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16th July 2020
By: Max Taylor
Watch our Top 5 greatest knockout reels of all time!
Knockouts are the undisputed entertainment factor of boxing. They play a massive part in why fans flock to the sport as nobody, for so long, has been putting on gloves and technically, yet instinctively hammering away at each other over-scheduled three-minute rounds like boxers have been. There are many who have stepped inside the squared circle and consequently dropped some jaws by hitting others. Only a few have done this fight in fight out though and accumulated a plethora of stunning knockouts that fans have grown to enjoy after being hardwired over the years to find beauty in the viciousness of a knockout. In the first installment of this BoxingGuru series that will range from the big to small hitters, we rank the boxers who possess the greatest knockout reels to date and start in the weight class where you’re most likely to find them occur, the Heavyweight division.
5. Joe Louis
We kick this list off with the most successful heavyweight in Boxing history. The Brown Bomber made 26 defenses of his world belt which included stunning knockout victories from the champion in rematches against Jersey Joe Walcott and Billy Conn, the latter being the first televised heavyweight title fight. Louis coupled punch precision with raw power which resulted in knockouts that gathered him a massive fanbase across the globe. He had the conduct of a businessman where he would turn up to work, complete his shift with an opponent on the canvas, and leave the office with a belt around his waist. With a title reign yet to be beaten, the accurate and technically adept Louis is still regarded as one of the best heavyweights to this day and has a fantastic KO reel to show it.
Next, we have the third and final man who conquered the former champion Joe Louis. It was a new era for boxing when Rocky Marciano started picking up traction as a hard-hitting heavyweight. His relentless energy to finish a fight even into the deep waters when most get fatigued earned gave fans some seriously impressive knockouts to watch that go down in history, most notably the knockout against the aforementioned Walcott. The Brockton Blockbuster was technically inferior to the previous star of the division in Louis, but he compensated with his ability to use tremendous power punches at any given time in a fight. This meant for a more entertaining knockout reel and resulted in an outstanding 87% knockout rate. Marciano held the accolade of best boxing record of all time with 49-0 which has since been triumphed but is still considered as nothing short of great. He found a home fighting on the inside of his usually bigger opponents but was very successful with this pressurizing style, with it, he finds a home on our list at number four.
3. Mike Tyson
The Baddest Man on the Planet steps in at 3 above the golden oldies as he fought in an era that redefined heavyweights as they were known. Bigger, heavier, and overall, powerfully superior guys replaced the lighter figures of the division which meant for more brutal punches and with it, exciting knockouts. Enter Mike Tyson, arguably the most exciting fighter of the 1980’s/90’s who would use lateral combination punching to KO his opponents. Iron Mike famously used this technique to finish Trevor Berbick and become the youngest Heavyweight champion in 1986. Often criticized for lacking a great resume, Tyson would make it clear that he is not fighting the elite of the division with a knockout victory that would leave fans grimacing in wry amusement. He sits in the middle of the pack on this list with some stunning finishes but without the power that makes a top-2 KO reel list.
Second place is awarded to the man who retired 7 boxers’ after fighting them and is dubbed “puncher of the century”. Shavers edges Tyson in this list due to his sheer natural power that made for several incredible knockouts. He possesses a resume filled with elite competition and lost only to the best. The way he followed through with his punches put him in The Ring’s top-10 punchers of all-time list and his lethal right hand (that was used as an accurate uppercut to finish Jimmy Ellis) even gave Muhammad Ali hard work. Shavers went to war with the three-time Heavyweight champion to the point where Ali labeled the ‘Black Destroyer’ as the hardest puncher he ever faced. Despite Shavers never claiming Heavyweight gold, he does boast the best knockout percentage out of the top 5 list with a staggering 92%.
*Honourable Mention David Tua*
With a Bronze medal and a left hook that Joe Frazier would approve of, David Tua is the first honorable mention of the list before we get to our number 1 spot. One of the best Heavyweights to not have won a world title, his accolades rank him outside of the top 5 but his incredible knockout reel deserves recognition. One of the hardest punchers of the ’90s and early noughties, Tuaman adopted the same lateral style as Tyson with his short height and reach. On reviewing his own knockout reel I’m sure Tua would think it’s ‘Owesome’ how he brutalized his opponents with signature left and right hooks that seemed timed to perfection. A highly ranked contender throughout his career, the Samoan knocked out the top competition to earn a shot against the last undisputed heavyweight in Lennox Lewis where he took him the distance but lost out to The Lion. Nevertheless, Tua’s devastating left hooks will feature in many knockout reels for some time.
*Honourable Mention Deontay Wilder*
The majority of fighters give themselves a nickname, but when their hands are so destructive, they also earn a nickname. Deontay Wilder’s ‘Eraser’ of a right hand has garnered some outrageous KO victories over his 12-year career. These wins paid dividends as Wilder captured the WBC belt defending it 10 times with nine coming by way of stoppage until the thorn in his side, Tyson Fury, took his prized possession earlier this year. The Bronze bomber acquired his moniker courtesy of his success in the Olympics, unsurprisingly winning a Bronze medal. His wild, windmill-esque barrage style saw him earn 41 KO’s out of his total 43 fights, an extraordinary 95% knockout rate, the highest to ever be recorded over this amount of fights. Considering he is still an active fighter at 34 years-of-age and looking to get his beloved WBC title back from the Gypsy King in a highly anticipated trilogy, he was left out of the top 5 as the ranked names are former warriors now retired. The remorseless way he lays bodies on the canvas is still to be admired though and is making the argument for the hardest punching heavyweight of all time even harder.
The debate between this top three on who the harder puncher is will always be up in the air as none got to fight each other. Foreman and Shaver’s strength seems to be equal, yet Foreman edges the greatest knockout reel thanks to the accolades that came along with it. The oldest Heavyweight champion had an in-ring presence that seemed so effortless and emotionless when he’d have an opponent flat on the floor beaten senseless by his heavy hands. Foreman would consistently end fights with his straight right which he didn’t even have to throw with any conviction to get a KO win. Although he has fewer stoppages and knockouts to this lists number two, the entertainment factor from his knockout reels speaks for itself as there are continuous clips of him knocking the consciousness out of opponents. One thing to note is that these top two KO reel Kings fought the best of the best and their one-punch power made it hard to predict a result even when they were pitted against top opposition like Ali.
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