The Best Knockout of Each Boxing Superstar's Career

Kevin McRaeFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2013

The Best Knockout of Each Boxing Superstar's Career

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    Boxing is one of the few major professional sports where the object is to hit your opponent so hard, they don't get back up. 

    That's why so many fans tune-in. Sure there are those who appreciate the sweet science, and love nothing more than watching a technical boxer dance circles around their opponent. But most people love high impact shots that deposit someone on the seat of their pants. 

    Not every fighter on this list is known as a knockout puncher. But they're all stars, and they've all scored their share of spectacular knockouts. This isn't meant to be a comprehensive or all-inclusive list, but to spark debate.

    Therefore, we present the best knockout of each boxing superstars career.

Wladimir Klitschko

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    When you're dealing with a fighter that has literally made a career out of knocking people out (51 wins out of 60) it's hard to settle on just one. But for Wladimir Klitschko, the one knockout that stands out took place on June 29, 2002 in Atlantic City.

    On that night, Klitschko met former WBO heavyweight champion and all-around tough-guy "Merciless" Ray Mercer. 

    Mercer, who was 41 at the time, entered the ring with a reputation for being tough as nails, and had never been knocked out in his professional career. That included bouts against the likes of Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. 

    But Klitschko was a different animal.

    He used his long jab to setup his power shots, and absolutely teed off on Mercer for the better part of six rounds. He dropped him with a left hook in the first round, the first time Mercer had ever been floored by a head shot, and then bombarded him with power shots in the sixth prompting the stoppage. 

Juan Manuel Marquez

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    This is quite possibly the easiest entry on this, or any other, list for that matter. There's really only one legitimate option.

    Juan Manuel Marquez had fought Manny Pacquiao to a virtual draw over 36 rounds of boxing prior to their fourth meeting this past December in Las Vegas. You could literally make a case for either fighter in almost all those rounds, save for the first round of their first fight in which Marquez got knocked down three times. 

    The smart money was on more of the same, but that went out the window pretty early. Marquez floored Pacquiao in the third round, the first knockdown he scored in the series, but the favor got returned when the Pac-Man dropped Marquez in the fifth and broke his nose.

    With the fight seeming to slip away from him, and in the closing seconds of round six, Marquez landed a missile right hand that crumpled his foe to the mat. The fight was over the instant it landed and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sergio Martinez

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    Sergio Martinez felt wronged by the decision in his first bout against Paul Williams and many observers agreed with him. Both fighters were knocked down in the opening round, and many observers felt that "Maravilla" did enough to deserve the victory.

    Things worked out just fine for Martinez, who defeated Kelly Pavlik and captured the middleweight championship in his next fight. His first defense would be a rematch with Williams, and he would not leave it in the hands of the judges this time.

    This fight only lasted a little over one round, as Martinez connected with a left hand just under a minute into round two that would have stopped a truck.

    Williams crumpled to the mat, unconscious from the instant the punch landed, and you could have counted to a thousand. It was one of those knockouts that even the most ardent boxing fans would call scary.

Floyd Mayweather

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    Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather is the first name most people think of when you mention the sweet science of boxing. He's one of the best technical fighters of all-time and wins most of his fights with defense, footwork and counterpunching.

    And that's just what he did against Ricky Hatton in 2007. The rugged Brit entered the ring having won all 43 of his fights, and had a pressure style some observers felt would give Mayweather trouble.

    They were wrong.

    By the 10th round, an outclassed-but-still-determined Hatton continued coming forward in an attempt to change the fight. With just under two minutes remaining in the round, Hatton lunged in with Mayweather along the ropes, and caught a counter left hand that sent him to the mat.

    The Manchester tough-guy rose from the canvas on unsteady legs, but the fight was over. Mayweather attacked along the ropes, felling his opponent for a second time, and prompting the referee to end the contest.

Manny Pacquiao

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    Poor Ricky Hatton. He's the only fighter who has the dubious distinction of appearing on this list twice, for all the wrong reasons.

