The 10 Greatest Knockouts of the Last 10 Years in Boxing
Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez ended in such dramatic fashion that it begs the question as to where this shocking conclusion ranks among the greatest finishes in boxing's recent history.
Many fighters have been able to hit the off switch on another fighter in a method so precise during a moment so exhilarating that time and space couldn't bend enough to make it all appear real.
That is what a great knockout does—it temporarily suspends the mind in a space where anything can happen, anything is possible and miracles and revenge come from a single punch.
Here are the 10 greatest knockouts of the last 10 years.
Honorable Mention: Zab Judah vs. Kostya Tszyu, Nov. 3, 2001
This knockout came a little before the 10-year period this list pulls its knockouts from, but it remains a chilling display of timing and power.
Zab Judah was undefeated with 27 victories and no losses when he stepped in the ring to face junior welterweight legend Kostya Tszyu to unify the world titles.
Judah was boxing well in the first, using his clearly superior hand and foot speed to pepper Tszyu with counters galore, but Tszyu's right jab began to set Judah up for bigger things in Round 2.
Judah was hit with a right hand that stunned him and then another right hand that dropped him in the last 10 seconds of Round 2.
Judah instinctively got up immediately, only to trip over himself due to wobbly legs and unintentionally do a knockout dance as the fight was waived off, resulting in the single greatest moment of Tszyu's career.
10. Manny Pacquiao vs. Erik Morales II, Jan. 26, 2006
Manny Pacquiao had lost the first fight with Erik Morales but was determined to win their rematch.
In Round 10, the scorecards were fairly close, but Pacquiao wasn't trying to win a decision. He knocked Morales down twice en route to handing Morales his first stoppage loss in his career.
A Mexican warrior who has a lot of heart like Morales is always going to be hard to put down, but Pacquiao got the job done and avenged a loss.
9. Jermain Taylor vs. Kelly Pavlik, Sept. 29, 2007
When it comes to picturesque knockouts, Jermain Taylor has been the victim of some of the most beautiful knockouts of the century.
Pavlik was undefeated and so was Taylor. Taylor began to outbox Pavlik and even knocked down the Youngstown, Ohio, native, but a determined Pavlik would not quit.
Taylor, the man who beat Bernard Hopkins twice, was having trouble keeping Pavlik off him in Round 7. It would be a powerful right hand followed by a flurry from Pavlik that would finish the fight.
The reins of the middleweight division were passed on to Pavlik as Taylor received his first loss.
8. Fernando Montiel vs. Nonito Donaire, Feb. 19, 2011
Nonito Donaire and Fernando Montiel were both on top-10 pound-for-pound lists at the time of the fight. Both owned world titles in the bantamweight division. Now it was time to prove who was best.
In what was supposed to be a competitive fight, Donaire blitzed Montiel in Round 2 with a brutal left counter that left Montiel dazed as he tried to get up with his legs moving, but his body unwilling.
Montiel's heart somehow got him to stand up, but the referee would erroneously allowed the fight to go on a few more seconds. A clearly out-of-it Montiel was ripe for more punishment as Donaire rushed him.
The referee immediately stopped the fight following the rush by Donaire.
7. Antonio Margarito vs. Shane Mosley, Jan. 24, 2009
A 37-year-old Shane Mosley was called washed up and old by the media before facing Antonio Margarito, the Mexican welterweight champ who just came off the biggest victory of his career in a knockout over Miguel Cotto.
Before the matchup started, Mosley's astute trainer, Naazim Richardson, discovered Margarito had plaster in his handwraps. After the gloves were rewrapped, Mosley went to work and obliterated Margarito.
Margarito not only left the ring with a year-long ban from boxing, he also left with a beating so brutal that he never fought the same in the ring as he did before.
The knockout would also serve as a final display of pugilistic brilliance in Mosley's storied Hall of Fame career.
6. Jose Luis Castillo vs. Diego Corrales, May 7, 2005
Jose Luis Castillo was going for Diego Corrales' WBO Lightweight Championship, and in Round 10, he almost had it. Corrales was on shaky ground after suffering two knockdowns in the round.
In order to buy himself time, Corrales spit out his mouthpiece. The referee deducted a point for excessive spitting, but Corrales couldn't win on the scorecards by that point anyway.
When the fight began again, Corrales landed a fierce right that hurt Castillo badly. A flurry of hard punches rocked Castillo against the ropes and left him trapped and unable to defend until the ref stepped in.
That round became one of the great rounds in boxing history.
5. Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton, May 2, 2009
With only one second to go in Round 2, Manny Pacquiao launched a rocket into Ricky Hatton's face that completely knocked the British superstar out of orbit.
The knockout would help propel the "Pacman" phenomenon to new heights and send Hatton into a three-year retirement.
4. Sergio Martinez vs. Paul Williams II, Nov. 20, 2010
Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams fought a brutal war in their first outing. The outcome was hotly debated as Williams picked up a controversial majority-decision victory.
This time, Martinez took it out of the judges' hands and scored the ultimate decision: a knockout. Williams was known for his heroic heart and chin, and had previously never been knocked out.
One left hand began Martinez's current reign of dominance as the undisputed king of the middleweight division.
3. Vic Darchinyan vs. Nonito Donaire, July 7, 2007
This knockout put a relatively unknown Nonito Donaire on the map. He upset the then-undefeated IBF flyweight titlist, Vic Darchinyan by a perfectly timed left hook in Round 5.
Darchinyan, known as a hard puncher with a sturdy chin, never saw it coming, and the next Filipino superstar was born.
2. Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez IV, Dec. 8, 2012
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez had fought 36 grueling rounds over three fights. When the prospect of a fourth one arose, like everyone else, both fighters were sick of having close decisions.
Both fighters wanted a knockout win. It just so happens that it was the underdog who would land that fateful punch. Marquez, known as the more patient counterpuncher of the two, timed Pacquiao all night.
As Pacquiao clearly displayed jazzier hand speed and combinations, Marquez blocked and ducked under shots while landing single, hard body blows and clean rights that did the majority of the damage.
Then in the last second of Round 6, a Pacquiao rushed into a beautiful right hand that ended what had become the exclamation point to a brilliantly fought four-fight series.
1. Roy Jones Jr. vs. Antonio Tarver II, May 15, 2004
This is the moment when many boxing fans realized anything could happen in the sport of boxing. Roy Jones, a man considered invincible for the majority of the 1990s had suffered his first knockout loss.
Hindsight is always 20-20 and the writing was on the wall. Jones was 35 years old. Jones had just moved back down to light heavyweight after journeying all the way up to win the heavyweight world title.
He didn't look so good in his first fight with Antonio Tarver, where he just squeaked out a decision victory. The rematch ended in a way no one would've ever expected—a crushing left-hook counter.
Tarver gained a career after that thrilling left-hand counter, and Jones has been on the decline ever since.
There have been other shocking knockouts since this one, but none can top the electricity that this one sent through airwaves.
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