Aggressive pressure fighters can be a nightmare to deal with in the ring, particularly those with good head movement and punching power.
In this video by Fight Hype, Andre Ward demonstrates in not so many words, how to tame an aggressive pressure fighter.
Though it may look as though Ward is just throwing a bunch of punches and moving around a heavy bag rather than an actual opponent, there’s a more technical aspect of what he’s doing which I’ll break down below the video.
Utilizing the Jab
In many cases, pressure fighters have a shorter reach and slower hands and feet. These physical disadvantages mean that they need to constantly come forward and find a way to get within punching range. They will continuously advance forward if there are no obstacles in the way.
The best obstacle you can use is the jab, which you should use often with variations – jab to the body, feint jab, double jab, triple jab and so forth. Andre Ward displays the normal jab and the up jab at [0:48].
Ward puts a bigger emphasis on the up jab, which he throws from the waist and at a slightly crouched position. From this position, it looks as though he may shoot the lead straight right. This kind of unpredictability can offset the opponent’s rhythm and make them think twice about getting in range.
Getting Low on Taller Fighters
In some cases, you may end up fighting a pressure fighter who’s taller than you, and possibly even have a longer reach than you. This situation can be tricky because in order to be relatively safe, you should be all the way outside of your opponent’s reach, or all the way inside where he cannot get any leverage into his punches.
“Overly aggressive guys who got height and try to come in winging [punches], they work against defense.”
At [1:22], Ward demonstrates getting low on the inside of a taller fighter. In order to safely get inside, you must disguise your intention by performing a certain maneuver that allows you to close the distance quickly.
This can be something as simple as a forward step jab with head movement or slipping the jab while stepping forward at the same time.
A feint in boxing terms is a deceptive maneuver that’s designed to make the opponent think you’re going to perform a particular attack, when your real intention is to perform another action such as a different attack or movement.
“Feint him out of position.”
Using feints against not only pressure fighters, but any fighter is extremely effective and underused by most boxers. Ward demonstrates some feints at [2:22], where he quickly jerks his body forward to make the opponent think he’s going to attack, but instead steps around and creates different angles where he can attack from.
Feints are especially helpful in giving the boxer more breathing space because in that brief moment, the pressure fighter will pause. Of course, feints will only continue to be effective if you actually disguise them among real hurtful punches too. You cannot bluff your way through a fight and expect to win.
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