Boxing feints are maneuvers which are designed to distract or mislead your opponent, by making them think that a certain action will take place when infact, another action or no action actually occurs.
This is especially important in boxing if your opponent is a defensive specialist, and you need to find a way to open up his defense.
Feints are an almost forgotten technique of boxing. They’re not seen as commonly as they once were, which is a shame because implementing feints into your skillset will improve you as a fighter.
If you want to learn more advanced boxing techniques, I recommend the Advanced Boxing Workshop which helps fighters to improve on their footwork, balance and punching power.
Here are 5 boxing feints that you should practice on, to keep your opponents guessing.
1) Half-Way Punch
The name is pretty self-explanatory, but the right set-up and technique is essential to not give your game away.
Basically, your aim is to throw a punch half-way (or slightly less), without fully extending any apart of your body, which is intended to make your opponent move in a certain direction for you to follow up with a real punch.
It’s important that you don’t over commit with this feint or overdo it because a smart fighter will eventually catch on to it, so he’ll be waiting for you to pull the same trick and try to capitalize on it.
2) Forward Step
Not many boxers have the ability to pull this off effectively. While this sounds simple, it’s not just the case of stepping forward.
You have to do it when you’re in range, and in a way where it’s convincing enough for your opponent to think that you’re actually going to leap in with an attack.
This means that you must slightly jerk your upper body forward at the same time you step, so it’s all in one swift motion. If anyone does this well, it’s Manny Pacquiao, who has utilized this feint many times to hurt or knock his opponents down.
Your opponent will usually step back to avoid an incoming punch, so then you can step again into range to fire off the cross. It’s risky and this requires quick feet to pull it off. Or, your opponent will flinch, parry, move their head or bend their knees without taking a backward step, which then you’d be in range to target your unsuspecting opponent.
3) Leaning to the Side
Don’t get this confused with head movement or slipping punches, as this is intended not to avoid punches, but rather to open your opponent up.
When you lean to the side, it doesn’t have to be quick, but it’s advisable to always lean to the outside of your lead foot so that you can easily fire off the lead hook or the cross.
You can see a rendition of this from some of Sergio Martinez’s fights, particularly against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
4) Bending the Knees
To get more power into your punches, one of things you must do is to ‘sit down on your punches’, which is why when you bend at the knees, it instinctively indicates a punch being thrown.
You must not bend too low because it’ll just take too long getting back into position to defend or attack.
All it takes is for your opponent to fall for the feint is a slight bend of the knees combined with slight motion of the hands.
An example of a fighter who does this often is Guillermo Rigondeaux, arguably the greatest amateur boxer ever and a unified world champion.
5) Distraction Jab
There are two ways in which you can use the jab as a feint. First, you can throw a fully extended jab, but targeted just to the side of your opponent’s head, so that you don’t actually come in contact with his head.
The second is that you pretend that you’re going to throw a half-way jab, so that you don’t fully extend your elbow.
If you’ve noticed a pattern of movement from your opponent every time you throw a jab, for example you know that your opponent will slip to his left or right, when this happens you can immediately throw your cross to where you know his head will be.
To get the most out of your training, I highly recommend the following articles:
► How to Increase Punching Power
► 10 Tips to Improve Boxing Footwork
► Boxing Basics
► Top 10 Best Heavy Punching Bags
► Top 10 Best Boxing Gloves