10 Manny Pacquiao Boxing Tricks

December 16, 2010 December 16, 2010 by Johnny N Boxing Strategy, Boxing Styles 60 Comments

Pacquiao Boxing Tricks

I highlight 10 of Manny Pacquiao’s best boxing tricks, offensive and defensive skills from his fight against Antonio Margarito. INCLUDES VIDEO!


I’ve been watching Manny Pacquiao since 2003, and it took a long time for me to realize the full range of his skill set. What seemed at first to be an undersized brawler looked more like a magician full of tricks up his sleeves. I’ve actually used some of these techniques myself with great success. After witnessing Pacquiao do all of these same tricks countless of times against Antonio Margarito, I figured it would make a great write-up as well as a video.

Here they are: 10 of Manny Pacquiao’s awesome boxing tricks. Don’t forget to watch the video I made!


1. Tap Block, Tap Jab

Pacquiao moves around making his opponents think that he won’t engage. As soon as they throw a light feeler jab, he’ll block it lightly followed by an instant counter-jab.


2. Right Hook Over Left Jab

How he does this is pretty amazing since many of his opponents enjoy a size advantage over him. You’d imagine that a long left jab beats a short right hook everytime but not when the right hook is Manny Pacquiao’s.

What he does is lean his head on the inside of their jab as he throws the right hook over the top of an orthodox jab. The average southpaw shouldn’t do this because it leaves his head in the way of the opponent’s right hand. Pacquiao usually prepares for this by moving his head further back, if the right hand comes, or beating it with a quicker left cross.


3. One-Legged Lead Left

This is probably Pacquiao’s equivalent of the Superman punch. It’s very subtle if you don’t look for it but I see Pacquiao doing this ALL the time! It keeps his opponents on their toes at all times and helps to tame the aggressive ones as well. He’ll start off moving around the ring and at some point, he’ll quickly lean forward at the waist and throw a straight left lead as one of his feet is still off the ground. It’s kind of like a surprise Superman-punch except that he has one feet planted to the ground ground. Sometimes it’s the left that’s planted, sometimes it’s the right.

I doubt that he gets much power on it but it’s still enough to stun his opponents and he’ll quickly follow it up if they’re caught off guard. This trick works so well because his opponents don’t expect him to throw an un-planted punch while his feeting is moving around.


4. The Double-Left Sneak

Pacquiao throws 2 left hands as he sneaks forward behind his orthodox opponent’s front leg. This is one of those most underrated boxing tricks. Just a few months ago I saw Jean Pascal beating the favorite Chad Dawson with this exact same trick. Pacquiao however, has been doing this for years.

I’ve done this 100 times and I must tell you that the trick is in the footwork. Pacquiao gets away with it by stepping his right foot to the outside of his opponent’s front left foot. He’ll usually wait for them to jab when he does this trick. That way, as he’s sliding up along their left side, their left arm is blocking them from throwing their right hand. Pacquiao’s left hand however is wide open as he throws 2 left crosses or 2 left hooks. If they shell up, he’ll typically follow up with a right hook to the body.

This trick can also be used as a defensive trick since the double-left hand often forces the opponent to cover up while Pacquiao sneaks away without taking any damage.

This is a great trick once you understand how it works. You don’t have to throw with much power. With proper footwork, your opponent will be wide open and have no choice but to completely cover themselves up making them vulnerable to body hooks they can’t see. The other option is that the opponent has to give up ground and move backwards in order to see you in front again.


5. The Triangle Guard

This one is pretty interesting. I’ve never seen anybody else do it. What Pacquiao does is brace his fists against his head and point his elbows almost straight out towards his opponent. This is very unorthodox because most boxers are taught to leave their elbows down to cover the body. In contrast, Pacquiao lifts his elbows forming the triangle and lifts his elbows to slip or push punches off his forearms.

I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing the reason why he does this is because his opponents are too big for him. If he used a traditional defense and simply put his glove in front of his face, his opponent’s punches would still be able to punch through his gloves. With his triangle forearm defense, he can deflect punches entirely by tilting his forearms around. Not surprisingly, this is also the same guard that Muay Thai kickboxers use, which can be effective for blocking head kicks. So ahhhhh, the guard is more effective at stopping heavier blows. The only weakness to this defense is that his body is open when he lifts his elbows.


