercuts to the head. Instead, you must practice it on mitts or in sparring.
Right uppercut – left hook
In short range, a right uppercut to the head is used to lift the opponent’s chin up and set it up for a left hook. Below is an example of Mike Tyson working on this combination during shadow boxing, mitt work, amateur and pro fighting:
When staying close to the opponent squared up, head to shoulder, there is no room for an uppercut. You should either lean body or make a step to the side to position the line of fire properly. The above example illustrates the stepping to the side technique.
Applying in Fighting
There are few difficulties here. Usually, you need to reduce the distance from the long range to the middle or even the short range, because unlike straight or overhand right hand punches, right (rear hand) uppercut is for the middle or short range. Moreover, before throwing the right uppercut, the weight must be under the right foot. Therefore, there are, generally, two possibilities. First, you throw the standard hard jab and, if you are having enough time, drag the right (rear) foot forward and place it right under you, then proceed with the right uppercut. Second, you feint the jab by extending the left arm forward while advancing both feet forward jump-sliding along the ground, so the weight distribution stays on the right (rear) leg or shifts there after the slide.
As examples below show, in each case, what you are looking for is the slip to the inside or the the outside, so that the opponent moves his head low – where he can eat the uppercut. This is why the combination is not in used without preparation. First you need to test your opponent how he evades punches. To do this, simply use the jab to the head and one-two. If you notice that your opponent is already responding to jab with a dip or bending foreword (slip inside or outside), this means he is anticipating the right hand punch to the head. Now it is possible to proceed trying to catch him with an uppercut instead of the right hand punch.
Another problem is the danger when throwing the right (rear hand) uppercut to be exposed to the left hook as happens to Mike Tyson in the top right and bottom right clips in the example above. Therefore, you shall always be alert to roll under the left hook and throw your own left hook only when in safe position.
All relevant References on Mike Tyson’s training and fighting, and the Peek-a-boo style by Cus D’Amato in one place.