Lucas Matthysse celebrates
Numbers don’t lie, but they can be manipulated—especially in sports. A list of the 10 most impressive statistics in boxing up to this point in the year would not be complete without including the dominance of Floyd Mayweather versus Robert Guerrero and Guillermo Rigondeaux versus Nonito Donaire.
But such a list would not be accurate if it didn’t factor in the level of opposition each man has faced as well. After all, how impressive is landing 60 percent of your power punches if your opponent isn’t any good?
Aside from the quality of opponent, some of the most important factors this list considers are connect percentage, sheer punch output—or punches thrown—and the opponents’ connect percentage.
Some fights included on this list stand out in terms of one of these statistical categories, while others include an impressive combination.
With these guidelines in place, let’s take a look at the 10 most statistically impressive fights in boxing up to this point in the year.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics used in this article are from CompuBox.
Cleverly eludes Krasniqi.
First up at No. 10 is Nathan Cleverly's convincing victory over Robin Krasniqi.
CompuBox stats showed that Cleverly averaged 87 punches per round and threw over 1,000 punches over the length of the fight.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Cleverly threw more punches as the fight wore on, surpassing the 100-punch mark in three out of the last four rounds.
Cleverly landed 319 total punches to Krasniqi's 92 and threw over 600 more punches, which is really impressive considering his highest outputs were in the last few rounds.
With the big win, Cleverly now looks to land a fight against a top-level opponent like Bernard Hopkins or Carl Froch.
The most recent fight included on this list is Erislandy Lara's grueling victory over Alfredo Angulo, which lands at No. 9.
Though Lara had the advantage of facing an opponent who comes straight forward with little head movement, it's still impressive that the Cuban threw 256 power punches and landed 56 percent of them, according to CompuBox stats.
Lara also landed at better than 60 percent with his power punches in five of the 10 rounds. Angulo stalked Lara all night and tried to cut off the ring, all while landing only nine of 278 jabs.
Lara looks to move on to a bigger payday, but many fans would like to see a rematch of this bout as soon as possible.
Fury knocks Cunningham out.
No. 8 on our list is Tyson Fury's North American debut versus Steve Cunningham, which had everything you could ask for from a heavyweight bout.
Both men were knocked down and power punches reigned supreme in this toe-to-toe battle. Fury landed 12 jabs in the first round, but he only landed 24 total jabs in the fight. After being caught with a big shot by Cunningham in Round 2 which sent him to the canvas, Fury threw caution to the wind and began concentrating on the big power shots.
According to CompuBox, Fury and Cunningham landed a combined 197 punches. 151 of those punches—or 77 percent—were power shots. After tiring Cunningham out by excessively laying on him, Fury earned a KO in Round 7.
With the win, Fury now hopes to land a bout against David Haye, which the Guardian reports is 99 percent done.
Garcia lands a flush shot.
Coming in at No. 7 is Mikey Garcia's eight-round technical-decision victory over Orlando Salido.
For those who were unsure about Garcia's ability leading up to this bout, the young champ from Oxnard officially arrived on the scene with the thorough beating of a legitimate contender.
Garcia connected with over 50 percent of his power shots, which helped him score a staggering four knockdowns of Salido.
Salido had an average of 59 percent power punches thrown in four fights prior to the Garcia bout (per HBO). But, he only surpassed that average in one round versus Garcia.
Garcia landed over 40 percent of his punches in three of the eight rounds. His defense was sharp as well. Salido only landed 18 percent of his total punches thrown in the bout.
Garcia is now set to face Juan Manuel Lopez on June 15.
What was supposed to be a coming-out party for 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions and Billy Dib was spoiled by the hard-nosed “Mexican-Russian,” Evgeny Gradovich.
By landing nearly 100 more power punches than his opponent according to CompuBox, the relatively unknown Gradovich took advantage of his last-minute opportunity and earned the IBF featherweight championship with the win.
Gradovich was the busier man most of the night and recorded some impressive stats along the way. He threw over 800 total punches, including 82 in the final round, which tied his highest output of the fight.
As CompuBox's postfight analysis mentioned, Gradovich also helped his cause by out-landing Dib in nine consecutive rounds.