6. Left Step, Left Cross

This is a textbook counter that EVERY SOUTHPAW should know when fighting an orthodox opponent (as well as vice versa). Manny Pacquiao does it exceptionally well against his right-handed opponents and everyone ought to study how he does it. Lucky for me, I noticed it because I use this trick myself.

As a left-hander, Pacquiao will wait for his opponent’s right cross to come. As soon as it does, he steps to his left with his left foot and leans his head left of the right cross. As soon as the right cross passes over, he’ll quickly pivot back in with a hard left cross counter. You never really see this movement on TV because the feet is often cut out when the fighters are fighting up close.

In some cases, Pacquiao will counter with a light jab first with his right hand or he’ll leave his right hand outstretched pushing his opponent’s head to the side before throwing his big left cross. Either way, this counter is devastating every time!


7. Vertical Jab

Southpaws normally carry the advantage of being able to jab without having to worry about being counter-jabbed. Because of this, many southpaws can easily finish their punch combinations with a jab as they retreat safely. (Finishing with a left cross can sometimes leave the southpaw open to counter-punches or retaliation combinations.)

Pacquiao takes it one step further. Instead of just finishing with a right jab, he uses a vertical jab. By vertical, I mean that his fist is standing straight up so it’s more likely to split through his opponent’s guard and score.


8. Forearm Defense

Pacquiao is pretty clever at using his forearms. If you pay close attention to how he moves his forearms, you’ll see him guiding his opponents around the ring with subtle motions. His forearms are often used as a shield to keep his opponents from counter or as an evasive manevuer allowing him to escape without taking punches.


9. Rear Overhand Left

I call this the rear overhand left because Pacquiao loves to throw that big left hand from way back. His overhand left looks like a catapult because it starts so far behind him. Pacquiao will lean his head forward to the right baiting with his head. As his opponent’s are too busy looking down at his head, they don’t see his big left coming over the top from way back. If you look at Pacquiao’s rematch against Juan-Manuel Marquez, you’ll see that it was the rear overhand left that dropped Marquez.

If think back to the Ricky Hatton fight, you’ll remember that Pacquiao’s big overhand left was practically behind him when it landed Hatton’s chin. It’s a bit of a blind punch but deadly effective nonetheless. Sergio Martinez actually did the exact same thing when he knocked out the iron-chinned Paul Williams in a shocking upset.


10. Left-High, Left-Low

This is the same old advice your trainer will always tell you, “Remember to go high and low!” Pacquiao throws a 1-2-1-4 which is basically a JAB, followed by a LEFT CROSS to the head, followed by another JAB, and then finished with a LEFT HOOK to the body. His opponents were expecting the regular 1-2-1-2, which is a left-right-left-right and so they block high exposing their body.

These tips are for your enjoyment. I wouldn’t recommend anybody to try and become the next Pacquiao without first learning some conventional boxing skills. Manny Pacquiao can get away with some of these tricks because he’s insanely fast, insanely skilled, and uses perfect timing.

Remember: it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.


If you enjoyed this video, check out: 10 Floyd Mayweather Boxing Tricks

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JaketheSnake December 16, 2010 at 10:53 am

I’m a pretty big Manny fan but In never caught all of these tricks. I just noticed the usual Manny tricks like the lead left which he doubles when you’re stunned. I never knew that he has a good sized bag of tricks. He just looks like a straight up speedster/brawler that you never figured he had subtle movement. Some more things: the speed right hook he used to beat the wide left hook by Hatton, the sidestep/lead left against DelaHoya (although similar to your trick #4).

Just one thing though: you’ve given up all of Manny’s tricks so you shoud dissect Floyd next time, just to even things up. 🙂

This is one of the mot informative boxing sites out there. Keep up the good work.


Johnny N December 16, 2010 at 2:00 pm

thanks, Jake
10 of Floyd’s tricks….coming right up! (probably a week or two)


Antony December 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I Hate Floyd! 🙁 but i wouldn’t mind seeing his strategie and tricks. Hes still a B#*#%! i dnt like that loud mouth, he’s probably looking at this article right now, hes a pu$$y hes a coward for backing down to manny, becuz he already knows the deal lol


Antony December 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm

my dream would be to see Sugar Ray robinson’s tricks, hes too fast , that your cnt really see wat hes up to! BEST BOXER EVER! if only his highlights had better quality lol old ass vids


NIKO December 18, 2010 at 9:27 am

sugar ray robinson fan too? he was one of the best of all time. can somebody tell me if this is accurate. is throwing 3-5 jabs for every other punch a good ratio. i know how important jabs are but i want to know if im on the right track here.


