Canelo Alvarez vs Amir Khan: 3 Keys to Victory and Knockout Breakdown

United States Naval Academy’s 2017 Brigade Boxing Championships

Boxing is hard.  It’s even harder when it’s against your best friend.

Why You Need Lateral Movement

Lateral movement is the key to achieving an advantageous position against your opponent!  Besides having an understanding of how to advance and retreat, you must also possess skills in quickly being able to move side to side with lateral movement.

Three Situations You’ll Use Lateral Movement

1.  In response to your opponent’s attack.

In this situation, your opponent is attacking and you want to move to either side so that you are outside of your opponent’s guard.  From this position, you are able to counter attack and your opponent is unable to continue attacking without adjusting his position.

2.  In between your attacks.

After unleashing a flurry, your opponent may cover up behind his guard.  You can take advantage of this moment by stepping to the side and attacking from a position where your opponent may not expect you and is unable to counterattack.

3.  Escaping the Ropes.

In most cases, you don’t want to have your back to the ropes.  Being able to move laterally can allow you to quickly rotate away from the ropes, even if your opponent is attacking.

How to Move Laterally

As usual, you don’t want your feet to cross.

This movement is similar to basketball, where your feet are shoulder width apart and you move by first widening your stance and then closing your stance.  Imagine as if you’re playing defense on a basketball court.

So, if you want to move right, you push off of your left foot.  Your right foot leaves the ground first, and then your left foot follows.  To move to the left, you simply do the opposite.

A Lateral Movement Drill

  1. Get into a ring.
  2. Stand with your back to the ropes and your shoulders squared up to the center of the ring.
  3. Start by circling right.
  4. Keep your guard up.
  5. Push off with your left foot and simultaneously reach to the right with your right foot.
  6. Your right foot should land and then your left foot should follow.
  7. When complete, you should be back in your original position.
  8. Now, make it a continuous movement by circling around the perimeter of the ring with your back to the ropes.
  9. Go around three times, and then change directions to the left.
  10. Do this for 3 two-minute rounds with 30 seconds of rest in between.


While retreating is not exactly the key to winning a fight…it DOES have it’s purposes.  Let’s talk about when retreating makes sense and how it’s done!

When to Retreat

Retreating is the opposite of advancing, and it is defined as moving away or withdrawing from your opponent.  You want to move away from your opponent when you want to open or maintain distance.

There may be times where opening distance makes sense.  You might want to reposition or give yourself a moment to re-think your strategy.  You might even be hurt or dazed and need a moment to recuperate.  In these situations, opening distance might make sense. 

In other situations, you may not necessarily want to open distance, but rather would want to maintain distance.  For instance, you may have established the optimal distance from your opponent where you are most comfortable.  If your opponent advances, you could simultaneously retreat to maintain that cushion.  Again, you might want to do this to give yourself more time.  Or perhaps you are baiting your opponent or creating a rhythm that you will eventually break with a counter-attack.  The point is that you are using a retreat maneuver as a combative technique.

Retreating is not to be confused with surrendering or running.  If you continue to “retreat” throughout the fight, you will eventually take on the perception to your opponent, the crowd, and the judges of surrendering or running.  This will not work favorably for you in regards to a decision.  Additionally, continuous retreating will eventually put you up against the ropes or cage.  Use it sparingly and eventually stand your ground and fight!

How to Retreat

Similar to advancing, you will maintain an “on guard” stance when you retreat.  This is for an optimal center of balance when moving backward.  (Moving backward gives your opponent an advantage.  If he/she lands a strike while you’re moving back, you are more likely to go down!)

From the “on guard” stance, you will push/spring off of your lead foot.  This means that your rear foot will move first, followed by your lead foot. 

Just like advancing, you need to move with a purpose.  Move quickly.  Widen your stance and then narrow your stance back to the “on guard” position.  You should never cross your feet.