According to BoxRec, Gradovich will defend his IBF title against Mauricio Munoz in July.
Martinez and Burgos fought to a draw.
Juan Carlos Burgos' dominant performance and controversial draw versus Rocky Martinez lands at No. 5.
The one-sided punch stats tell the story of how Burgos was brutally robbed of a clear decision win versus the WBO super featherweight titlist, Martinez. Some of the most telling CompuBox numbers included Burgos throwing fewer total punches and landing nearly 100 more than Martinez.
Burgos also landed almost double the amount of jabs that Martinez did and connected with more power punches in 11 of the 12 rounds.
According to CompuBox's postfight report, two of the three judges may have ignored the fact that half of Burgos' power punches were to the body.
Burgos was denied an immediate rematch and Martinez went on to defeat up-and-comer Diego Magdaleno, retaining his WBO title.
Timothy Bradley's output was extraordinary considering the big shots he took all night.
Timothy Bradley versus Ruslan Provodnikov in a fight of the year candidate? Nobody—and I mean absolutely nobody—saw this one coming.
No. 4 on our list was the type of fight that's hard to gauge simply by reading the CompuBox stats. You wouldn't know that Bradley got hit with a number of heavy bombs throughout the night because of the fact that he threw over 300 more punches than Provodnikov.
Bradley landed his share of power punches as well, connecting on 218 of 511 power shots. While Bradley didn't "box first" as many thought he would, he still relied on his jab, landing 129—97 more than Provodnikov.
After barely inching past the tough Russian with a decision victory, Bradley will now battle fellow Manny Pacquiao conqueror Juan Manuel Marquez in October.
Matthysse walked through Peterson in three rounds.
Not many people expected Lucas Matthysse to make such quick and easy work of Lamont Peterson. On May 18, the fans at Atlantic City’s famed Boardwalk Hall were treated to an exhibition in pure power.
Matthysse lived up to the nickname of “The Machine” and found Peterson early and often in the fight. Matthysse knocked down the IBF welterweight champion three times in less than nine minutes (per CompuBox).
The most impressive stat of the night relates to Matthysse’s 32 of 105 total punches landed. Of those 32 punches landed, 31 were power punches.
Who needs a jab? Certainly not Matthysse.
With the win, Matthysse earned his 34th win and 32nd knockout. He will likely face Danny Garcia later on in 2013.
Mayweather was elusive versus Guerrero
Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s unanimous decision victory against Robert Guerrero lands at No. 2 on our list.
Without even looking at the postfight analysis or statistical breakdown, spectators knew Mayweather had done a great job of hitting and not getting hit.
But, it wasn't until actually reading the CompuBox numbers that people realized just how dominant Mayweather was. He landed over 60 percent of his power punches in the fight and in two rounds landed over 70 percent of his power shots.
Just as impressive, Mayweather’s movement and defense negated Guerrero's offense. "The Ghost" landed only 19 percent of his total punches. Guerrero was never able to let his hands go and threw 23 fewer punches per round than he had averaged at welterweight.
Mayweather now prepares to face up-and-coming junior middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
Rigondeaux lands against Donaire.
Entering his April 13 bout against Nonito Donaire, Guillermo Rigondeaux was largely seen as a question mark contender. Yes, he had one of the most decorated amateur backgrounds in the history of boxing, but could he transfer that success into the pro ranks against a top pound-for-pound contender?
After the one-sided bout ended, the answer was a resounding yes.
According to CompuBox, Rigondeaux landed more jabs and power punches than Donaire in the 12-round bout.
Aside from landing more, some of the most impressive stats of the night can be attributed to Rigo’s masterful defense.
Donaire’s inability to find Rigondeaux with his power punches was the most surprising stat of the night. In four fights prior to his bout versus Rigondeaux, Donaire was landing 47.4 percent of his power punches (per CompuBox). Versus Rigondeaux, Donaire’s power punch connect percentage dipped to 30 percent.
The fact that Rigondeaux dominated the stat sheet in multiple categories against the best quality opponent of anyone on this list lands him at No. 1.
According to BoxingScene, Rigondeaux's manager Gary Hyde has said that his fighter could face Vic Darchinyan next.
Follow me on Twitter: