The Ten Greatest Knockouts in Boxing History

Colin LinneweberSenior Writer IJune 18, 2010

BOSTON - CIRCA 1955:  (UNDATED FILE PHOTO) Baseball legend Ted Williams (1918 - 2002) of the Boston Red Sox (L) laughs as American boxing great Rocky Marciano (1923 - 1969) swings a bat circa 1955. The 83-year-old Williams, who was the last major league player to bat .400 when he hit .406 in 1941, died July 5, 2002 at Citrus County Memorial Hospital in Florida. He died of an apparent heart attack.  (Photo by Getty Images)
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Boxing is known for its brutality, and fans pay good money to hoping to see knockouts.

Some knockouts are renowned strictly for their violent natures. However, other knockouts are remembered for their historical significance. Below are the 10 greatest knockouts in the annals of pugilism.


Marciano versus Walcott

“The Brockton Blockbuster” Rocky Marciano defeated Jersey Joe Walcott with a vicious 13th round knockout to capture the heavyweight championship at Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia in 1952. After a stirring 12 rounds of boxing, Marciano landed an extraordinarily hard right hand flush on Walcott’s jaw to quickly end the match. Boxing historian Bert Randolph Sugar wrote in an ESPN article that it was the hardest punch he’s ever seen.


Ali versus Foreman

In an epic 1974 upset, Muhammad Ali regained his crown with an eighth round knockout of George Foreman in Zaire. The winning punch wasn’t necessarily ferocious, but it was perfectly timed and it allowed him to emerge victorious over Foreman in “The Rumble in the Jungle.”


Hagler versus Hearns

In an absolute brawl, Brockton’s Marvelous Marvin Hagler trumped Thomas Hearns with a bloody third round TKO in 1985 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Although the bout lasted less than nine minutes, ESPN immediately hailed it a classic.


Ali versus Liston

Ali again beat Sonny Liston in their 1965 rematch by first round knockout to retain the WBC heavyweight title in Lewiston, Maine. Ali floored Liston with a seemingly feathery punch, and Liston could not get to his feet as Ali was named the victor. Although Ali’s punch was relatively weak, it will always be one of his most famous knockouts because of the indelible image of him standing over Liston and urging him to get up.


Morrison versus Mercer

Ray Mercer brutally defeated Tommy Morrison by a fifth round TKO in 1991 at the Convention Center in Atlantic City. A solid hook and uppercut from Mercer knocked Morrison out cold. However, Morrison did not hit the canvas because he was held-up by the ropes. Mercer continued to pound an unconscious Morrison until the referee finally intervened.


Tyson versus Spinks

Mike Tyson basically scared Michael Spinks into a first round knockout loss in 1988 in Atlantic City. Granted, Tyson landed violent and powerful shots to earn the knockout. Still, Tyson intimidated Spinks into submission before the contest even began.


Foreman versus Frazier

Foreman pulverized Joe Frazier to achieve a second round TKO victory in 1973 in Jamaica. In total, Foreman knocked Frazier down an astounding six times in less than six minutes of action.


Foreman versus Moorer

A 45-year-old Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer in the 10th round to win the WBA heavyweight title in Las Vegas in 1994. Losing on all three scorecards, Foreman landed a thunderous right to the chin and Moore was finished.


Jones versus Hill

Roy Jones Jr. stopped Virgil Hill via a fourth round knockout in 1988 in Mississippi. With one right-hand to the body, Jones broke two of Hill’s ribs and finished the matchup. ESPN named this one of the greatest knockouts ever to come from a body blow.


Hopkins versus De La Hoya

Bernard Hopkins knocked out Oscar De La Hoya in the ninth round in 2004 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Hopkins managed to land a vicious blow directly to De La Hoya’s liver. ESPN named this knockout punch the best one to occur from a body blow.