The 10 Best Punches in Heavyweight Boxing History
Hurrah! The Harry Smith 10 Best series is back with a bang! This time I reveal the best punches in heavyweight boxing history. I have chosen to focus on the heavyweight division of pugilists for one reason and one reason only...they throw bombs!
And who wants this list to be full of Eastern Europeans?...No one! So it's a list from throughout history, not just modern times. This list goes from the good old days of Dempsey and Louis, to the modern greats of Jones Jr. and Tyson.
So without further ado, let the list begin! Ding-ding!
10. Roy Jones Jr. - Hands Behind Back, Chin Fake Right Hook
Roy Jones Jr., effectively one of the best heavyweights ever, with a record of 1-0-0, winning the WBA title from John Ruiz in his only maximum weight fight.
Better known for his heroics at Light Heavyweight, where he held every title imaginable simultaneously, Roy Jones is nothing short of a jack the lad, a joker in the pack and a legend of the sport.
But it was not at heavyweight that Jones gave me the fondest of memories. It was at Light Heavy against Glen Kelly in 2002 that Jones displayed his full athletic ability.
Dodging in the corner, Jones tucked his hands behind his back, and moved his head from side to side, escaping on coming jabs better than Houdini. He then lunged to one side and flashed a lightning right hook to the temple of Glen Kelly.
It was a knockout, but Kelly was more shocked than hurt. Perhaps not getting back to his feet, for sheer embarrassment.
This punch is the only "one-time" specific that is included in my countdown, but would you bet against Roy Jones Jr. to again buck the trend?
9. Smokin' Joe Frazier - Left Hook
Smokin' Joe Frazier, one-time heavyweight champion and the first man to defeat Muahmmad Ali. Joe was a train of a fighter and threw many a merciless combo of crushing body punches, but few would disagree that his best punch was his left hook.
Joe's left hook is, bar maybe an Iron Mike Uppercut, the punch most synonymous with a particular fighter in history. Joe was a great champion for many reasons but perhaps the biggest reason was his monster left hook, just ask The Greatest.
8. Lennox "The Lion" Lewis - Jab
Lennox Lewis, often dubbed as one of the most underrated heavyweight champions ever, but alot of people wonder what all the fuss is about.
Vitali Klitschko certainly seemed to know. Whilst searching for the opposite picture, I came across a bloodied and battered Vitali, surprise surprise, it was Lennox Lewis's work, sealed with a kiss.
Now noone is pretending that Lennox's jab is an absolute machine gun, but its what it sets up that matters, thats right, Lennox's sledgehammer, the big right hand, now that's the one that does the damage! The Cerebral Assassin's (sorry, Triple-H) jab is the eighth best punch in heavyweight boxing history!
7. Jack "Manassa Mauler" Dempsey - Left Hook
Jack Dempsey, Heavyweight Champ of the world from 1919 to 1926. With a record of 66 wins of 83 fights, 51 of which coming by way of KO, no one can out Dempsey's dynamite punching power in to question. But like the aforementioned Smokin Joe, Dempsey could really rattle you with his exploding Left Hook.
The Manassa Mauler could really dish it out, and his ranking of seven in my list, matches his position on Ring Magazine's countdown of the greatest ever punchers. Despite his career being three quarters of a century ago, his power, talent and recognition as one of the true greats, still lives strong today.
6. Muhammad "The Greatest" Ali - Jab/Straight
Bow down, The Greatest is here, well in a majority opinion, although I do have a personal favourite from Catskill, NY, but I'm sure he'll make an appearance later on. Enough tarnishing of Muhammad Ali's page with talk of other boxers, he is after all The Greatest, and after the Sonny Liston fight, a self proclaimed "Badman."
Many people put Ali's greatness down to his sharp tongue rather than his sharp hands, but his jab and straight combinations were deadly, like proper razor sharp. He knocked people out with jabs, how does that work.
Just an all time legend who possesses the sixth best punch in heavyweight history. Congratulations to The Greatest.