    Hatton had won two straight fights after being defeated by Mayweather, and earned himself a shot at Mayweather's counterpoint in the fight game—Manny Pacquiao.

    Pacquiao made short work of Hatton, in one of those fights where you regret going to the bathroom at the wrong time. Charging in without moving his head, Hatton made himself an easy target and was dropped twice in the opening round. 

    Hatton was aggressive again in round two, which was more competitive until the closing seconds. With just under 10 seconds remaining in the round, Pacquiao landed a straight left hand square on the chin. Hatton collapsed flat on his back and stayed there for several minutes.

    It was truly scary stuff.

Bernard Hopkins

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    Bernard Hopkins was not supposed to win Don King's Middleweight World Championship Series, but when has that ever stopped him?

    At the time, most felt the tournament was conceived in order to make Felix Trinidad, then one of the biggest names in the sport, the first unified middleweight champion since Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

    Somebody forgot to give Bernard Hopkins that memo as he absolutely dominated Trinidad in the finals.

    It was a stunning mismatch, given how hyped Trinidad had been heading into the fight, and it allowed Hopkins to step out of the shadows and emerge as a superstar in the sport.

    Hopkins didn't just beat Trinidad. He beat him up and stopped him in the final round to close the show in spectacular fashion.

Andre Ward

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    Chad Dawson knew there were risks involved with shedding seven pounds, in order to come down from light heavyweight to super middleweight, but he probably didn't anticipate the beating he'd take when he got there.

    To say that Andre Ward dominated Chad Dawson would be doing a disservice to his performance. He nearly pitched a shutout, with Dawson only connecting on an absurdly low 29 punches, according to Compubox tracking, through the nearly 10 rounds the bout lasted.

    Ward, who isn't known as a big puncher, nonetheless dropped Dawson three times in the fight, with the final one forcing his opponent to quit.

    It was as big a performance in a big fight that you could ever ask for, and it solidified Ward's status as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing.

Canelo Alvarez

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    It's hard to pick the best knockout of Canelo Alvarez's young career. Most of his signature knockout victories came against fighters who were either unknown, past their primes or undersized.

    One of the few scalps on his resume that was still in somewhat decent fighting shape was former welterweight champion Kermit Cintron. 

    At the time Cintron was considered something of a step-up fight for the then-21-year-old rising star, but he provided little in the way of serious resistance. 

    Canelo dominated him, in front of a raucous crowd in his native Mexico, putting him down near the end of the fourth round before pounding out a stoppage victory in the fifth. 

Danny Garcia

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    Danny Garcia just couldn't help but upset the apple cart. He was brought in last July as little more than a name opponent for Amir Khan to defeat and get back on track, after a stunning split-decision loss to Lamont Peterson. 

    And in the opening moments of the fight, it appeared he would fit that role nicely. But in the third round Khan's Achilles heel, his chin, completely changed the composition of the fight.

    With just under 30 seconds remaining in the round, Garcia connected on a huge left hook that sent Khan sprawling. He rose on wobbly legs and found a way to survive the final seconds of the round.

    Garcia remained on the attack to begin the fourth round and dropped Khan for a second time in the opening seconds. From that point in the round it seemed that Khan had regained his legs, and scored some serious shots of his own. However, Garcia closed the show with another late knockdown, prompting the stoppage.

Adrien Broner

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    Love him or hate him, Adrien Broner is certainly flashy, and at least in the lower weight classes he showed a decent amount of power.

    Last November, in his first title fight at lightweight, he challenged the rugged, but apparently overmatched Antonio DeMarco for his WBC title.

    Broner, in the bright pink trunks, absolutely decimated DeMarco. He was too fast, too strong, and too good in every facet of the fight. He wiped the floor with his opponent, dropping him in the eighth round, and just plain beating him up en route to a stoppage victory.

    It was the most dominant performance of his young career, and by far his best knockout.