Knockouts are the most beautiful surprises in boxing.
Punches go back and forth, and then *BOOM*, it’s over. It’s part of what truly makes it “the sweet science”. The perfect combination of physical power combined with mental brilliance. The greatest knockouts of all, are the ones that touch you. Some are so incredible you replay it over and over again, others are so painful you don’t ever want to see again.
As a fighter, I empathize with the pain of losing in the most embarrassing way possible. It’s sad to see a man give it his best and come up short. Every time I see a knockout, it still feels like it’s my first time. And the more connected you are in a fighter, the more emotional it becomes. As common as they are in boxing, I still get chills down my down my spine when a fighter gets knocked out. Sometimes they’re easy to take; a guy gets dazed and then counted out. Other times, it’s serious; it looks like a guy getting killed. It looks like your superhero just died. It feels like your invincible God had become mortal.
As a fight fan, knockouts can be the most satisfying thing in the world. Sometimes seeing your favorite fighter knockout his “enemy” can be the best feeling you’ve ever had. It’s that one thing you’ve been waiting for all year long. It’s like an early Christmas present. You sleep so happy that night, almost as if YOU had just become champion. You can die happy now. All your dreams have come true.
Here are my 10 greatest knockouts in boxing:
What makes a GREAT knockout?
If it’s gotta be a great knockout, we have to set some standards. I don’t care to see a “guided” prospect beating up tomato cans. I don’t need to see a guy knocked out for the 15th time. Read on below to see my criteria for what constitutes a truly GREAT knockout.
It has to be an fight. I’m not interested in seeing sacrificial lambs. I want to see two champions battling it out. Or up and coming challengers aiming for the title. Or a changing of the guard from one champion to another. Or 2 knockout punchers in their prime. The knockout has to come in a significant fight. It has to be a defining moment in boxing history. Something EPIC!
What was the pre-fight build-up? What was the aftermath? Did somebody’s big mouth get silenced? Did somebody’s career get ruined? How sweet was the victory? How unexpected was the victory? Was there a crazy upset? What was the back story?
I’m looking for historical significance.
How devastating was the punch? How nasty was it? Did the head snap? Was the guy out before he hit the ground? Did somebody look like he died? Did the ref even bother to count?
I’m looking for raw brutality!
Timing, precision, accuracy. Nothing beats the beauty of a perfectly-executed trap. It’s not always fun to see an all-out brawl. You want to see movement, intelligence, and then…BAM!
I’m looking for technical genius.
4. CHIN HISTORY
Had this guy ever been knocked out before? Was he known for being invincible or having a granite chin? How shocking was the knockout? Did the oddsmakers have it all wrong?
I’m looking for the unexpected.
***NOTE: the knockouts are not listed in any particular order.
1. Manny Pacquiao vs Ricky Hatton (KO 2)
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (48-3, 36 KO), the speedy unorthodox southpaw was challenging the once-beaten Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton (45-1, 32 KO), for his 140lb title. Ricky Hatton was the #1 junior welterweight, known for his aggressive mauling pressure style, and only beaten once in his career 3 fights ago to undefeated welterweight hall-of-famer Floyd Mayweather Jr. This was no embarrassment as Hatton accounted very well for himself while being outboxed, potshotted, and ultimately TKO’ed late in round 10 by the naturally bigger man. Since the loss, Hatton successfully reestablished his old form at his natural weight in the 140lb division, winning two fights, successfully TKO’ing the respectable Paul Malignaggi (25-1) who had never been stopped before.
Manny Pacquiao, established as the Ring Magazine’s #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, was continuing his dominance in the higher weight classes looking to add Ricky Hatton’s belt to his collection. In the previous year, Pacquiao had already won titles in the super featherweight division (130lbs), lightweight division (136lbs), and also in a catchweight fight with Oscar De La Hoya at 145lbs.
Pacquiao carried the momentum of having beaten all challengers impressively (except for Marquez, who always had Pacquiao’s number). Hatton, with his new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr (the father of the guy who beat him), was still unbeaten at 140lbs and naturally the bigger man over Pacquiao. Both were forward-moving fighters with lots of aggression. Would Pacquiao’s southpaw speed and power prevail? Or would Hatton’s natural size and recent improvements in boxing skill maintain his standing at 140lb?
The fight ended in a knockout as expected. Pacquiao’s speed and awkwardness caught Hatton with many punches in the first round. Hatton seemed to have lost his cool in wanting to fight fire with fire and ended up getting put down on the canvas twice. In the second round, Hatton landed a couple hard shots and seemed to have regained control until Pacquiao landed the perfect overhand left at the end of the round. Hatton collapsed lifelessly onto to his back as the ref waived off the fight immediately.
2. Kostya Tszyu vs Zab Judah (KO 2)
The brash talking undefeated American superstar Zab Judah (27-0, 21 KO) came into the ring with the reputation of an super-fast, super-skilled, talented, power-punching southpaw. He talked a big game and so far had backed it up.