Johnny N December 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Sugar Ray Robinon’s a great!
Yeah, you can’t barely see what they’re doing but you can tell by the posture and their style. Looks brazen on camera but there are times when you can see stuff. It’s hard to tell how athletic they are but their style shows they are much more athletic than many of today’s boxers.

Niko, 3-5 jabs for every other punch is a good ratio! I had a chart for it here: http://www.expertboxing.com/how-to-box/beginner-fight-training-tips


AtheistJaguar January 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm

floyd has to knock pac early or else pac will upset his technique
;-):-*:D;-):-):-* the only thing pacquiao needs to work out is the fast unpredictable 2 or 3 floyd counter punches bcoz it has power also even he’s back-cycling. if floyd wants to beat pacquiao he must finish him ko at 1-3 rounds using his tactics but with a more volume of punches,coz if he waits for 4 rounds till 12,i’m sure it will be in judges scores all 3 for pacquiao..


mr awesome January 4, 2011 at 11:41 pm

;-)8) really nice work. you really have eye for boxing details


Nottz January 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm

I love this site but…
..please don’t turn this into Boxingscene or any other (former) good boxing website that has turned to crap thanks to numerous “Gayweather vs Pacroid” topics.

Both boxers are going to be in HoF and seen as ATGs. They’ve both given us great fights and shown their dedication to the sport.

With that said, both boxers are very different from each other and you can’t use triangle theories in this sport (or any other sport for that matter).

Floyd gets easily overlooked by “casual” boxing viewers because they can’t see the fine print. They only watch for knock-outs, and while TKOs/KOs are dramatic and bring excitement to this sport, there are simply more to it than that.

Great video by the way. Keep up the good work.


KLrokko January 6, 2011 at 7:55 am

great site
Too few people pay note to boxing intricacies and that is where the true skill lies but you have done a great job, keep it up !


JaketheSnake January 6, 2011 at 12:09 pm

predictions for Floyd tricks
I agree with Noltz. The best thing sbout this site is that we all seem to want to go beyond the usual boxing issues and debates, but are here to enjoy the technical beauty of the sport. Let’s keep everything here on the high level that the site has set and keep the pinches above the beslt.:-)

That said, I predict the number 1 Floyd trick: the shoulder roll by twisting his left shoulder up. He times the counter by catching the jab or straight on the shoulder. letting it slide up and away, and then comes back with a nice right cross or uppercut. I’ve tried this in sparring but its harder than it looks, especially the uppercut counter.:sad:


JaketheSnake January 6, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Sorry the last sentence should have read: “keep the punches above the belt.”


Johnny N January 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Nottz and JaketheSnake, keeping the site respectful! I totally agree. I will never let this site become a place for trolls and people who don’t respect the sport. I would be happy to become even half as good as Floyd and Pacquiao’s opponents!

Btw, floyd’s shoulder roll moves has a lot to do with the hips and the use of his legs. Watch carefully how he uses his hips when he does that defensive move. 😉

As for the Floyd tricks coming up, stay tuned…it’ll be cool! As always, thanks for the comments!


adam July 24, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Come on jonnie….we want a mike tyson one now 🙂


HBO February 23, 2011 at 4:57 am

Copyright Infringement
HBO did not authorize usage of our HBO Sports Boxing footage of Pacquiao-Margarito and Mayweather-Mosley. If you do not delete the “10 Floyd Mayweather Boxing Tricks” & “10 Manny Pacquiao Boxing Tricks”, we will take the necessary legal actions against you. You have been formally warned. Youtube has been notified.


Winners April 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Nice bag of tricks!:D


Mike Cook July 13, 2011 at 11:08 am

Do another 10 tricks
Man J I love This website. I’ve put everybody in boxing gym on it. Please keep up the good work! Ok my favorite articles you do are the “10 tricks” ones. I’d love to see one for roy jones, or a Tommy hearns. Some of the greats you know! I have talked to roy at tournaments and at a celebrity fundraiser basketball game and he gave me 3 of the best tips that has helped men
Raise my game so much. I’d love to share them for the article if you do it!! My Email is [email protected]


curtis September 5, 2011 at 2:13 am

the combo mombo
why dont your write a list of combinations for southpaws and right handers and write all the uses each combination has – thats what id like to see.


