Counters in Boxing
Counter punching is an important skillset, perfected by some of the greatest fighters of all time. Natural counter punchers step off, wait for gaps left by more offensive fighters and reel off combinations. The likes of Sugar Ray Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson spent their careers punishing opponents with spiteful counter punches.
Floyd Mayweather & Counter Punching
The self-proclaimed best of them all, Floyd Mayweather, is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished counter punchers in the sport’s long, rich history.
The reason fighters like Marcos Maidana and Jose Luis Castillo enjoyed so much joy against Floyd in their respective contests is because they got up close and personal.
By closing the range and smothering Mayweather they were able to negate his ability to work at range by picking off quality counter shots. Ricky Hatton tried an equivalent approach but was found out by a classic Floyd left hook.
The Importance of Counters
The old adage in boxing reminds us that, “timing beats speed” and that muscle memory is crucial. Being blessed with super-fast hand speed is one thing, but the most skilled technicians will eventually become used to the speed if a fighter is unable to vary it up sufficiently.
Featherweight champion, Gary Russell Jr, for example, has blinding speed but once opponents realise where the shots are coming from, they are able to plot and plan counter punches.
The precision counter puncher finds openings and sets traps to catch his foe off guard and land the key shots at the right time. Accuracy is a key attribute of the counter puncher.
Counter attacks can be launched against specifically selected shots. If a boxer throws a single jab, then the opponent can time that jab and throw a right hand over the top to counter it. Therefore, many coaches tell their fighters to throw in twos and threes rather than letting go with just one lead jab, which risks a counter.
The stabbing jab to the body is a great way to bring a boxer’s hands down and invest in some quality body work which serves to fatigue an opponent later in the contest.
However, if this move is done lazily or the fighter does not retreat out of range quickly enough, they can leave themselves vulnerable to a variety of counter shots from their opponent, including the uppercut, straight right or a whipping hook.
Using Feints & Counter
Skilled boxers often drop a feint to lure their opponent into a false move. Once the feint is initiated the opponent throws, supposedly in retaliation, but the feint is a ruse, and the boxer then uses his opponent’s move as an opportunity to counter with a combination. This is a solid counter punching strategy to break defensively minded or negative fighters out of their shell.
Remember, a successful counter attack always comes off the back of your opponent making a move or action. Whether he/she comes forward with an attack, blocks one of your attacks or similar, the moves you make off the back of their offensive actions are counter attacks.
Improve Your Reflexes With a Boxing App
To build up your reflexes and be more effective at counter attacks, you can practice using this iOS boxing app that calls out punches to keep you on your toes. The latest version features a specific mode to train your counters, so if you practice this as well as your dodges you’ll surely improve!