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Context: a match between two counter puncher boxers in the manga リクドウ. After a calm fist round, in the second round they begin an intense fight during which both throw a lot of counter punches to each other. However, none of them manages to hit the other. At one point, one of the two thinks:

まだか… 〝底〟は… 合わせる本命の拳はまだ深くに… 初めてだ ここまで深い所に…

What is the meaning of 合わせる本命の拳? According to Kenkyusha dictionary, 本命 has two meanings: "a probable winner, the favorite" and "one's heart's desire, what one really wants", but I think in this case it is the second one. As for 合わせる, I am not sure about its meaning and about who is the subject of the verb, the boxer himself, his opponent or the punches? My idea is that the punches he is usually able to deal with this time are causing him difficulties. My translation attempt:

The bottom... again? The punches that suit me/my fighting style and wich I desire are sending me down... It's the first time I reach such a deep place...

You can see the pages here and here. Thank you for your help!

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(~に)合わせる means "to connect to ~", "to make something in time/tune with ~" or "to place/set something together with ~". For example, 音楽に合わせて踊る, 彼女の休みに合わせて私も休む.

In this case, 合わせる拳 means "(enemy's) punch after which I blow a counterpunch". It is a relative clause made from (敵の)拳に(自分のカウンターを)合わせる. 本命の is "the most desired".

  • Thank you for your answer. So I imagine that in this case まだ深くに doesn't literally mean "more/still deeply", but that he still has to wait before blowing his counterpunch, right? – Marco Sep 30 at 4:59
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    @Marco In pp. 14-15 he clearly says ここまで深い"所"にカウンターの狙いを定めたのは初めてだ, so this 深い has some physical meaning. The second frame in p. 14 illustrates what a 深い punch is like. – naruto Sep 30 at 5:24
  • Thank you, now everything is clear! – Marco Sep 30 at 5:37
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I guess both denotation "a probable winner, the favorite" and "one's heart's desire, what one really wants" are close. I suppose adjective impressive or impactful are close to 「本命{ほんめい}の」. But this time, in boxing context, the word "killer" fits to the counter blow.

The subject of "合わせる" is "the boxer" who is trying to react opponent's punch to smash his "killer" counter blow while the boxer seeking his "very" moment.

"Not yet... 'The 'limit' is... Unleashing the "killer/best" shot to follow up is much deeper... For the first time, the deeper moment like this."

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