20 of the Biggest Knockouts in Boxing History

Over the past decades there have been numerous memorable boxing matches. Perhaps what gets audiences on their feet (or cringing) is when one fighter delivers a hit or series of blows so hard that the opponent collapses to the ground. The knockout (KO) is the most dramatic way to end a fight, often preferable to a Technical Knockout (TKO) or judging decision when it comes to deciding a winner. The following list gives 20 of some of the more memorable boxing knockouts over the past 60 years, in no particular order.

20 2007 – Darnell Wilson KO Emmanuel Nwodo

The left hook of Wilson sends Nwodo down into a literal heap in the 11th round.

19 1986 – Mike Tyson KO Trevor Berbick

‘Iron’ Mike at his best. Berbick was so stunned by the hit that he can’t even get back to his feet despite his best attempts.

18 1990 – Julian Jackson KO Herol Graham

In the 4th round Graham was doing well and putting a lot of pressure on Jackson. Then one right hand changed it all.

17 1984 – Thomas Hearns KO Roberto Duran

In round 2, Hearns pressures Duran before unleashing a devastating blow to knock him out.

16 1957 – Sugar Ray Robinson KO Gene Fullmer

These two had met in the ring just four months before. This time around, Robinson makes sure Fullmer isn’t going to be getting back up.

15 2011 – Nonito Donaire TKO Fernando Montiel

This match had no actual KO in it. However, we needed an excuse to use this gif.

14 1952 – Rocky Marciano KO Joe Walcott

Tired out and on the ropes, Walcott takes a hit to the jaw which knocks him out. Marciano appears to throw one more in for good measure.

13 1965 – Muhammad Ali KO Sonny Liston

This is the ‘Phantom Punch’ thrown by Ali. Some people say they never actually saw Liston get hit. Ali didn’t seem to care one way or another – he then proceeded to yell at Liston, telling him to get up off the mat.

12 1994 – George Foreman KO Michael Moorer

George Foreman withstood 10 rounds of punishment from his opponent before catching him with a straight right. At 45, Foreman became the oldest Heavyweight Champion ever.

11 1998 – Vladimir Klitschko KO Najee Shaheed

So many to choose from. Shaheed tried to get up after being knocked down but only managed to look like Bambi learning to walk. Best to stay down in this situation.

10 2004 – Samuel Peters KO Jeremy Williams

In the 2nd round, Williams was being pushed towards the ropes. He decides to try and reverse course on his opponent and is greeted with a huge hook.

9 2009 – Manny Pacquiao KO Ricky Hatton

All that needs to be said here is that this KO sent Hatton into retirement.

8 1988 – Mike Tyson KO Michael Spinks

Two undefeated boxers faced off in Atlantic City, New Jersey. One of them kept that record. We’ll let you guess who after seeing the clip.

7 Juan Manuel Marquez KO Manny Pacquiao

By the 6th round, both boxers were in rough shape in this match. Marquez looked the worse of the two with a broken nose and a lot of bleeding. Oh, how quickly things can change.

6 1990 – Buster Douglas KO Mike Tyson

Douglas was a massive underdog heading into this fight. In round 10, he landed a series of blows against Tyson, sending him to the mat. Many say this was the turning point in Mike Tyson’s career.

5 1974 – Muhammad Ali KO George Foreman

In the 8th round, both fighters looked exhausted. Foreman had Ali pressed onto the ropes and both giants threw blows at each other. Then Ali broke out and delivered a series of hits to Foreman’s head.

4 2004 – Antonio Tarver KO Roy Jones Jr.

These two met for the second time in Nevada after Jones had defeated Tarver by decision. Tarver got revenge by landing a powerful shot which knocked Jones down for only the second time in his career.

3 1990 – Mike Tyson KO Henry Tillman

Tillman had defeated Tyson – back when they were both amateurs. Things were different now. In the first round, Tyson made sure his opponent knew who was boss.

2 1985 – Marvin Hagler KO Thomas Hearns

“Hearns is down, Hearns is down in the third round.” Well remembered commentary from the fight at Caesar’s Palace in Nevada. A battered and blood soaked Hagler and semi-conscious Hearns remain iconic images to this day.

1 2010 – Sergio Martinez KO Paul Williams

What is amazing about this KO is that you can hear the power and contact of Martinez’ punch over the crowd noise and commentary. Williams was out long before he hit the floor. This is widely considered to be the ‘Kockout of the Year’ for 2010.

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