Johnny N September 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm

@curtis – it would take forever….but that’s exactly what i intend on doing!


Stanimir November 17, 2011 at 8:35 am

HI, Johnny!!
I just wanted to know did you plan to expose some other fighter’s tricks?
May be the technics used by Juan Manuel Marquez in there third fight with Pacquiao?
Also I want to know your opinion on the result from that fight?
Thanks in advance!


Johnny N November 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I definitely plan to do more videos Stanimir. I felt the fight was super close could have gone either way. I personally thought Pacquiao had it but many of my friends/coaches/trainers disagreed. Oh well, it was a good fight and both guys felt they were the winner…if anything, Marquez even more so.


curtis December 16, 2011 at 1:37 am

why dont you write about 10 Oscar Della Hoya tricks in offence, defence and counter punching. i’ve watched a lot of highlight reels of Della Hoya in his prime and he looks really good. what do you think his top 10 greatest attributes were?


Johnny N December 17, 2011 at 10:58 pm

De La Hoya had a lot of nice moves, he’s on my list of favorites so watch out for the video in the future.


Roey January 1, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Just wanted to give you mad guns for articles like these. You are a beast of a writer, your observation skills are supreme and I can find myself nodding my head in agreement as you break down the fighter’s style. Keep up the good work, and like some other comments stated, I would want you do a series of “Top 10 Boxing Tricks” for all other fighters.


jose January 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm

would all these tricks work the same for a orthodox? since pacquaio is southpaw


Johnny N January 17, 2012 at 9:18 am

These tactics can work if you make them work. Being a southpaw would have some advantage of course because they come at angles you don’t see as often.


aaron March 8, 2012 at 7:16 pm

wow GREAT STRATEGY!.. pacquiao is my idol since i was 3 years old, but now im 17, he`s much better fighter and has very rare talents that no opponent can copy those moves.


Nick March 9, 2012 at 5:44 am

Awesome site!, I always try to visit your site to check for new guides. By the way in your point of view, who would win? Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao?


Johnny N March 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I would say Floyd. Both guys are great fighters regardless.


toe b May 29, 2012 at 9:12 pm

hey if you do the triangle guard, aren’t you exposed to hooks to the side of the head?


Johnny N May 30, 2012 at 12:29 am

Everything you do leaves you exposed to something. There is no such thing a single defense or single move that will protect you from everything. So ultimately you have to do the right thing at the right time. It just so happens that Manny Pacquiao uses the triangle guard more often than other guards. But I think his defensive style has changed a tiny bit bit since then.


Felipe Maurer de barros August 16, 2012 at 6:59 pm

When we gonna have another 10 Boxing Tricks from any other fighter? this is awesome video


Johnny N August 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I’ll do it as soon as I get 60 consecutive free hours!


Jonathan August 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm

hey who believes if it’s okay to train boxing at my age of 14 years because the people in my school keep telling me that give up in that?


Johnny N August 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

It’s perfectly fine. 14 is a good age.


Kint August 24, 2012 at 8:56 am

Thanks. Nice to watch.

The main Pacquiao trick, however, seems to be hitting the opponent without knocking him down. I wonder how he does it.


xiaokang October 19, 2012 at 12:26 am

on the double left sneak, you say you’ve done this 100 times, so i’m wondering if this a move you adapt to orthodox fighting too?

If so, could you briefly mention how the footwork works on orthodox mirror? Sometimes in sparring i switch into southpaw and do this to people without thinking, but people probably frown upon that..

cheers johnny, your site is phenomenal!


Johnny N October 21, 2012 at 2:32 am

Yes, it works for orthodox guys fighting southpaws as well.


LaVar JB November 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm

First off… “Johnny, ur the Man!!” I seen your vid a while ago and as I was watching a replay of the first “Frank Mir Vs. Minotauro Nogeira MMA fight I noticed Frank Mir using Manny’s “Vertical punch” He actually knocked Nogeira out with that same punch! AMAZING! Just thought Id share! Keep up the good work coach! you help alot!!!!!!


Johnny N November 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Thanks, Lavar. It’s a great shot. Definitely more common than most people think.


Kris December 22, 2012 at 2:01 am

Johnny, can you break down Pacquiao’s right hook for me? I want to know what makes it so powerful so I can improve my own left hook.


Johnny N January 5, 2013 at 12:06 am

Pacquiao uses a tighter shoulder and chest so his body turns over as a very hard reinforced block. Other fighters like to swing the arm or throw with a more elastic arm. Different techniques for different guys.


soni January 12, 2013 at 9:28 am

great video 😀 whats the name of the song?


Johnny N January 23, 2013 at 11:24 am

It’s listed in the video description on youtube.


Jake April 22, 2013 at 5:02 am

Johnny, I know you’re very busy but can you make a video like this for Juan Manuel Marquez.


Johnny N April 26, 2013 at 9:30 am

There are so many boxers I would love to do this for but I don’t think I will do one of these for a long long time if ever again. They take so much time to make and I’d rather enjoy the videos that other guys make than to spend 100 hours of my own time and edit another one like this.


JUANMA July 7, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Hey, Johnny N!

Someone plagiarized this very good article of yours. Look: rappler.com/sports/2799-top-10-boxing-tricks-of-manny-pacquiao#


Johnny N July 10, 2013 at 10:27 am

Thanks for telling about this. It’s unfortunate but this happens with a lot of my articles. I don’t like it but I’d rather be focusing my time on writing more great content than wasting time to write these guys and tell them to take down my content. At the very least, I wish they had the respect to link to me or give me credit rather than to pretend they came up with the concepts all by themselves.


Bill July 25, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Great article. Nice to see some southpaw tactics from one of the best in the business. As a left handed fighter it can be hard to find good info.
Any chance we can get some ray leonard?


Johnny N July 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I’ve been meaning to cover other fighters but have decided to spend my time elsewhere nowadays. In the time that it takes to make one of these videos, I could have easily written 15 articles or posted 50 Youtube videos. I hope that explains why I haven’t done another one of these for a long time.


Slat December 15, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Love the video! I’ve been watching youtube for years to see how the pro do it. Triangle guard looks like a much used street technique called “monkey block” although typically the block brings the hands over the ears. This is because on the street you aren’t as worried about body shots (cause fights don’t last long) and its effective against fighter a gang of guys that surround you and take pot shots at your head.


Tony Daps December 17, 2013 at 11:10 pm

I must say this is by far the most rational thread I’ve ever read in online boxing articles. Great job with the breakdown of Manny’s techniques. I must say a lot of people particularly the “passionate” fans of Pacquiao and Mayweather. I have to admit I was a “passionate” fan until negotiations turned to a bad case of MTV reality TV. Again great job because in the perspective of the common spectator they would seem like just your Get-that-son-of-a Wild Punches and Bunches but his style is also a well-crafted sweet science.


cliffysfishing February 20, 2014 at 3:26 am

umm i noticed that u picked up on the triangle guard one you are right about the usage in thai. my friend that i train with does muay thai and he taught me that one. when i was training it without gloves at first he got me to run my fingers through my hair to get the position but as it developed and i added gloves gloves i needed to just get position fingers through hair helps. another important thing was that he would get me to use the guard and hit me all over the body with a mix of punches and kicks and sometimes knees. it works and you can even do one side at a time block something big and return which is hard at first but useful again fingers through hair then develop. the skill is useful and just interesting to learn as i said hard a first but i wanted to learn cos when i spar with him he blocked a few of my roundhouse kicks with it rather than forearm i still prefer trapping a kick but this is less risky.


Oledor January 20, 2015 at 10:35 am

The reasons. why Floydie won’t Manny. To get humiliated by those kind of blazing fists like MACHINE GUN, 10 punch combo.. Say just 30 % of which will get the target, imagine how Floydie will cover up his face to avoid those combo. The only way is to run or not fight.. So Floyd DUCK WHILE YOU CAN…


Marcel March 8, 2015 at 11:26 pm

Great article! I have been a fan since he won his first title belt! Awesome fighter. Really aggressive and very entertaining to watch.

I will surely watch out for these moves on May 2 against Floyd Mayweather. I’m sure Floyd’s gonna be shocked at his speed and unorthodox style that made Pacman the champ.


Thokozani Moses mokati April 29, 2015 at 5:15 am

u know wat people,mayweather is a champ and he will always be champ.check his skills and check pacman skills.


I Mackassie August 27, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Yeh well everyone knows this fight should have happened at least 5 years ago 2 old lags out for a extreemly masive pay day punters were true
ly ripped off


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