Kostya Tszyu (27-1, 22 KO) with was a boxing prodigy from the Soviet Union boxing program. He had an impressive amateur career of 200+ wins and only 5 losses, winning bronze at the 1988 seoul olympic games, an also beating future world champion Vernon Forrest at the 1991 World Championships in Sydney, Australia.
Tsyzu was known for having fearsome power and proven pedigree. The only reason he was the underdog was because he was previously stopped by Vince Phillips. That was however 4 years ago and almost forgotten as he stayed undefeated since and practically knocked out everyone he fought since.
Judah was the favorite but Tszyu was very much a live and dangerous underdog. The first round had Judah landing a big shot to stun Tszyu but he maintained control to finish the round. In the second round Tszyu stalked Judah carefully before landing one perfectly placed right hand that dropped Judah to the ground immediately. It has been one of the fastest falls I had ever seen. The cross-eyed Judah gets up immediately but falls down again…and again…and again. One punch, 3 knockdowns, the fight was over.
3. Thomas Hearns vs Roberto Duran (KO 2)
Thomas Hearns (38-1, 32 KO) was an imposing junior middleweight with freakish height and reach advantages. Known for blindingly fast hand speed and incredible punching power delivered from long range, he was quite possibly seen as the scariest fighter in the welterweight and junior middleweight division…except for his not-yet-exposed glass chin.
Roberto Duran (77-5, 58 KO) was a blown-up former lightweight champion who’s incredible skills, punching power, iron chin, and overall manliness allowed him to fatten his way up the weight classes while still taking belts (and scalps) along the way. Only 7 months ago in his previous fight, he had performed exceptionally well against a bigger and HALL-OF-FAME middleweight Marvin Hagler losing a razor close decision. Duran was winning on all scorecards going into the 14th round, and the only man to go the distance with Hagler in his championship reign. Despite being naturally much smaller, Duran was very much considered a respectable opponent for Hearns.
The first round was full of excitement with both men measuring and then trading and landing shots on each other. It was very much a competitive brawl with Hearns making use of his reach advantage. Competitive, that is…until Duran gets cut and dropped near the end of the first round. Hearns jumps on him and unloads a barrage sending Duran down for the second time in the first round.
Duran opened the second round throwing back but wasn’t fully recovered yet. Bcked up along the ropes, Hearns “The Hitman” unloads dozens of punches before finally landing the perfect sweeping right hand to drop Duran face first. Amazingly enough, Duran regain consciousness and back up on his feet only seconds later but the fight had already been stopped. Hearns became the first man to knockout the iron-chinned Duran.
4. Julian Jackson vs Herol Graham (KO 4)
Julian Jackson (40-1, 38 KO) one of the hardest punchers ever to lace up a pair of gloves took on Herol Graham (43-2, 26 KO), a elusive tricky defensive southpaw from the United Kingdom for the vacant WBC world middleweight title.
Graham had done everything perfectly the first three rounds, hurting Jackson several times while avoiding Jackson’s famous knockout shots. In the corner before round 4, the doctor offered to give Jackson, with swollen eyes and behind on points, one more round before the bout was stopped.
Graham started round 4 dominating the Jackson the same way he did the past 3 rounds. With Jackson stunned in the corner, Graham went in for the kill only to get hit by a devastating counter right hook. Jackson’s punch landed right on the chin and Graham was out long before he hit the canvas, falling like a statue and remaining motionless for some time.
5. Buster Douglas vs Mike Tyson (KO 10)
James “Buster” Douglas (29-4, 19 KO), a disregarded contender, was thought to be just another opponent for the seemingly invincible “Iron” Mike Tyson (37-0, 33 KO), famous for destroying all his opponents in senseless fashion. Tyson-mania had hit the 90’s creating a frenzy and fan-cult like no other boxer before. He was a heavyweight with brutal power, speed, skills, and a menacing personality like no other fighter. The odds-makers had Douglas a 42:1 underdog, the biggest mismatch on the books ever for a heavyweight title fight.
Unfortunately for Tyson, his name would serve as one of the most stunning upsets in history. Tyson, guided by the sneaky Don King, had lost his trainer and manager and was no longer training like he used to be. Douglas on the other hand, had been recently motivated and inspired by the recent death of his mother.
Tyson was met with a capable and willing Douglas in the first half of the fight, with Douglas establishing his long reach advantage with a thudding jab. Although Tyson seemed to have lost his aura, taking more punishment than usual, he managed to knock down Douglas in round 8. Douglas however was not going to be denied; he got up from the knockdown and used his 13-inch reach advantage to out-jab and out-punch a weary Mike Tyson.
