Upcoming Boxing Fights Most Likely to End in Knockouts
Few events in sports are more exciting than the knockout. Gennady Golovkin is the hottest fighter in the sport on the strength of stopping 20 straight opponents and 30 out of 33 in his career.
Even boxing purists, who geek out over defensive wizardry, jump to their feet with a shout when a fighter stops his opponent short with a dramatic barrage or a sudden action-ending shot.
The good news for boxing fans is that the 2015 calendar has a lot of potential KOs waiting on it. All 10 fights on this list have an outstanding chance of finishing up early.
10. Terence Crawford vs. Dierry Jean on October 24
Thomas Dulorme and Yuriorkis Gamboa are arguably the two best opponents that undefeated Terence Crawford has faced, and neither one of them made it the distance. So there's a very good chance Dierry Jean will fail to do so when he challenges for Crawford's WBO super lightweight title on October 24.
But Crawford is an outstanding boxer with knockout power, not a knockout machine. He adjusts his approach to an opponent and wages a smart, tactical fight.
He has been content simply to dominate against tough opponents such as Ricky Burns and Raymundo Beltran, winning rounds while refusing to put himself in danger.
Jean is no pushover either. He lost cleanly against Lamont Peterson in January 2014 but had his moments during the fight. He's a compact, durable fighter.
If the opportunity is there for Crawford to land a big punch, he'll grab it. But there's a strong chance this one goes to the cards, with Crawford winning nearly every round.
9. Miguel Cotto vs. Saul Alvarez on November 21
Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez both have the potential to knock each other out. Cotto, 34, is an experienced, well-rounded fighter and has won his last three bouts by dominant stoppage. Alvarez is the bigger (5'9") and younger man (age 25) and has dangerous power in both fists.
But I wouldn't be surprised to see this one go the distance in a back-and-forth war. Expect Alvarez to assert himself early and then Cotto to make adjustments and come on strong in the middle rounds.
The championship rounds will be a gut-check moment for both men and some of the most exciting boxing minutes of the year.
But even though I'm predicting this one goes the distance, I won't be surprised to see either man stop his opponent early.
8. Andrzej Fonfara vs. Nathan Cleverly on October 10
Since there is no world title on the line for this bout, it's flying a bit under the radar. But it has the potential to be a very good fight.
Nathan Cleverly is a former world titleholder. Andrzej Fonfara is one of the top five light heavyweights in the world right now. Last April he pounded Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., forcing the legend's son to quit in his corner after Round 9.
Fonfara is a perfect blue-collar fighter to represent his adopted city of Chicago. The Polish native worked his way up in the sport from total obscurity, losing two of his first 12 fights.
But in recent years, he's developed into a true contender. Since 2008, he's lost only to WBC and lineal champion Adonis Stevenson by unanimous decision in a battle where he was coming on strong at the end.
I expect Fonfara to win this by one-sided unanimous decision, but I won't be surprised if he records a late stoppage.
7. Lucas Matthysse vs. Viktor Postol on October 3
Anytime Lucas Matthysse enters the ring, there's an outstanding chance he will end the night early. He's one of the sport's most dangerous offensive fighters. He's won 34 of his 40 professional fights by knockout.
Even in two of his three losses, he knocked the other man down.
So on October 3, there's a strong chance that Viktor Postol will suffer his first career loss and that it will happen inside of the distance.
But fans shouldn't sleep on Postol. He's a tough, skilled boxer with the physical tools to keep Matthysse on the outside and make things frustrating for him.
Matthysse is a popular and feared fighter for a reason. He's the boxing embodiment of the unstoppable force.
He should win this fight by KO. But Postol won't make it easy for him.
6. Peter Quillin vs. Michael Zerafa on September 12
Peter Quillin is an undefeated former world champion. He's an explosive puncher with 22 KOs in 32 fights. His draw with Andy Lee earlier this year was an exciting shootout.
Whenever Quillin fights, there's a good chance he'll win by stoppage.
On September 12, he faces a far less experienced fighter in Michael Zerafa. In his only previous fight outside of Australia, Zerafa lost a one-sided 10-round decision to Arif Magomedov in Russia in October 2014.
It seems unlikely that Zerafa's first trip to the United States will end with any more success than last year's visit to Russia did. This one has knockout written all over it.
