Ranking the Best 1st-Round Knockouts from the Past Decade

Lyle FitzsimmonsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2013

Ranking the Best 1st-Round Knockouts from the Past Decade

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    Some, it seems, take Michael Buffer’s trademark mantra a little more seriously than others.

    Though they’re generally given at least 30 or 36 minutes—depending on the significance of the bout—to handle their in-ring business, some high-end fighters are pre-programmed to step on the gas shortly after hearing the “Let’s get ready to rumble” dictum from the perpetually tuxedoed emcee.

    Such an approach has yielded many memorably quick finishes over the last decade, including the 10 that are ranked here on the basis of violence, significance and shock, among other factors.

    Click through to see how your list compares with ours.

Edrin Dapudong KO 1 Gideon Buthelezi

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    Don’t blink at: 9:27 of the video  

    The third title shot was the charm for Filipino veteran Edrin Dapudong, who starched previous conqueror Gideon Buthelezi after just 149 seconds in their June 15, 2013 rematch in South Africa.

    The two had fought seven months earlier for the IBO’s vacant title at 115 pounds, which Buthelezi earned with a razor-thin split decision. The challenger was in no mood for such a disappointment in the second go-round, which he ended with a single left hook that left his foe convulsing on the canvas.

Gennady Golovkin KO 1 Lajuan Simon

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    Don’t blink at: 2:30 of the video

    Though he’s since become a household name among boxing fans for his take-no-prisoners approach and double-digit KO streak, Kazakhstan native Gennady Golovkin was still a product of the hardcore watcher when he faced durable Lajuan Simon for the vacant IBO middleweight title on Dec. 9, 2011 in Germany.

    Simon was 23-3-2 heading into the match and had never been stopped, while Golovkin had feasted upon a steady diet of overseas unknowns. The left hand he landed upon Simon brought him his first full-fledged title belt and hastened the U.S. introduction that occurred two fights later.

Juan Manuel Lopez TKO 1 Daniel Ponce De Leon

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    Don’t blink at: 2:00 of the video

    Puerto Rican slugger Juan Manuel Lopez was a few weeks shy of his 25th birthday and still without a world title belt when he met 35-fight veteran Daniel Ponce De Leon for the latter’s WBO 122-pound title on June 6, 2007 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

    Had anyone only watched the first 90 seconds of the fight, they might have thought it was an initially tentative Lopez who got taken out early. A long overhand left changed that approach when it dropped Ponce De Leon, and a follow-up flurry sent him down and prompted a stop from referee Mike Ortega.

Juan Carlos Salgado TKO 1 Jorge Linares

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    No video available

    Venezuelan slugger Jorge Linares was 27-0 with 18 KOs and in seemingly stable possession of the WBA’s world title at 130 pounds upon encountering unheralded Mexican Juan Carlos Salgado before a friendly crowd in his adopted home base of Tokyo, Japan, on Oct. 10, 2009.

    But rather than escaping with a second defense of his second weight-class championship, the streaking 24-year-old was dropped twice en route to a TKO loss in just 73 seconds of what turned out to be one of the year’s top championship-level upsets.

    Linares has struggled to regain his past success in eight fights since, winning six of them but losing twice more by stoppages.

Deontay Wilder KO 1 Sergei Liakhovich

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    Don’t blink at: 2:05 of the video

    A bronze medalist in the 2008 Summer Olympics, American-born slugger Deontay Wilder has charged to the forefront as the nation’s long-awaited hope in the heavyweight division.

    He did nothing to curb that enthusiasm in an Aug. 9, 2013 Showtime broadcast from Indio, Calif., where he reduced former WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich to on-canvas convulsions after landing a pair of punishing straight right hands at the midway point of Round 1.

    It was the 29th KO in 29 fights for Wilder, who stands 6’7” and is beginning to build a case as a down-the-road challenger to seven-year consensus divisional kingpin Wladimir Klitschko.

Paul Williams TKO 1 Carlos Quintana

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    Don't blink at: 9:05 of the video

    Lanky welterweight Paul Williams went from emerging superstar to over-hyped pretender in the eyes of some fans after a unanimous 12-round loss to fringe contender Carlos Quintana cost him the WBO 147-pound crown he’d won seven months earlier.

    Armed with that motivation for the June 7, 2008 rematch in Connecticut, Williams wasted no time in restoring his reputation. He staggered the defending champion with a right hand just past the halfway mark of the round, dropped him soon after and then followed up with a flurry that drew the stoppage from referee Eddie Claudio after just 135 seconds of in-ring combat.

    It was the last championship fight victory of Williams’ career, which was cut short by a motorcycle accident that has left him unable to walk.

Danny Green TKO 1 Roy Jones Jr.

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    Don't blink at: 1:32 of the video

    Roy Jones Jr. was a month shy of 41 years old and already far beyond his prime upon encountering Australian Danny Green in a challenge for the IBO’s cruiserweight title on Dec. 2, 2009, but the fight was still generally seen as a steppingstone for Jones’ already-signed rematch with Bernard Hopkins.

    Green was apparently unmoved by that contractual reality, however, and started Jones toward his third career stoppage loss with a big overhand right just before the midway point of the round that sent the challenger to the floor. Green followed up with dozens of punches that went unanswered from Jones, prompting referee Howard John Foster to step in at 2:02.

    Amazingly, the fight with Hopkins went off as planned three months later, following the Jones camp’s insistence that the Green KO was due to a punch behind the head. Hopkins defeated Jones by unanimous 12-round decision and the Floridian was stopped again in his next fight, against Russian Denis Lebedev.

Adonis Stevenson KO 1 Chad Dawson

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    Don't blink at: 4:35 of the video

    The presumption of many, particularly those in the camp of WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, was that the 30-year-old incumbent would reestablish himself at 175 pounds with a defeat of powerful but limited slugger Adonis Stevenson when they met in Montreal on June 8, 2013.

    Team Stevenson apparently didn’t get the memo, and instead turned the light heavyweight division on its ear—or, perhaps more appropriately—dropped it flat on its back with a single overhand left just more than a minute into the anticipated match at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

    Dawson tumbled to the canvas before gamely rising, but he was in no condition to continue and had his reign officially waved off by referee Michael Griffin at 1:16.

Jhonny Gonzalez KO 1 Abner Mares

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    Don't blink at: 2:15 of the video

    In the age of instant gratification and short memory, the most recent version of anything is often branded among the greatest of all time. In the case of Abner Mares’ WBC featherweight title defense against veteran Jhonny Gonzalez on Aug. 24, 2013, however, it might just be appropriate in terms of shock value.

    The unbeaten Mares was one fight into a reign in his third weight class and was being pushed hard by Showtime upon meeting Gonzalez, a qualified slugger but also an opponent who’d recently been beaten by the very man—Daniel Ponce De Leon—from whom Mares had won his latest belt.

    None of that mattered with just less than 40 seconds to go in the opening round, when Gonzalez landed a gorgeous left hook that dumped Mares. The champion rose and attempted to get through what remained of the round, but he was floored amid a subsequent flurry and instead saw his opportunity waved off by referee Jack Reiss with five seconds to go.

Kendall Holt KO 1 Ricardo Torres

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    Don’t blink at: 1:00 of the video

    In terms of action, the 61-second brawl between Kendall Holt and Ricardo Torres on July 5, 2008 is the Hagler-Hearns of all one-round boxing matches.

    The two men had met 10 months earlier in Torres’ native Colombia, where the hometown fighter retained his WBO 140-pound championship with a controversial 11th-round TKO. The rematch got down to business right away, with Torres dropping his man in the first 15 seconds and again around the 40-second mark.

    Holt was undaunted, however, and, as Torres pressed him against the ropes during a follow-up flurry, he landed a whistling right hand that soon left the champion sagging. Referee Jay Nady stopped the fight after getting less than halfway through his count.