Boxing is a sport that tests its players not only personally, but also psychologically. One punch on the face is all it takes to change the complexion of the match. Here we look at some of the most brutal knockouts in the sport’s history.
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face” reads a popular quote by legendary boxer and former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
This quote perfectly sums up boxing, at the same time connoting its unpredictability because even the biggest player can get knocked out by just one punch.
The history of this game as well as the modern day matches have seen numerous toe-to-toe brawls that have left the audience wanting more.
However, one thing that the fans love the most is a knockout. Here is a list featuring some of the most brutal knockouts in boxing’s history –
Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman (October 1974)
Famously termed “The Rumble in the Jungle” by boxing promoter Don King, this bout came at the back of Ali’s defeat against Joe Frazier. Ali was forced to get back in the line for a title shot and had to fight other contenders to get to the top. Foreman stood in his way entering the match with 40-0 with 37 KOs. Ali talked dirty during the match forcing Foreman to swing hard, which in turn emptied his tank. The former then delivered a five-punch combo to knock Foreman.
Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson (November 1996)
Evander Holyfield was clearly the underdog coming into this match. However, he came in with 25-1 to his name. Tyson, on the other hand, reigned supreme and had captured the WBA as well as WBC Heavyweight Championships. The media was speculating if Holyfield would live or die at the hands of Tyson. The match went on till the eleventh round when Holyfield threw nine punches forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Lennox Lewis vs. Hasim Rehman (November 2001)
Lennox Lewis had fought Rehman once before wherein he was knocked out in the fifth round. This time, however, the outcome would vary with knockout being the only similar aspect as compared to the earlier bout. Lewis dominated the fight winning the first three rounds convincingly. Rehman was knocked out in the fourth round when he fell back on the mat after the referee’s count reached nine.
Earnie Shavers vs. Jimmy Ellis (June 1973)
This list cannot be complete without inclusion of Earnie Shavers. This American former professional boxer is renowned for being the hardest puncher in the history of boxing. It was in June 1973 at the MSG where he fought Jimmy Ellis. Before entering this bout, Shavers held one of the most stunning records of 45 wins and 2 defeats; 32 out of the 42 wins were consecutive. Jimmy Ellis got knocked out in the first round itself.
James Douglas vs. Mike Tyson (February 1990)
If you follow boxing closely, you must be aware that this match is considered the biggest upset in the heavyweight category’s history. Douglas was always seen as an underachiever and was pitted against one of the angriest boxers of the era.
Though Tyson dropped Douglas in the eighth round, the latter only came strong to knock out Tyson in the tenth round. With this victory, Douglas became the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.