Feints are one of the most understated aspects of boxing. Savvy boxers are all too familiar with how useful these deceptive movements are inside the ring, but novice boxers often neglect using them. A “feint” is a deceptive movement or strike during a fight. It shows your opponent an intention to do something, while you have something else in mind.
Feints create openings in your opponent’s defense and allow you to outbox more skilled or faster fighters. Feinting properly during a fight keeps your opponent in a constant state of worry. It’s a significant part of the chess match that takes place when two skilled boxers share a ring.
Not throwing any feints during your fights makes it easier for opponents to predict your next move and counter you with hard shots. They can react every time you start a motion since they know that’s your true intention. Feinting creates doubts in their mind. It makes them second-guess any tells they see inside the ring, wondering if it’s your true intention or just part of the game you’re playing.
All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
While this little nugget of information might seem more appropriate for a large-scale war, it applies to boxing just as well, since boxing is just a micro version of warfare. It’s hand-to-hand combat between two opposite sides. You want your opponent to think you’re out of punching range when you’re close enough to hit them so they do something silly like drop their hands. You want your opponent to think you’re still fresh even if you’re feeling fatigued.
A feint is a lot more than simply flicking your boxing glove at an opponent and pretending to do something. You’ll need to understand the essence of boxing movements to fool your opponent into thinking one thing, while you’re planning something else.
Examples of the types of feints used in boxing include:
- Pretending to throw a punch without throwing it
- Pretending to target an opponent’s body while going for the head
- Pretending to move one way, while going in another direction
Five Feint Combinations That Will Catch Your Opponents Off Guard
Now that we’ve gone over the importance of feints, let’s take a look at some awesome feint combinations that are highly effective against opponents of all skill levels.
Here’s an extremely easy feint that can work on anyone regardless of their skill level. “Sugar” Shane Mosley landed the cleanest punch ever landed on Floyd Mayweather when he threw the combination during the second round of their title showdown.
The key to making this technique work for you is to throw a punch at the air right in front of your opponent’s chest. You know you’re aiming for air, but they think you’re aiming for their chest, forcing them to bring their guard down just a little low to defend against your feint. That leaves them open to an overhand.
2) Jab To The Body, Lead Hook
Here’s an advanced combination that can be extremely effective when done properly. Feinting isn’t just about pretending to throw a punch and throwing something else. You can also feint with real punches that are thrown without any serious commitment. These feints should be thrown solely focused on speed since the punch coming behind it is your real intention.
Throw a fast jab at your opponent’s body and follow up with a hard lead hook to the head. When done properly, the jab will fool your opponent into thinking you’re going for another body shot, leaving their head wide open for your hook.
3) Lead Hook To The Body, Lead Hook To The Body Feint, Cross
Here’s another effective combination that opens up your real target by getting your opponent to protect their body while you’re really aiming for their face. The combination starts with a hard lead hook to the body that gets your opponent to lower their guard. The key is to make the opening lead hook to the body count. The more it hurts your opponent, the more likely they will overreact to your feint.
Follow up the hard hook to the body with a feint to the body, while coming up top with a hard cross.
4) Jab Feint, Lead Hook
This combination works best after you’ve successfully landed a few jab-cross combinations. Your opponent will eventually catch on, which opens them up to your real intention. You throw a jab feint, which gets your opponent to expect a follow-up cross, but instead of doing that, you hit them with a lead hook.
The fact your opponent is expecting you to follow up with a straight punch means their hands will most likely be in front of their face, instead of at the sides of their head to protect them against looping punches. Even better, your opponent might extend their rear hand even further in an attempt to parry your jab feint, leaving them open for a lead hook.
5) Lead Hook To The Body, Rear Hook To The Body, Lead Hook Feint, Cross
Here’s an advanced combination that gets really good results when done properly. The key is to fool your opponent into thinking you’re simply unloading right-hand and left-hand punches on them, setting them up for a cross they don’t see coming.
You’ll need a mixture of speed and power to make this combination effective. You want the punches to hurt enough to get your opponent to react to them. The first two punches get your opponent to drop their guard, while the third punch gets them to expect looping punches on top. That’s when you fire a cross right down the middle, splitting their guard.
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