The Ten Most Explosive Boxing Knockouts in History
Despite these changes, great boxing matches are still determined by how powerful a fighter’s punch is. If you’re a boxer, one way to prove your boxing power and skill is by landing a knockout (KO) punch. KO’s are one of the main attractions of boxing. They are exciting to watch and usually enliven a tedious bout. Sometimes a single punch can turn the tide of the match and transform underdogs into world champions. Many boxers who have high knockdown rates are called “knockout artists.” They usually enjoy a huge fan following due to their impressive punching power. (Learn how to punch)
Boxing has involved many fights that has resulted in classic knockouts throughout its modern history. This article presents ten such examples. Be it brute force, athletic skill, or just plain luck, these knockouts are deemed the most outstanding one-punch stoppages of the sport.
10. Lennox Lewis KOs Hasim Rahman, 2001
On April 21, 2001, the 20-to-1 underdog Hasim Rahman upset Lennox Lewis when the former KO-ed him in a non-title fight held in South Africa. Unperturbed by his loss, Lewis opted for a quick rematch, which was held on November of that same year. The fight was an intense display of both fighters’ boxing abilities up until the 4th round, when a powerful right jab by Lewis sent Rahman to the canvas and out for the ten-count.
9. Roy Jones, Jr. KOs Montell Griffin, 1997
Coming from a disqualification from their previous encounter that stripped him of his light heavyweight belt, Roy Jones, Jr. came back with a vengeance in his rematch with Montell Griffin. The fight proved to be a short one, as Jones quickly scored a minor knockdown against Griffin 20 seconds into the fight. Only two minutes later, an explosive left jab by Jones sent the ill-prepared Griffin sprawling onto the canvass.
8. Mike Tyson KOs Michael Spinks, 1988
Before his imprisonment and notorious behavior outside the ring, Mike Tyson was one of the most feared heavyweight boxers of his time. The late 1980s featured Tyson at his boxing prime, with a series of wins against high-profile opponents. The best showing of Tyson involved Michael Spinks for the 1988 Super Heavyweight bout. Within 90 seconds of the first round, Tyson knocked out the champion with a right hook. Spinks would then retire from boxing with his only loss in the sport.
7. Julian Jackson KOs Herol Graham, 1990
Julian Jackson was one of the hardest-hitting middleweights of all time, and his devastating right was his main weapon for downing opponents. One of his victims was Herol “Bomber” Graham, whom he fought for the vacant WBC Middleweight title. After being beaten consistently for three rounds, Jackson unleashed an annihilating right onto Graham’s head, knocking him out cold. The punch was so devastating that Graham lay unconscious for five full minutes. Jackson’s poster punch has been included in many boxing highlights and knockout lists since then.
6. Jersey Joe Walcott KOs Ezzard Charles, 1951
When this fight occurred in 1951, Jersey Joe Walcott had already made four unsuccessful attempts at the Championship, losing two bouts each to both Ezzard Charles and Joe Louis. His unprecedented fifth try, however, proved to be the lucky one for the seasoned boxer. Both Walcott and Charles were vying for the Heavyweight Championship title left vacant by Louis. This time, it was Walcott who was determined to get the title. Seven rounds into the fight, Walcott connected a devastating left hook squarely into Charles’ jaw. Charles never recovered from the knockout punch, making Walcott the world Heavyweight champion on his fifth try. At 37 years old, he was then the oldest person to win the title, a record he held for four decades.
5. Sugar Ray Robinson KOs Gene Fullmer, 1957
Widely considered the best boxer of all time, Sugar Ray Robinson was a highly-versatile fighter in the Welterweight and Middleweight divisions, which prompted the press to designate “pound-for-pound” statistics – a ranking of boxers regardless of weight. His 1957 fight with Gene Fullmer is viewed as one of his best. The two were evenly matched for the first four rounds, but in the fifth round, a left hook from Robinson sent Fullmer down and out. Sportswriters would dub Robinson’s hook as “the perfect punch.”
4. Floyd Patterson KOs Ingemar Johansson, 1960
Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johansson were two evenly-matched fighters with many things in common: both represented their own countries in the 1952 Olympics (Patterson from the USA, Johanson from Sweden), and Patterson was among the top American fighters, while Johansson was the European champion. These similarities intensified the rivalry between the two. In their first meeting, Johansson prevailed, knocking Patterson down seven times in the third round and becoming the first European world champion in years. But it was another story when they met the second time: Patterson knocked out Johansson with a single blow in the fifth round, becoming the first man to recover his own heavyweight title.
3. Tommy Hearns KOs Roberto Duran, 1984
The knockout earned by Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns against Roberto Duran is one of the most astonishing performances in the light middleweight division. The stoppage was notable for a number of reasons. First, Roberto Duran was a prolific boxer, with an incredible 77 wins and only three defeats prior to his fight with Hearns. Second, Duran was never knocked out in all his fights, but in this bout, he was floored three times. Third, Hearns finished the job in only two rounds.
2. Rocky Marciano KOs Jersey Joe Walcott, 1952
Rocky Marciano is the only Heavyweight Champion in boxing history to have retired undefeated. He is one of the all-time best fighters. All his 49 fights were wins, 43 of them by knockout. One of his victims was Jersey Joe Walcott, whom he defeated in 1952. Walcott was Heavyweight Champion back then, and the fight was a mandatory defense. Although Marciano was a betting favorite, he was floored by Walcott early on in the first round. Bloodied and beaten hard by Walcott, Marciano held on until the 13th round, when he landed a short punch that almost tore out Walcott’s head. The champion was down and out for the count, and Marciano won his first-ever championship.
1. Buster Douglas KOs Mike Tyson, 1990
The biggest boxing upset of all time is courtesy of James “Buster” Douglas. Against all odds, he knocked out Mike Tyson to become the undisputed world heavyweight champion. The match was first looked upon as another easy victory for Mike Tyson, as Douglass was a relatively unknown fighter at the time. Betting odds were against Douglas 42-to-1. Tyson nearly knocked out Douglas in the 8th round, but Douglas got up on the 9th count. The memorable knockout by Douglas came a minute and five seconds into the 10th round, when a series of explosive punches connected straight to the face of Tyson, dropping him and earning Douglas the highly-coveted championship.
The criteria for selecting this list of knockouts were as follows: the fight’s reputation, the quality of the fighters, the influence on the fighters’ career, and the historical significance. Another basis was the ability of the boxer to stop his opponent with a single, clean punch. If you enjoy reading this article, might as well learn the Eleven ways to avoid a fistfight.
Boxing is surely the sport to watch when you want to see a combination of technique, fireworks and drama. And the folks from Arizona know what it’s like to be into sports like that as seen in the list of Top 10 Professional Sports Teams of Arizona.