The unthinkable finally happened when Douglas stunned Tyson with a huge right uppercut and then put in left hook, right cross, left hook combination to send Tyson down for the count. History was made and Tyson never recaptured his original form again.
6. Juan Manuel Marquez vs Manny Pacquiao IV (KO 6)
Manny Pacquiao (54-4, 38 KO) up until only very recently, after losing a highly controversial decision to Timothy Bradley and winning a controversial decision against Marques in their 3rd fight, was boxing’s OTHER pound-4-pound great, along with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao was a great fighter and man of the people. A former featherweight who had won titles in 8 weight classes (the only man in boxing history to have done so), was known for his blazing fast hand speed, knockout punching-power, high volume, aggressive, and unorthodox southpaw fighting style.
Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6, 39 KO) had already been established as one of Mexico’s greatest champions, an incredible feat considering the country’s tradition of producing hall-of-fame fighters. Trained by the great Nacho Beristain, one of boxing’s finest trainers, Marquez was known for his great boxing skill and counter-punching ability. While not known for power, he was certainly able to hurt and knockout opponents if they dared to engage him.
On paper, Pacquiao would be considered to be the more accomplished and more capable of the two, considering his superhuman power and speed. But in reality, Marquez possessed the stylistic advantage as shown in previous fights where he definitely held Pacquiao’s number and landed great counters.
Pacquiao had drawn in the first match, and won the 2nd and 3rd fights by slim margins, creating a great resent in Marquez as well as many in the boxing community who believed Pacquiao was the benefactor of rotten decisions. Without other more exciting fights to be made and their 3rd fight considered inconclusive of capping off the trilogy, the two decided to meet up in the ring again to determine yet again once and for all who was the better fighter. With hardcore fans in Mexico and Philippines to cheer on their countrymen, the fight produced yet even more drama and excitement before ending with a clear result.
After 6 even rounds with both fighters trading heavy blows and each scoring one knockdown, Pacquiao lunged in at Marquez at the end of round 6 to get the last say. Marquez dipped his head out of the way and threw the same counter right he had throwing all fight long. The punch landed flush on Pacquiao’s sending him face first to the canvas and OUT COLD! It was a shocking sight to see Pacquiao who had never before been vulnerable since he became the pay-per-view star and seemingly steamrolled through all the weight classes and opponents.
7. Sergio Martinez vs Paul Williams II (KO 2)
Sergio Martinez (45-2, 24 KO), a flashy southpaw from Argentina was set for a rematch with another southpaw from Georgia, USA in Paul Williams (39-1, 27 KO). At the time, both fighters were considered highly regarded prospects who were ducked and kept out of title belt contention because they were too big of a threat to the existing middleweight titleholders. Both were southpaw, tall, long, and skilled…too many dangerous intangibles and without the pay-per-view draw to back up the risk.
The first fight was a 12-round classic with both fighters landing and taking incredible punches. Martinez fought using power, speed, and movement as he landed flashy punches and potshots using his crowd-pleasing unorthodox style. Williams fought using pressure and volume, throwing many punches while slipping and defending with subtlety. After 12 rounds, Williams had won a close decision some people felt should have been given to Martinez.
The second fight started out like the first fight with lots of action. Both fighters punched and moved aggressively, trading punches from the opening bell. Williams pressured with volume punches while Martinez was content with running and throwing big counters.
1 minute into the second round, Martinez landed a picture-perfect overhand left on William’s chin with a HUGE *THUD* as the crowd went wild. The normally iron-chinned Williams was out before he fell, eyes open and crumbled face first onto the canvas.
8. Ray Mercer vs Tommy Morrison (KO 5)
Undefeated heavyweight Ray “Merciless” Mercer (17-0, 12 KO) was making his first defense of the WBO title against another undefeated heavyweight Tommy “The Duke” Morrison (28-0, 24 KO), a fast and powerful heavyweight not yet known for a weak chin.
Both were good boxers and had previously met in the amateurs where Morrison lost a split decision to Ray Mercer at the Olympic Trials, who would later go on to win the heavyweight gold medal at the Seoul Olympics.
Morrison did well the first three rounds, outboxing and leading on all the scorecards. Morrison’s crisper combinations and constant head movement had successfully confused Ray Mercer. In the 4th, Mercer landed several hard shots wobbling Morrison multiple times and started the fight into a brawl.
At the beginning of the 5th round, Mercer landed several hard punches that froze Morrison along the ropes before unloading over a dozen unanswered punches as Morrison’s lifeless body took unnecessary punishment unable to fall down because of the ropes holding him up. It is one of the most brutal KO’s in boxing history.
9. Rocky Marciano vs Jersey Joe Walcott (KO 13)
At the old age of 38, Jersey Joe Walcott (51-16, 32 KO) was making the first defense of his heavyweight title against a man a decade younger than him, the up-and-coming Rocky Marciano (42-0, 37 KO). Walcott was a true veteran of the sport, with smooth, slick boxing skills. He was (at his time) the oldest man to fight for a heavyweight title at 33 years of age, knocking Joe Louis down three in 2 unsuccessful bids at his title. Many observers Walcott deserved the win in the first fight against Louis.
