The Science of Mike Tyson and Elements of Peek-A-Boo: part IV

pab-part-004-counter-uppercut-150pxHow to aggressively defend against an uppercut in the peek-a-boo as an introduction to the attacking arsenal of Mike Tyson.







1. Feint & side-step

2. Pivot-step & parry

3. Note on head movements (WIP)

4. Conclusion


Our poster The PPPP: Peek-a-boo Principles & Practices Poster (inspired by Mike Tyson) is available for print, download & modification at PosterMyWall! 8100 x 5400 px digital version is for 7.99 USD (basic price, we did not add any royalty) Lower resolution is for 2.99 USD, also you can download FREE A4 version I guess.

Peekaboo Principles & Practices Poster

Free! Basic Quality Download (Large Watermark);
2.99 USD Photo Quality Download (No Watermark, great for 8” x 12”);
7.99 USD Poster Quality Download (No Watermarks, 8100 x 5400 px,
great for A0 or 24” x 36”).

The PPPP (Peekaboo Principles & Practices Poster) offers you great artistic memo of all major Peekaboo techniques in one package, done after almost 5 years of researching from 2012 till now!.


We continue with the general description of defending and countering an uppercut techniques in the peek-a-boo. The study of this special case is an introduction to the attacking arsenal of Mike Tyson.

Ali vs Cus D’Amato

It does not take an expert to realize bobbing and weaving with head low are prone to hits with uppercuts [1]. In fact, in 1970, Cus D’Amato and Muhammad Ali were discussing the tactics of fighting between Muhammad Ali (a taller boxer who stays his toe and can move and stick the jab) and Joe Fraizer (a shorter slugger who is ducking punchesand throwing wide hooks in return) [2].

Muhammad Ali [2]:

This is what I would do with Joe Fraizer. Jab, jab, keep your distance, jab, and BAM [throws an uppercut].”

OPEN GFYCAT in a new window. OPEN YouTube in a new window. OPEN PINTEREST in a new window.

Cus D’Amato bobs, side-bends, weaves, and then counters with a right hand punch. Ali objects that Joe Fraizer is not that good and he does not fight like that. Here we consider some examples how Mike Tyson would deal with such situation.

back to top

Feint & Side-Step

In amateurs, Mike got hit with uppercuts not only due to the imperfection of his defense. In the example below, Mike chooses incorrectly the moment and the position (or angle) to throw the jab to the body, and eats a right uppercut in return.

OPEN GFYCAT in a new window. OPEN YouTube in a new window. OPEN PINTEREST in a new window.

Left jab to the body seems to be a very safe offenise weapon. However, it might not be the case when you are not 100% fundamentally correct when throwing a left jab to the body. (We leave the description of the correct technique for further articles). An experienced opponent would time this jab and counter with the right uppercut:

Jack Dempsey [1]:

“Most bobber-weavers become careless with their rhythm, and you can time their movements. You try to nail them with uppercuts as they sink into bobs…”

It is worth mentioning that Mike’s opponents in the above animations are demonstrating fairly well the heel thud principle for the right uppercut.

Technique 1: feint jab to the body

When fighting, it is very important not allowing the opponent to capitalize on his success. After the hit, Mike would feint the jab to the body by extending the left arm, bending knees and lowering the body and head to the right.

OPEN GFYCAT in a new window. OPEN YouTube in a new window. OPEN PINTEREST in a new window.

Meanwhile, he steps in not like in the jab: there is no hopping from the back to the front leg. Here, both legs are shifted forward, so the weight stays on the back leg, otherwise you won’t be able to execute the right hand punch.

The interesting moment here is how Mike moves the head with the incoming punch upwards for a little while. Then he quickly moves his head away from the line of fire of the uppercut by quickly bending to the left. At the same time, he throws a right hook, which trajectory is vertical due to strong body bend. In other words he throws an overhead right hand.

Notice that in the above animation, Mike Tyson as a pro performs his signature weaving after the last punch to follow one of the peek-a-boo commandements [3]. He did not do it consistently in amateurs.

Technique 2: jab with a side-step

Now, if the opponent decides not to wait for Mike and then counter, but lead with the uppercut instead or throw it at the same time as Mike attacks. In this case, Mike throws jab with the side step to the left, which allows him to move his head away from the line of fire of the uppercut:

OPEN GFYCAT in a new window. OPEN YouTube in a new window. OPEN PINTEREST in a new window.

In the above example, Mike counters with the right hook unsuccessfully. He missed because the distance got too long after the side step. He should have thrown a leaping right hook. Notice, Mike moves his head in such away that the chin is facing almost backwards at some moment of his attack.

Technique 3: side hop | step

We learnt that Mike was either feinting the jab to the body or side-stepping. Now, there is a combined technique where Mike was able to side-step after a low jab feint:

OPEN GFYCAT in a new window. OPEN YouTube in a new window. OPEN PINTEREST in a new window.

