5 Effective Bait Punch Combinations

Bait punches are an extremely effective way to set up counterpunches in boxing. A bait punch is a blow that’s thrown with the intent to get a desired reaction from an opponent. It’s one of the tricks advanced boxers use to make their counters more effective. 

The idea behind bait combinations is rather simple. You throw a few punches, wait for the expected counter, and counter it with your own counter. It’s an effective strategy that works on boxers of all skill levels. Aggressive fighters are most susceptible to bait combinations since they typically love to respond to everything an opponent does. 

Bait combinations allow you to set opponents up for nasty counters, and they improve your awareness of your adversaries inside the ring. 

Ready to learn some of the ways advanced boxers set their opponent’s up for counters? Let’s jump right into our list:


1) JabCross, Bait The Jab, Counter Cross

A simple way to bait a jab is by firing a jab-cross combination at your opponent. The jab-cross is typically the first combination boxers learn, so you should already be familiar with it. The key to getting your opponent to fire back a jab is throwing the straight punches as fast as you can. Don’t worry about putting power into them. You just want to touch your opponent, so they do something. 

Another important step is to keep your head inside so your opponent thinks they can reach you with a jab. You won’t always get the desired reaction, but when done correctly, most opponents will instinctively respond to you with a jab, opening them up for your counter cross which you throw with full power. 


2) Jab, Bait The Jab, Counter cross

You can bait opponents into throwing a jab at you by throwing one at them. It’s one of the most effective bait punches since many boxers often feel a need to mimic what their opponent does. Move around an opponent and throw potshot jabs, and there’s a good chance they’ll fire the same punch at you. The moment you see your opponent’s counter jab, throw a counter cross over it. You can then follow up with other combinations like a lead hook, cross combo

The trick to making this bait punch work for you is to throw a clean jab with good power and snap. You should then focus on your opponent’s left arm and counter the moment you see it start to come out. Practice this bait punch often enough and it’ll become a natural reflex you don’t even have to set up anymore. 

Another thing to keep in mind when trying to bait a jab with a jab is to stand far enough that your opponent feels the jab is the only weapon they can reach you with. Get too close to your opponent, and there’s a good chance they choose to counter with something else. 


3) Jab-Cross, Bait The Cross, Counter With A Lead Hook

This baiting technique shares some similarities with the first one we went over, but you want your opponent to respond with a cross this time around instead of a jab. It’s the little things like how you set your head, move, and pressure your opponent that leads them to counter with a cross instead of a lead hook. 

You want to get close to your opponent when you fire off the jab-cross combo to trigger them into firing back to get you to back off. You don’t necessarily have to throw the jab-cross with mean intentions, but you should make your opponent feel like you’re taking their space. 

You also want to bring your head a little closer to your opponent’s right side when you throw the combo which brings your face closer to their right hand. You want to be in the sweet spot where they can’t reach you with a rear hook, but a cross will cover the distance. 

Another strategy you can use to draw out the right cross is to attack your opponent’s left arm with one or both punches. It’s a psychological trick that makes your opponent feel like their left arm is preoccupied, making them more likely to fire off a punch with their right hand. 

Once your opponent throws the right hand, slam a lead hook into their body or head. You can make the punch even nastier by waiting for your opponent to throw the right cross and catching them with a lead hook as they begin to turn to throw a follow-up left hook. This allows you to use their momentum against them, increasing the power your punch lands with. 


4)  Jab, Bait The Cross, Counter With A Cross

A right-hand counter is one of the most effective ways to respond to your opponent’s right hand since it requires them to rotate their body and transfer weight, leaving them vulnerable to a selection of punches. 

This time, you bait your opponent into throwing a cross by pestering them with your jab. You’ll need to evade the cross in a way that leaves you in a position to fire off with your cross right after. One of the ways boxers bait their opponents into throwing crosses is by pestering them with lazy jabs. By taking your time to recover after your jabs, your opponent thinks they can catch you with a right-hand counter. You can also bait an opponent into throwing a cross by closing the distance on them to make them feel like they need to hit you with something hard to back you off. 

The hardest part of pulling this bait punch off is avoiding your opponent’s cross while putting yourself in a position to fire yours. You can do this by using head movement to evade your opponent’s punches or by throwing your punches faster than your opponent throws theirs. 


5) Jab-Cross, Bait Lead Hook, Roll Under, And Counter Cross

The lead hook is one of the easiest punches to counter since it typically leaves the puncher vulnerable during and after the punch, especially when it misses. However, it’s also one of the hardest punches to evade since it requires you to develop a feel to detect when it’s coming. Boxers often don’t see it until it’s too late since it loops around your line of vision.

You want to be about an arm’s length away from your opponent when throwing this bait combination to increase the odds of them firing back with a left hook. Get too close and they might opt for more powerful weapons like uppercuts and rear hooks. Stay too far and they’ll respond with straight punches. 

Look to land a hard cross combination so your opponent feels a need to respond with something nasty. Roll under once you feel the lead hook coming and fire off a cross as you come back up. 


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