Muhammad Ali’s Defense, Combos, & Counters – TECHNIQUE BREAKDOWN

Muhammad Ali’s Defense, Combos, & Counters – TECHNIQUE BREAKDOWN


-Muhammad Ali is well known for his incredible
footwork and hand speed, but he also had a brilliant and unorthodox method of defense;
he called it his “lean back style”. In this video we will break down how he used
head movement, footwork, and devastating counters to dominate his opponents. Then we will quickly expand on our last video,
and explain how Ali added combinations to his circling footwork pattern. Ali had incredible defense, and it wasn’t
just his reflexes, but his creative movement which allowed him to pull off things few other
fighters could. When his opponents attacked, Ali would usually
step back, slip and drop his hands even lower. This goaded his adversaries to overreach chasing
after his head. Overextending lowered the height and power
of their jab, and Ali would change levels and pick off the blows with his shoulders. He was essentially expanding the height advantage
he usually enjoyed. Incredibly, Ali was such a great judge of
distance that he could narrowly dodge blows by turning his chin. This allowed him to stay closer to his adversary,
which kept him in range to counter. But more on that in a second, lets look at
the defensive footwork Ali used in conjunction with head movement. Ali’s defensive footwork pattern is step
back, shift back and left into southpaw, and then pivot. He preferred to slip to the inside, and tended
to change head position once for each step, From the front: 1,2,3. If you have limited space, you can substitute
the pivot for a shuffle. Stepping back allowed Ali to angle to the
inside and let his opponent go right past him, like a matador sidestepping a charging
bull. The pivot would then realign Ali in a superior
position, with his rival more open and Ali ready to continue circling and jabbing. Keep in mind that while using this defensive
footwork, even Ali would raise his right hand against especially good hook punchers and
his left hand against those with a powerful cross. But he preferred to parry or deflect punches
off his elbows in order to drain his opponents of energy. Ali would sometimes modify his defensive footwork
and use it for a quick attack. Stepping back left his rear hand much closer
to his opponent, and he took full advantage of this situation to go on the offensive. He would stop short, square up and leap into
a cross. But this technique was nowhere near as effective
as his counters. Ali would get his opponent used to this pattern,
and lull them into thinking he would always retreat from their attacks. He would then stop short and throw his self
titled “Anchor Punch”. After leaning back and slipping to the inside
as usual, looking to get the perfect distance from which to throw his counter right. Since Ali turned his head to the side, he
had to rely partially on touch to gauge distance. That’s why jabbing the right side of Ali’s
body was like hitting a button that released a fight ending punch. As he moved his head back, his hand would
come from below his competitor’s field of vision and remain out of site by following
his own jab back to him. Then Ali’s glove would arch over their shoulder
and snap down. Those Ali hit with this punch commonly said
that they had never even seen it coming. Ali most likely took his iconic circling pattern
from his idol, Sugar Ray Robinson. Let’s look at how Ali modified it to throw
combinations while circling. To review quickly, Ali’s footwork is step,
hop and jab, push off and swing your back leg behind you, step back into stance, and
repeat. By adding additional punches to this pattern,
Ali was able to change the line of attack with each punch, giving him built in defense
and hitting around his competitors guard. Ali placed his second punch on the last step
of the sequence, as he stepped out and uncrossed his legs. This included his double jab, jab – hook,
and jab uppercut combos. But lets look at Ali’s most effective combination,
his jab jab cross. Ali would jab on the hop as normal, change
positions with the cross step, and then let his 12 go as he stepped out. 1,2,3,4. This combination used manipulation of timing
to gain an advantage over his opponent. Notice that after Ali establishes a rythim
with the circling jab, the 1-2 comes in on the last step at twice the speed in half beats. After jabbing, stepping out from crossed legs
loaded up Ali’s cross with more momentum, adding surprising power for a boxer up on
his toes. This is an interesting technique to end the
breakdown on. Ali would sometimes throw his jab on 2 as
normal, and then his cross on step 3, as he crossed his legs behind him. Nothing about this punch should work, but
he managed to land it with decent power. We’ll just put it down to it being The Greatest
of All Time, Muhammad Ali. While I wouldn’t recommend copying all of
Ali’s style, especially without years of experience, I encourage you to try a few things
out and let us know how it goes. Please like, subscribe for more videos, and
share with people who may find these techniques interesting. I’ve also set up a patreon page if you would
like to show your appreciation and help support the channel. From the modern martial artist, this has been
David Christian, wishing you happy training.

17 thoughts on “Muhammad Ali’s Defense, Combos, & Counters – TECHNIQUE BREAKDOWN

  1. Ali kinda fight unfair because he make his opponent drain stamina and make them tired than punch his opponent but Mike goes for head to head

  2. Excellent analysis of Ali's foot pattern and evasions. He was so confident that he never handguards his face like other boxers. Bruce Lee imitated him in that instance. Bruce lee used to watch Alis fights repeatedly. May the greatest boxer rest in peace and in paradise.

  3. I still think the Godfather of this type of out-boxing was Gene Tunney — he beat Dempsey 2X by dancing around him.
    The Heavy Weight who many have had the craziest footwork was Jersey Joe Walcott. Take a look at that guy's dance moves!
    Walcott was one strange dude.. but he hit like a ton of bricks! He Knocked down Joe Louis 2x and Maciano once.

  4. I believe Ali would beat a prime Tyson ,by weathering the hurricane Tyson category 1 storm, in the early rounds.Then once the storm settled ,Ali would had slowly drifted a prime Tyson, to the calm waters of the deep blue sea ,and drowned him in the later rounds.

  5. What would happen if you use Ali's style and you had a left low round house on the inside of the leg followed up with a over the top right ? Ken Norton used a overhand right when Ali was lowering the hands to flip out the jab

  6. NO ONE knew how to move to the right back then. I can't overstate this. That is the best way to slip a jab from a lead-left attack. So perhaps for his time he was "The Greatest" but if anyone tried that today they'd get killed in the ring.

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