In 1951, Walcott finally beat the legendary Ezzard Charles in their rematch and successfully won the heavyweight title on his fifth try. With this victory, he became the oldest man ever to win the world heavyweight crown (holding this distinction until George Foreman won the title at age 45 in 1994).
The undefeated Rocky “The Brockton Buster” Marciano, was every bit the opposite of his opponent. Young, small, awkward, and possibly the shortest-armed champion in boxing history. While Marciano wasn’t known for finesse or slick boxing skills, he did have an awkward style, unrelenting stamina, a hall-of-fame chin, and truly incredible punching power. We’re talking about the kind of power that breaks jaws, teeth, arms, and leaves opponents in a coma. The odds-makers established Marciano as the clear favorite.
In the first round, Rocky was knocked down for the first time in his career. Walcott then proceeded to outbox him and prove all the oddsmakers and fight predictions wrong about him being too old. Midway through the fight something had gotten into Marciano’s eyes (perhaps the solution used to stem blood-flow in cuts), making it hard for him to see the man in front of him.
After 12 rounds, Walcott was in total control and ahead on all scorecards. Marciano had been knocked down, cut, blinded, and only three rounds away from losing his first fight. 30 seconds into the thirteenth round, Walcott backed into the ropes and tried to walk Marciano into a deadly right hand counter. The only problem was Marciano’s right hand got there first. Walcott slumped forward immediately, unconscious. His body kneeled lifelessly against the ropes and then tipped over as his head smashed into the canvas. Rocky Marciano became the new heavyweight champion and would remain undefeated forever.
10. Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks (KO 1)
The young undefeated heavyweight champion “Iron” Mike Tyson (34-0, 30 KO), deep in his prime, was taking on another undefeated heavyweight champion Michael Spinks (31-0, 21 KO). The fight was billed as, “Once and For All” to establish who the ultimate heavyweight champion. Each man possessing a legitimate claim to the title.
Michael Spinks, a gold medalist in the 1976 Olympics, was previously an undefeated light heavyweight champion who had moved up into the heavyweight ranks with success, beating the hall-of-famer Larry Holmes for the title and defending it three times. He had never been knocked down and up until this fight was dominant every time he entered the ring. Spinks was rated among the greatest light-heavyweights of all time and was the first reigning light-heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight title.
Mike Tyson was a physically-gifted prodigy with an aura of invincibility, known for his intimidating array of speed, power, and fighting prowess. Despite being shorter than his opponents, he fought with an explosive style, stalking down opponents before knocking out with sheer speed and power.
The highly-anticipated fight was compared to the first fight between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali when both men were undefeated. Most people picked Tyson to win by knockout because of his “speed and devastating power”. A few people, such as Muhammad Ali, had picked Spinks to out-box Tyson.
The fight was anything but a fight. Tyson attacked Spinks from the opening bell throwing hard hooks as Spinks ran and hid behind a high guard, too scared to engage. Cleverly, Tyson threw a right hand to the body that put Spinks down. Spinks got up quickly and right as the referee put them together, Tyson walked in and landed a right hand that put Spinks down for good. It took Mike Tyson only 91 seconds to become the undisputed heavyweight champion.
What are YOUR favorite boxing knockouts?
I was really torn putting together this list. There were so many fantastic masterpieces of the sweet science that for whatever reason didn’t get included. It’s humbling to be part of a sport with so much genius in brutality.
Many of the knockouts I put here are the ones I lived through. They featured fighters I was personally invested in which made the knockouts all the more shocking. There were so many other great ones, especially on the part of historical significance, but I wasn’t as connected to their back stories.
This is where I urge you to share your favorite boxing knockouts (or FIGHTING knockouts). Post it in the comments below, and tell me why it stuck out so much in your head. Who knows…I might make a part 2 of this list. 🙂
The beautiful 1-2 KO of Hasim Rahman by Lennox Lewis.. One of Lenny’s most sizzling end games!
I agree, I also think the Tyson knockout should be on a list.
That Tyson KO was one for me that goes in Johnny’s category of one that was so painful to watch I don’t really like to view it all that often. It was a bit saddening to see an old childhood favourite absorbing so much more punishment than necessary. I know Tyson had been a dick to Lennox and I wont say he didn’t deserve his flogging but I think Eddie Cotton should have waved that fight off far earlier. By gifting Tyson all those chances he only prolonged the inevitable and could have caused Tyson serious harm.
Clean finish. I remember Rahman dropping straight to the ground after Lewis mugged him.
Tyson vs Douglas should be higher up, it had more significance than any of the others above it.
Joe Louis vs Schmelling and Foreman vs Frazier purely for the shock factor.
Walcott uppercut on Charles.
Patterson left hook on Johansen to regain the title.
Ali vs Foreman for its significance.
I didn’t have these in any particular order. The other ones you mentioned were pretty great KO’s as well!
I have a list of my own.
1. Alexis Arguello vs Alfredo Escalera (2nd fight)
2. Arturo Frias vs Claude Noel
3. Ray Mancini vs Arturo Frias
4. Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman
5. Alexis Arguello vs Ray Mancini
6. Marvin Hagler vs Thomas Hearns
7. Aaron Pryor vs Alexis Arguello (2nd fight)
8. Thomas Hearns vs Roberto Duran
9. Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston (2nd fight)
10. Alexis Arguello vs Andy Ganigan
Beautiful list, Gabriel. I haven’t seen some of these. Can’t wait to check them out. Thank you for sharing.
Wait, let me change that.
1. Alexis Arguello vs Alfredo Escalera (2nd fight) (TKO 13 – Super Featherweight)*
2. Ray Mancini vs Arturo Frias (TKO 1 – Lightweight)*
3. Rafael Bazooka Limón vs Rolando Navarrete (KO 12 – Super Featherweight)*
4. Ray Mancini vs Bobby Chacon (TKO 3 – Lightweight)*
5. Alexis Arguello vs Ray Mancini (TKO 14 – Lightweight)*
6. Cornelius Boza Edwards vs John Verderosa (TKO 3 – Super Featherweight)
7. Aaron Pryor vs Alexis Arguello (TKO 14 – Super Lightweight)*
8. Thomas Hearns vs Roberto Duran (TKO 2 – Super Welterweight)*
9. Rolando Navarrete vs Cornelius Boza Edwards (KO 5 – Super Featherweight)*
10. Mike Tyson vs Marvis Frazier (TKO 1 – Heavyweight)
11. Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman (KO 8 – Heavyweight)*
12. Bobby Chacon vs Arturo Frias (TKO 7 – Lightweight)
13. Arturo Frias vs Claude Noel (KO 8 – Lightweight) *
14. Alexis Arguello vs Kevin Rooney (TKO 2 – Super Lightweight)
15. Rafael Bazooka Limón vs Idelfonso Bethelmy (TKO 15 – Super Featherweight)*
Every single one of these are in YouTube.
P.S: You may have encountered me on YouTube as “Calixto Etxebarria” with Bazooka Limón as a profile pic.
I was the guy who corrected that other woman, as she called said that you look Japanese though you’re Vietnamese.
Prescot vs Khan. The criteria was simply the intensity and duration of whatever (weird) reaction I made in response to the KO (not from the satisfaction/disappointment of who won). This was true in this fight. In fact, I might have even been a bit pro-Khan at the time, but that didn’t matter because the only thing I could react to when I saw the beginning of the KO was literally what I was seeing on the screen. It didn’t matter which fighter I wanted to win or there backgrounds. It was just bewilderment of what I was seeing. Surprise, shock, fear, and unknowingly, a bit of laughter. But what lasts until this day is the probably the fear. Now, whenever I fight with no headgear, I always clench my jaws tight because of this.
Pacquiao vs Marquez IV kind of reinforced that idea. The difference was the fact that Pacquiao was lazily lunging forward add to the fact that Marquez was fighting the same guy for the fourth time already and knew Pacquaio had no choice but to fight aggressively for his promise to his fans. So that came more as a disappointment and was less of a shock seeing that there was a noticeable handicap outside of abilities.
That was a great knockout, especially with the voice of the British commentators going wild. (Honestly, British commentators are my favorite…I wish they called every PPV I watch.) The Prescott-Khan knockout reminds me very much of the Cintron-Matthysse knockout.
About Pacquiao vs Marquez…I’d have to say Marquez always had Pacquiao’s number and this time around he got the knockout. You can go on and on about strategies and this and that but bottom line is, Pacquiao was always a pretty good fighter (you don’t become multi-division champion without being able to fight inside/outside/wherever), except only, Marquez had his style down.
“Pacquiao was always a pretty good fighter”
Pretty good? He’s an ATG.
And he didn’t fight Oscar at a catch weight- it was the full limit; 147.
when i have my first amateur fight i hope i knockout my opponent in spectacular fashion like tyson did to spinks or something similar. im 16 years old 5’10 105kg my fighting weight is about 90-92kg need to get back in shape and start competing.
I think ali vs foreman was one of the best knockouts. Ali was an underdog and much older than foreman. The strategy involved and actual knockout itself is extremely impressive.
I considered that one too, it seemed more from fatigue than actual power and I don’t like how Foreman was still very much conscious.
I agree with Johnny, I think the Foreman stoppage was significant only in that it was a super fight and the result was surprising to many but the actual stoppage was gas related and not a high calibre KO imo.
Kostya Tszyu vs Zab Judah should not be in the number two spot, it should’nt even be on the list…
I liked that one so much. Especially after following both fighters. The hype surrounding both of them was great going into that fight. Great knockout and back story.
what about tommy hearns vs marvin hagler? great fight and a spectacular knockout.
I like that one, too. But I didn’t rank it because Hearns was already known for having a glass chin and he was the smaller man in that fight.
hey youre vietnamese right? do you have any words on any viet boxers out here?
Ali vs Liston 2???
I haven’t seen any lately. I remember a guy with the last name of “Nguyen” from Texas a year or two ago. He wasn’t a champion though but he was an excited fighter. I do remember Skipper Kelp, who was half viet and very proud of his Vietnamese heritage.
A brilliant knockout that was quite recent was Adonis Stevenson vs Tavoris cloud. I’m not a fan of Stevenson but wow.
Another brilliant KO that isn’t quite at this level that most of the guys in the US won’t have seen is between two Brittish fighters Derry Mathews and Tommy Coyle. Worth a watch.
The next article must be body shot KOs! Big fan of Hatton’s liver shot on Castillo.
I think Roy Jones vs Antonio Tarver 2 and Roy Jones vs Glen Johnson – even though im a Jones fan those knock outs were shocking a had a massive impacted on the boxing world and not to mention there were pretty good as well (although a bit scary) .
Agreed, I used to think Roy Jones, Manny Pacquiao and recently Anderson Silva were gods, superhumans, but after their stunning knockout losses they looked too human.
Another great Knockout was Light Heavyweights Archie Moore against Yvonn Durelle. It is possibly also the greatest fight in history. Moore was on the canvas various times throughout the fight including three times in the first round but his courage got him up each time and in the 11th he knocked Durelle out. Arhie Moore knocked more opponents out than any one else.
Micky Ward vs. Alfonzo Sanchez. I believe in body work, he did it like no one else could. 9 times outta 10, the knockout was cemented with a body shot.
thank you for taking the time out to write these detailed articles, i love your website. i train for self defense purposes, and even thought boxing is not preferable in a self defense situation where you must defend your well being in a confrontation, i love boxing with all my heart and i train like a boxer bcuz the condition you get in boxing is hard to find in traditional martial arts system (excluding mma). When i train, i utilize my boxing skills to land body shots because in a street fight your fist will get all fucked up if you focus on head hunting ( i know by experience, i learned the hard way). the techniques in boxing are very simple but effective if used to your advantage in a street fight ( i say used to your advantage because you would still lose a fight that you won if you messed your fist up in the process of winning due to head hunting). A perfectly timed punch to the body can end any confrontation on the streets, so theres no point in head hunting in a street fight. with that thought in mind, i train to land body shots to protect my fist and if i have to strike your face i prefer to use my elbows.
Expertboxing has been my go-to website when i need a tip on how to properly throw a punch. I have learned sooooooooo much from your website it amazes me that im not boxing professionally, you truly are better than a personal trainer. i dont train in a gym, which means your website is my crutch for now. i train with a partner, our boxing styles are both based and created with the help of your website, thank you johnny, for doing what you do. You’ve really elevated my skills in boxing in ways i never thought were possible, your building champions with this website and you dont even know it bro, once again, thank you….
If properly trained, your fists should receive no damage from headhunting. The skin won’t even rip let alone bone damage. However, if u can win with a body blow, all the better since hitting the head might be seen as an attempt to seriously injure or kill.
Technique and protective equipment do help prevent hand injuries but they alone cannot GUARANTEE them safety. Experience would teach you very quickly that the hands are not made for punching. Anytime that you have a hand (made of tiny bones) go up against the skull (made of a thicker bone), you risk the chance of hand injury no matter how well you think you are “trained”.
Imagine a car running into a denser wall. Which one do you think will show more damage? The car will easily get battered because it’s not made for it, not structured for it.
Now imagine all the possibilities during a fight, where your hand might land at a less-than-perfect angle because the opponent’s head moved, or maybe he blocked with his elbows (a very hard bone), or something else. There are so many ways that your hand can land at the wrong angle that hurts the hand or bends the wrist, etc. There are so many ways you can get a hand injury even if you have so-called perfect technique.
Look at basketball players who have “good technique”. They still get injured over the years because even doing something as NATURAL as running and jumping, is still highly stressful on the body. And they ligaments, muscles, and joints eventually do fall apart for many of them. For anybody to come out and say, “Oh, your hands are hurting because you don’t have good punching technique.” would show a serious lack of first-hand experience in the sport.