5. Joe "Brown Bomber" Louis - Right Cross
65-3! Thats right, Joe Louis' record is extraordinary to say the least, with 51 of those victories coming by way of Knockout. Granted not exactly "Mr Explosive" but it got the job done. Joe Louis is by some considered to be the greatest heavyweight ever, and is also a 12 year reigning champion! Wowzer!
Joe still holds the record for the longest championship reign, 62 years on from first winning the title, some achievement, whichever way it is looked at. His reign has beaten those of great champion like Ali, Foreman, Frazier, Marciano, Tyson and many many more. Joe Louis and his magnificent array of punches, but his right cross, just might be the best. On we go....
4. "Big" George Foreman - Right Cross
Big George and his amazingly powerful paws finally make and appearance on my list of behemoths and No. 4 isn't a bad spot now, is it?
A little bit about the big man who now sells grills...where to start? He is a cult figure in the world of boxing, took part in one of the greatest and most famous bouts ever, and he is widely regarded as the hardest puncher in history.
Every punch that came from Foreman's gloves had to the innate ability to crush your soul and introvene your will. He would leave you gasping for air with every rock hard fist he delivered to your kidney and spinning like a top with every headshot.
OK, he may not have been the King of the Jungle that night in Zaire, but he is fourth in line to take my "Best Heavyweight Punches" crown...Go George!
3. "Iron" Mike Tyson - Left Hook
Come on, you knew he was gonna be there or thereabouts! My personal favourite ever heavyweight, his left hook was never as feared as Joe Frazier's or as sparky as Jack Dempsey's, but, my gosh, it was quick!
He's supposedly the only heavywieght to be able to ever throw four punches in under a second, and I'll place bets that every single one of them could knock you out.
Tyson's left hook was the fateful punch that formed his eventual legacy as the youngest ever heavyweight champion, knocking Trevor Berbick out in just two rounds nearly 23 years ago. Oh, how those days seem so long ago, and how we wish they would return, and I'm only 14.
2. Rocky "Brockton Blockbuster" Marciano - Short Right Hook
Rocky Marciano falls just short in my list, but with a career record of 49-0 (43 KOs), do you think he'd be bothered? The only heavyweight to ever retire undefeated, he is a legend of the sport, and I am still yet to hear anyone have a bad word to say about him. A terrible plane crash took Rocky's life, but his strong presence is still felt in the boxing world.
Now on to his thunderous right hook, it is after all the punch that comprehensively knocked out Joe Louis, and absolutely sparked out Jersey Joe Walcott; now if that's not reason enough for this punch to be No. 2 on my list, then I don't know what is.
1. "Iron" Mike Tyson - Right Uppercut
February 16, 1986, Troy, NY: Mike Tyson is 17-0 on a perfect KO streak and he faces his biggest challenge yet, in veteran Jesse Ferguson.
Mike comes racing out of the blocks and takes the first few rounds easily, but people are questioning his stamina and chin. Mike is taken to the fifth round for the first time and he looks as fresh as a daisy, he then catches Ferguson with a KILLER right uppercut in the corner and breaks, sorry, SHATTERS his nose into pieces. Jesse fights on but loses in the following round, does any of this sound familiar? You bet it does!
Iron Mike is a hero of mine, and I will always recognize him as the champ. Another honour goes to the baddest man on the planet and he joins the exclusive group of Roger Federer and Juninho Pernambucano, as a Harry Smith 10 Best winner, and his punch is probably the pick of the bunch so far! Ding-ding, this fight is over!
First off, I would like to apologize for the extremely long wait for this slideshow, it was beyond my estimations and I apologize thoroughly. I would also like to ask for ideas and thoughts for possible lists to continue this series, as i feel it can become something very good.
But, most importantly, I would like to thank Bob Fletcher for his wonderful work on his MMA list; he really helped me out here, and he's put me to shame with the wonderful job he's done, so head on over and check it out! It's amazing; thanks, Bob!
Finally, over and out,
Harry Smith :)