Seasons Greetings! This year is my favorite time of year. The reason I love this season is that it is the season of giving. I know you are reading this thinking “What gift does boxing give”? The answer is knockouts. There is nothing like the drama of a fight ending suddenly when a big punch lands and ends the fight. In honor of the 12 days of Christmas, I am going to share with you my favorite 12 KOs. All of these can be found on YouTube if you want to see them, and please let me know if you feel I missed any.
This is part one.
Alexis Arguello vs. Kevin Rooney – KO 2 – 7/31/82 – Alexis Arguello named the 20th best puncher in boxing history was making his debut at light welterweight. A potential megafight with Aaron Pryor was on the table, but first, he had to get through Kevin Rooney who also made his debut in the weight class. There had been questions if Arguello who started at 126 would be able to carry his power to 140. That question would be answered when Arguello landed a picture-perfect right hand in the second round sending Rooney under the bottom rope where referee Larry Hazzard counted him out.
Julian Jackson vs. Herol Graham – KO 4 – 11/24/90 – Admittedly, I could have compiled a list of twelve knockouts from Julian Jackson alone. “The Hawk” was number 25 on the list of greatest punchers of all time, and probably has more one-punch KO highlights than anyone has in the sport. None was better than his KO of Herol Graham. Jackson was being thoroughly outboxed through the first three rounds of the fight. He was behind on all scorecards, and the fight was on the verge of being stopped by the ringside doctor. The fourth round saw Graham push Jackson to the corner with a left hook. While preparing to throw another hook, Jackson uncorked a right hand that knocked Graham out before he hit the ground.
Tommy Hearns vs. Roberto Duran – TKO 2 – 6/15/84 – Two of the four kings of the 1980s mixed it up in this clash of titans. Even though Duran had a TKO loss on his record from the “No Mas” fight, no one had ever truly knocked him out. Tommy Hearns on a hot night in Las Vegas seemed determined to change that. Hearns put Duran on the canvas twice in the first round. At the conclusion of the first Duran was so confused one of his cornermen had to direct him to their corner after Duran walked to the neutral corner. In the second round, Hearns pushed Duran back to the ropes and landed his trademark right hand, sending Duran crashing to the canvas face-first.
Ray Mercer vs. Tommy Morrison – TKO5 – 10/18/91 – Ray Mercer during his career earned the moniker “Merciless”, and during this fight, he proved it. Tommy Morrison to his credit was more than game on this night. Morrison was ahead on all the scorecards heading into the fifth round. Early in the round, Mercer pushed Morrison into the corner landing a combination of punches that left Morrison defenseless. Unfortunately, for Morrison, the referee allowed him to take seven more unnecessary punches before he jumped in end to the fight.
Ann Wolfe vs. Vonda Ward – KO 1 – 5/8/04 – This KO is referred to as the “best knockout punch in women’s boxing history”. While true, it might also constitute the best knockout in boxing history. Ward standing 6’7 towered over the 5’9 Wolfe. The problem was Ward was fighting too tall and too stiff. Standing straight up she tried to leap in with a punch. Wolfe weaved left and landed an absolute nuke to end the fight
Sergio Martinez Vs. Paul Williams II – KO 2 – 11/20/10 – Coming off their all-action close contest less than a year prior, fans were expecting another close encounter. Sergio Martinez had different plans. In the second round, Williams and Martinez were circling. Williams stepped in to throw a left and was caught flush by Martinez on the way in. It was delayed, but Martinez knew what happened immediately as he ran to the corner with his arms raised, and Williams lay face down on the canvas eyes wide open.