A Retreat Drill

  1. Start in your on guard stance.
  2. Push off your lead foot.
  3. Your rear foot should move first.
  4. Your lead foot should move next.
  5. When you step, say aloud, “1, 2.”  “1,2.”  “1,2.”  Each step you take.  (Rear foot =1, Lead foot=2)
  6. Move backward in a straight line.  Retreat ~5 times.  Then pivot (We’ll cover this later.  Just turn around and face the other direction!).
  7. Retreat again in the opposite direction.
  8. Do this for 3 minutes.  Rest 1 minute.  Repeat for 3 rounds.


There are several basic movements in boxing/fighting: advancing, retreating, lateral movement, and pivoting. We’ll start off discussing advancing since it’s the most aggressive movement and we need to have an aggressive frame of mind!

When to Advance

Advancing is used to close the distance to your opponent. It can be used with or without a simultaneous strike. You want to advance when you want to take the offensive.  This allows you to strike or put yourself within striking distance.

When you advance, you are not walking or running to your opponent. You are advancing, which means you maintain your “on guard” stance, while moving in. Also, when you advance you must be prepared to attack and defend. You should be prepared to defend because when advancing, you are susceptible to a counter from your opponent.

How to Advance

Again, you will maintain an “on guard” stance when you advance. This will optimize your center of balance when moving forward and provide you with the best leverage to attack or defend.

From the “on guard” stance, you will push/spring off of your rear foot. This means that your lead foot will move first, followed by your rear foot. This is also why it is so important that your rear foot remain on its toes with a slight bend in the knee. You need to be able to spring forward like a coiled snake (Bruce Lee reference right there!).

When advancing, you need to maintain your guard by keeping your hands high and chin down. This alone will help you defend most counter attacks. In later posts, we’ll discuss alternative/more elusive ways to close the distance. For now, this is the most basic advance.

Move quickly and with a purpose. Your lead foot moves first, followed by your rear foot. You feet should widen, then close back to the traditional “on guard” stance. You should NOT step with your rear foot first or cross your feet. This will obviously place you off balance and increase the likelihood of getting knocked down.

An Advance Drill

1. Start in your “on guard” stance.
2. Push off your rear foot.
3. Your lead foot should move first.
4. Your rear foot should move next.
5. When you step, say aloud, “1, 2.” “1,2.” “1,2.” Each step you take. (Lead foot =1, Rear foot=2)
6. Move forward in a straight line. Advance ~5 times. Then pivot (We’ll cover this later. Just turn around and face the other direction!).
7. Advance again in the opposite direction.
Do this for 3 minutes. Rest 1 minute. Repeat for 3 rounds.

The Food Triad Formula

The last few posts have covered the essential elements of the food triad: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  As a reminder, you want all three elements every time you eat.

How Often to Eat

You need to eat five times per day.  That’s three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and 2 snacks per day (one after lunch and one right before bed).

Also, don’t go more than five hours without eating.  This makes the snack before bed extremely important, assuming you are going to sleep eight hours (which you should!).

The Formula

If you haven’t noticed, the formula we are discussing is the Zone Diet, created by Dr. Barry Sears.  According to the Zone Diet, you must first calculate your how many “blocks” of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you need to eat per meal.

A block of protein is 7 grams, a block of carbohydrates is 9 grams, and  a block of fat is 1.5 grams.  Blocks are used as a simple way to size up the amount of food you need to eat.

In order to calculate how many blocks of each element are recommended for you, you’ll need your weight, body fat %, and activity level.  I recommend you use the calculator found in this link:

This calculator will tell you recommended blocks you need per day and per meal/snack.

Once you have your recommended blocks per meal, use the following link (under meal plans) to get an understanding of how much of each type of food is in one block.

There are countless resources out there on the zone diet.  Simply google “Zone Diet blocks” or “Zone Diet meals” or “Zone Diet foods” to get more details on particular foods.

Your goal now is to eat your recommended amount of blocks of protein, carbs, and fats every meal.  Pretty easy.

Why Follow This Formula?

Ensuring you are eating the right kinds of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, in the right amounts, will help you achieve peak physical fitness and health.  It’s not just about working out.  Your diet is the other half of the equation.

Do you want to be as fit as possible?  Do you want an edge on your competition?  If so, then this is a fantastic way to help you get there.