Muhammad Ali is the most famous boxer of all time, he is actually the most famous sportsman of all time too. Ali is mostly remembered for his fast hands and his fast mouth and his character was so large and his life so big that many people often overlook just how smart a boxer he was.
Sure Ali could dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee but he could also trick you and make a fool out of you. Muhammad Ali was extremely adept at using feints in his game and in this article I will have a quick look at how Ali used the head feint to confuse his opponents.
Often when we think of feints we think of using the hands to feint a punch, perhaps I might feint a right hand and throw the left hand instead, there are also shoulder feints and foot feints – head feints may be used slightly less but Ali would use a lot of head feints in his game and because of his speed, his head feints were very effective.
One of the criticisms of Ali’s game is that he didn’t throw many body punches, Ali’s jab was so fast that he took advantage of his speed to pepper his opponents behind the jab and swift footwork all night long but Ali would throw a few jabs to the body and because of this he was able to keep opponents honest by using the head feint to make it look like he was going to jab to the body and instead coming back up to the head. Ali would bend at the knees and dip the head as if he was suddenly going to attack the body and because Ali moved so fast this would often cause a reaction in his opponent, stalling them just long enough for Ali to continue his attack to the head. Ali could also feint the right hand to the body with the head feint, causing the opponent to slightly drop the guard in an effort to protect themselves against what they thought was a right hand to the body and instead Ali would throw the right hand to the head.
The head feint is a great addition to the more commonly used feints and is excellent for selling misdirection, Ali would also sometimes move his head to the left to make it look like he was going to punch with his left head but instead punch with the right hand and vice versa – have a watch of the video below to Muhammad Ali in action using the head feint.