The beginning of the technique coincides with the Technique 1: Mike feints the left jab with his weight remaining under the right leg. This allows him to hop from the right to the left leg. The hop or the side step moves him away from the line of fire of the uppercut. After the opponent misses with his uppercut, he is getting exposed to the straight left hand. By now, we have seen such technical element only once in all Mike Tyson’s fights (both amateur and pro). The somewhat similar side stepping technique can be found in early pro fights.

back to top

Pivot Step & Parry

In the example below, the opponent (boxer in red trunks) feints the left jab by touching Mike Tyson’s gloves and quickly snapping the arm back as if the gloves are hot as a frying pan[4]. Then he twists the right hip inwards. As a result, the weight is transferred to the left leg. All these are accompanied by feinting the right hand punch. Note that for the real right hand punch one has to turn the right hip through the centerline [5]. Now the opponent is in the perfect position to throw a left hand uppercut:

OPEN YouTube in a new window. OPEN GFYCAT in a new window.

This is perfectly in-line with Jack Dempsey’s observations:

Jack Dempsey [1]:

“Uppercuts are particularly effective at close quarters against an opponent capable of blocking your various hooks to body and head or capable of bobbing under your hooks to head… With practice, you’ll discover that you can feint an opponent into making any number of moves. You can feint him into slipping, so that he’ll be a target for a shovel. You can feint him into bobbing toward an uppercut. And you can feint him into disclosing what defense he will use against any particular blow.”

After successfully slipping two punches by moving his head down, Mike Tyson (boxer in black trunks) returns his head to the original position. He forgets to move the head into the newposition. As Mike Tyson straightens his body in waist, he got hit by the leftuppercut which clearly staggered him.

Technique 4: pivot step

To avoid this situation, Mike had to move his head somehow to the new spot after the dip. One solution he used was the pivot step to his left [1], which helped him to simultaneously avoid the line of fire of the uppercut and throw his own left hook:

OPEN GFYCAT in a new window. OPEN YouTube in a new window. OPEN PINTEREST in a new window.

Then goes a counter attack with a straight right hand or a right hook. Again, in these example, Mike moves his head in such away that the chin is facing almost backwards at some moment of his attack.

Technique 5: parry

This is basically an advanced version of the previous technique. Mike was able to time and push away | parry the right uppercut of the opponent while stepping in:

OPEN GFYCAT in a new window. OPEN YouTube in a new window. OPEN PINTEREST in a new window.

, and then counter with a straight right hand or a looping right hook. In the fight with James “Bonecrusher” Smith, one can see Mike using the same technique to parry the straight right hand of the opponent. Kostya Tszue was mentioning how with this technique he was able to damage the opponents elbow, if they were not forming the powerline correctly [6].

back to top

Note on Head Movements


back to top


We considered some elements of simultaneous defense and attack of Mike Tyson when he was dealing with opponent’s uppercut. The exact execution of the technical elements such as feints, pivot- and side-steps, parries, and head-slots changes requires better understanding of basic strategy (Part VIII) and punching mechanics (Part V, Part VIa, Part VIb, Part VIc, Part VId). With the combined knowledge, we will be bringing all elements together to discuss actual fighting of Mike Tyson from Part IX onwards.

back to top


1. Jack Dempsey. Championship Fighting by Jack Dempsey (1950). pdf source 1, pdf source 2

2. Cus D’Amato and Muhammad Ali (1970). short youtube clipfull youtube clip

3. What it take to be a champ? short youtube clip

4. RING SMARTS – Episode 1 – The Jab – Paulie Malignaggi. youtube clip

5. Edwin L. Haislet. Boxing (1968). pdf source 1

6. Kostya Tszue – Masterclass (in Russian). youtube clip

back to top

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Science of Mike Tyson and Elements of Peek-A-Boo: part IV

  1. darius Brown says:

    Hey this is a great resource on peekaboo. Thank you very much for posting such useful info. I am studying the style for use on 6’5″+ opponents and have found these fundamentals to work in practice.

  2. alexander says:

    Hi , great resource 🙂

    I am a fan of Mike Tyson and Cus D’Amato and i am training boxing at the moment . I saw your page and i started reading your articles about the science of mike tyson and elements of peek a boo style . Great work , but i have a question . is it possible for me to use the peek a boo style if i am 185 cm tall , and i weight in 85 kilos ? I see that you know much about that style and i was thinking i could ask I ask this question becouse i think i am too high for using it , or am i?

    • SugarBoxing says:

      Cus’s phylosophie was 1) do not get hit 2) be exciting

      in our next articles, we will start explaining how not to get hit according to Cus D”Amato. We have not really done it yet, most of the stuff was just introduction.

      Being exciting? This is subjective, you can definitely take some stuff from Tyson, build upon, bring your own stuff and be better than him.

  3. Eric T says:

    One of the biggest things about Mike’s style not covered, but easily seen if you watch most of his full fights, is that as the opponent was throwing a jab Mike would slip it just slight enough where it just brushed him the he threw the monster hook over top of it.

    If this didn’t knock them out (most of his KO’s were from this) then it surely hurt enough to make the opponents scared to even open up to jab…which is brilliant…because jabbing is the whole core of anyone’s style. I miss Mike in his prime…I miss him bad.

  4. Jeff mci says:

    i study this website all the time ( along with his videos)…the funny thing is.. there aren’t many videos on Jose Torres or floyd patterson..i wonder why… — thanks for the website…its help alot in my technique..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *