Crab Defense

Can someone explain to me the reasoning behind the "crab defense." It's the one with both arms crossed in front of the face that George Foreman, and Archie Moore would use.

What are its advantages? Seems like it keeps you from being able to return fire.

Norton was one of the best users of that defence. Best to watch him.

I thought it was called the old "cross arm" defense? I would guess that the rationale is to deflect clean shots while getting into punching range and/or punching in between your opponents punches.

If you have a guy that is constantly blasting straight punches (to the face) and he is fast enough to land more than you can evade or is getting off before you, you need to do something!!!!

It is also a simple and easily/immediately applicable defense in the sense that you don't need to slip inside, slip outside, bob/weave, etc., when the crab can apply to them all.

The crab shell, is a great cover that can absorb most of what's coming at you (good thing), but at the expense of exposing other targets (possible bad thing) like your body and chin from uppercuts.

It is also a great cover IF your forearms are large enough to capture most of the punches.

As far as returning fire, you shouldn't have any trouble hooking or throwing uppercuts.

Ultimately, try it for yourself. There's no better coach than direct personal experience (other than someone elses....which hurts a LOT less!).

All the best,


We are talking about two arms horizontal. Bar arms.

The one arm up and one arm down is usually referred to as a "Philly Shell".

I'm sure that terms are different from one gym to the next for the same things!

what about micky Ward's forearm defense? He didn't get hit near as much, even Gatti commented on it.

I've experimented with it and its variations. Its essence goes back at least to Mendoza's "hanging defense"--reminds some of a rising block from Eastern MA, although more active.

I personally found it to impair visibility and make it hard to get off my shots without telegraphing. It seems more like a style for counterpunchers (which I am not)--getting your opponent to open up to get around your defense.