I really appreciate the comment. It means a lot to me. Thank you.
i know it wasnt a ko but that makes it all the more amazing.look up “larry goes down”. it shows earnie shavers, who most critics agree was p4p the hardest puncher of all time landing what he claimed was his hardest punch on larry holmes…an overhand right with 8oz gloves that could have literally killed anyone else. somehow holmes got up and went on to win that fight by stoppage which is why holmes is my all time favorite fighter.. he had amazing heart. also u ever see tua ko ruiz?
WOW, that right hand would have definitely killed most of the champions you’ve seen since then. I’m definitely a big fan of Larry Holmes and a true believer of the saying, “The only thing harder than being a legend is following a legend.”
Mike Weaver knocking out John Tate in the 15th was a good one too.
Sharp hook at the very end. He was out for sure!
I’ll never forget seeing the big, strong, giant John Tate being ko’d in the 15th round of that fight.
Seeing big boy Johnny go down and out like a mighty oak and not getting back up was shocking
and a big disappointment for me as a young impressionable youngster.
I do not understand why Spinks did not fight a distance fight with an over aggressive Tyson. I see Spinks letting Tyson inside with little resistance . Please someone offer some insight I am missing something here. lol.. This Fight almost looks rigged.
You can watch or read up on the post fight interviews. He did try to keep away and box and go a few rounds to warm up and analyze Tyson a bit more but then Tyson just ran straight at him with no fear. And so he felt he had to stand his ground and at least earn respect.
Indeed, it IS hard to keep away an opponent who has absolutely no regard for your power whatsoever. And also, all this happened in 90 seconds. That was a very VERY fast fight. Spinks basically had no time to even look at Tyson. All he probably saw was a blur, punches, and then he was on the floor. Get up, repeat, and it was over. Things appear much differently when you’re in the ring.
even though this comment is unrelated to the topic, I wanted to ask you if possible subtitling videos in another language like Spanish because I’m from Brazil and I really like boxing, but here is the country of football, not boxing, if you subtitle in spanish countries of South America like mine would find it easier to understand.
I used the translator, so it must have some mistakes, but the important thing is that you understand
Hi Joao, have you tried checking out the Spanish website?: http://www.expertboxing.es 🙂
About Pacquiao KOed by Márquez I see a lot of times that punch and Marquez did not close his eyes.
Marquez saw the feets of Pac, move to his left and throw the “killer” punch.
I hear about that was a “lucky” punch, but I allways say, “Luck MArquez did not killed Pac” literally killed.
Sorry I have a terryble english
It’s most likely not a “lucky” punch. Johnny did not say it was either. However, the factors that made that possible I would consider them stacked up for Marquez to have the advantage in this fight.
Patrick from Michigan
A couple of decent KOs to consider are Thomas Hearns vs. Cuevas, and Hearns Vs. Shuller. Both were title fights if I am not mistaken. I love watching old Hearns fights on Youtube. One of my favorite fighters for sure. I can’t believe u said he had a glass chin though… BTW who did u think punched harder Hearns or Gerald McClellan ?
They were not the same weight class I don’t believe. I would guess McClellan punched a little harder.
Off topic here Johny but I have a question…
My wrist are always soar for 1 day or two ( worst case scenario ) after heavybag sessions… I wrap and use 16oz, I hit pretty hard with good technique, except on hooks where i bend my wrist sometimes, so i stopped puting any power in hooks and working on getting technique perfect
Even when i dont throw hooks and just jab cross and quick punches, my weaker hand wrist is soar with tiny pain next day, and strong hand wrist is soar but no tiny pain… Is it the wrapping technique, is it the bag I hit at the gym, or I need long rest ? Its been happening for few weeks now, please let me know if its normal and they will get stronger eventually, or i need a week or two off for sure ?
Work on your technique, don’t over-train. Make sure you feel comfortable going light before you can go hard.
Ok what about this one. Probably the most excruciating KO I’ve ever seen in boxing that made me really cringe is when Tommy Morrison started cruising against Ray Mercer only to be caught against the ropes and sledged with that battering of punches that had him out about half way through but the ref didn’t stop it until way too late. That could have near killed poor Tommy.
Another good KO was Chris Byrd, elusive as a ghost, one of the few defensive masters at HW who could stand right in front of a man and not get hit by anything significant, but who was “ghost busted” against Ike Ibeabuchi against the ropes with a vicious uppercut that nearly took his head off.
You’re kidding about the Mercer & Morrison suggestion, right? That was number 8 on my list.
No shit, sorry man I read the article awhile back and forgot you had that one!! 🙂
One of my favorite knockouts is when Danny Garcia knocked out Amir Khan
I’m finding it difficult to go past the Marquez/Pac KO across all ranges in terms of devastation, absoluteness and the upset that it was. To see such a great champion, one of the best boxers lb for lb of all time imo get wasted so badly was chilling. Marquez is also a very good fighter as well though. What a cracker run of fights they had!!
I’m with you on this. What a total shocker. I had a bad feeling something upsetting was going to happen when Pacquiao went down in round 3 to a wild lead right. Great series of fights for sure.