5. Adonis Stevenson vs. Tommy Karpency on September 11
WBC and lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson is one of the most dangerous punchers in the sport regardless of weight. He seized his belt with a dramatic Round 1 KO of Chad Dawson.
He's won 13 straight fights, with 11 of those wins coming inside the distance. That Andrzej Fonfara and Sakio Bika both made it to the final bell against him says more about their toughness than it does about Stevenson's ability to knock an opponent out.
I'm not sure anybody is really excited to see Stevenson fight Tommy Karpency, but in fairness, Karpency is not totally undeserving of a shot. After losing back-to-back fights to Fonfara and Nathan Cleverly in 2012, he took all of 2013 off.
But since returning to action in 2014, he's won four straight, including a split decision over Dawson that I thought he clearly won. He's been a nice comeback story.
But that story almost certainly comes to an end against Stevenson on September 11. And unfortunately for Karpency, it's probably going to end with him flat on his back.
4. Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury on October 24
It's not for nothing that world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko is known by the nickname "Dr. Steelhammer." In his 67-fight career he has recorded a 79 percent KO rate.
Tyson Fury is a rugged and gigantic opponent. At 6'9", he will be the rare challenger who towers over the 6'6" champ.
But he has the kind of defensive holes that Klitschko is likely to exploit. If the 39-year-old lands the same sort of shot that former cruiserweight Steve Cunningham dropped Fury with in April 2013, Fury will go to sleep.
Fury's height is even likely to make Klitschko a more dangerous offensive opponent, as the champion won't be able to rely on the kind of clinch, lean and stall tactics he's sometimes shown in other fights. He'll need to come after Fury with aggression.
On the other hand, all three of Klitschko's career losses came by stoppage. While it is extremely unlikely that Fury upsets the long-reigning champion, if he does pull off the miracle, it will likely be with a KO.
3. Deontay Wilder vs. Johann Duhaupas on September 26
Undefeated WBC heavyweight belt holder Deontay Wilder has a career knockout rate of 97 percent. He started his career with 32 straight KOs.
There's no doubt that Wilder hits like a truck.
The glamour of his knockout streak was somewhat tarnished, though, by the mediocre quality of his opposition.
Frenchman Johann Duhaupas would have fit in very well with the names Wilder stopped during his pre-championship run. He might actually be a step down in quality from Wilder's last defense, a Round 9 stoppage of Eric Molina.
Duhaupas did beat former title challenger Manuel Charr by majority decision last April in Russia. It would be unfair to call him a bum.
But he's not an exciting challenger for Wilder, who could be an exciting champion if he would face the right opponents. Expect to see Wilder notch another knockout.
But don't expect fans outside of Wilder's native Alabama to get excited about it.
2. Roman Gonzalez vs. Brian Viloria on October 17
This has been the year when Roman Gonzalez has finally begun to get the sort of attention in the United States that his resume deserves. The three-division champion is 43-0 with 37 KOs, and he's still two years shy of 30.
You could make an argument that based on resume as well as current ability, Gonzalez is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Brian Viloria should be the best fighter he's faced at flyweight. Viloria is a two-division world champion and a solid, well-rounded fighter.
But he's also a bit past his prime (age 34) and fights with a style that the explosive Gonzalez should exploit. This fight is a perfect co-main event for Gennady Golovkin's pay-per-view clash with David Lemieux.
I expect Gonzalez to win inside of nine rounds.
1. Gennady Golovkin vs. David Lemieux on October 17
Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux have 61 knockouts between them. Lemieux's KO percentage is 86, and GGG's is 91.
So there's a strong chance that their October 17 unification fight will end inside of the distance.
Golovkin is the undefeated WBA champion and the hottest fighter in the sport, with 20 straight KOs.
But if it weren't for GGG, Lemieux is the middleweight we'd be talking about. The IBF champ has won nine straight, with seven of those wins coming by stoppage. His June win over Hassan N'Dam was a Fight of the Year candidate.
Golovkin is the more well-rounded fighter, and I expect him to win once more by KO. However, he's never been difficult to hit, and Lemieux is a dangerous offensive fighter in his own right.
So even if we see a major upset here, don't expect to see the final bell.