Did anyone outside of the u.k watch the George Groves Vs Carl Froch fight at the end of last year?
Personally, from a neutral point of view, I think George was cheated in the match. Now we all know Carl has got the chin of an Ox and has a great engine room. But for me he was getting well beat until the refree (Howard Foster) stopped the game contraversally!
I just wanted to know what other people think about that night. Looking forward to the re-match on May 31st… Don’t miss it! We need a U.S refree!
I didn’t see that fight but I heard the same personally from George’s promoter.
that referee from the mercer morrison fight was not doing his job he should have been in there the instant morrison went limp
I completely agree. That was way too many punches landed on an unconscious guy!
I thought Tommy Morrison was our ‘Great White Hope’ and was going to destroy Ray Mercer.
Tommy did a beautiful job for three rounds. But, then Mercer’s handlers instructed him to be
more aggressive because he was losing that fight on points. To watch Mercer tear into Tommy
in that 5th round and beat him badly into submission, and with no referee intervention broke
my heart. My Great White Hope defeated that way was devastating for me.
I think a large part of the Pacquaio/Marquez knockout was Pacman’s forward motion. He’s always had a decent chin but when you run into a full power punch like that your guaranteed to wake up more than once in a day.
Yes, it had a lot to do with all that forward momentum. And it also didn’t help that he was already softened up a bit by that 3rd round knockdown.
Good list, but what about the epic (and controversal ) Meldrick Taylor vs Julio Cesar Chavez classic?
It didn’t fit my criteria (and Taylor wasn’t even knocked out…he made the 10-count) but yes a very epic event nonetheless.
Frazier vs Ali
It’s good to see that Mercer Vs Morrison was included. Definitely one of my personal favourites – “Merciless” Ray Mercer, indeed! In terms of major upsets/surprises, how about Iran Barkley Vs Thomas Hearns I? Hearns was clearly winning and had busted Barkley’s eyes with his jab but out of nowhere got caught by a massive right hand counter in round three which put him flat on his back and that was basically it. I’m not sure if Tommy was counted out after the second knockdown which sent him crashing through the ropes but it was an incredible finish. Fair play to Hearns, he was the cause of and the victim of some of boxing’s greatest knockouts!!
Golden Boy Morrison should have won that fight against “Merciless” Mercer. Just like Big Boy Tate
should have beat Weaver.
Most recently….Canelo Alvarez knocking out James Kirkland…..that was one heck of a KO!!
Morrison could have been a great fighter but he was an alcoholic drug user who screwed half of America and got Aids. Im sorry he died because he was a cool guy but it was a criminal waste of a tremendous talent. Same with Razor Ruddock whom he fought and beat. Theres a lesson in aĺl this guys. Boxing, drugs, alcohol and iĺl advised sexual behavior dont mix.
I dont think Tyson-Douglass was that much of a surprise. Tyson always struggled against taller, stronger fighters. Its well known that Tyson barely trained at all and spent the night before the fight getting drunk and smoking cigarettes with Japanese hookers. Another wasted talent by a guy who couldnt keep the cork in the bottle or his winkie in his pants.
Awesome site. I just got lost in a three-hour session of YouTube and boxrec. So many good knockouts, so many memories. Not that it’s one of the best ever, but for me watching live at the time, I thought the David Tua KO of John Ruiz was incredible. It was the first really big stage for Tua and he destroyed a good fighter in 20 seconds with a truly brutal knockout.
Good choice Benny. I always liked Julian Jacksons incredible one punch KO of Herol Graham. Graham was pummeling Jackson and the ref looked poised to intervene, but one big right put him down for the count and out cold for several minutes. Fair play to Jackson, he wasnt a great fighter but man could he hit!
Hi Johnny first of all thank you for the wonderful articles
Here are some of my favourite kos in no particular order
1)Patterson vs Johansson 2
2) Robinson vs Fullmer 2
3) Roy Jones vs Virgil Hill
4) Roberto Duran vs Dejesus 3
5) Ruben Olivares vs Efren Torres
6)Tommy Hearns vs Roberto Duran
7)Julian Jackson vs Norris/ Graham/ Powell
8)DelaHoya vs Hopkins
9)Joe Louis vs Billy Conn/ Paolino Uzcudin / Jersey Joe Walcott
10)Marquez vs Pacquiao
11)Arguello vs Rooney/ Gannigan
12)Ward vs Sanchez
13)Walcott vs Charles 3
Of course there are a billion other awesome kos. Just wrote from the top of my head. Not all are from the Marquee fights though.
I remember seeing a knockout one time in the last round in which the boxer was behind on points and when his opponent was against the ropes landed a barrage of uppercuts or shots to the head. The guy who was koed was younger and taller with curly blowfish brown hair. Sound familiar?
Blondish brown hair I meant