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The 8 Debate
December 24, 2012
Boxing's Greatest One-punch Knockouts
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December 24, 2012

The 8 Debate

Boxing's Greatest One-punch Knockouts

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The nicknames attached to boxing—the Sweet Science, the Manly Art of Self-Defense, the Fight Game—obscure the concussive violence at the heart of the sport. Then suddenly there's Manny Pacquiao—until then seemingly invincible—planking on the canvas in Las Vegas after a single right hand from Juan Manuel Márquez, and we are reminded that boxing is all about punches thrown and landed.

Here's a look at where Márquez's epic shot of Dec. 8 ranks among history's eight greatest one-punch KOs (that's one punch; no Dempsey-Willard mauling or Douglas-Tyson beatdown), rated on historical significance and sheer pyrotechnics.

1 Sugar Ray Robinson KO 5 Gene Fullmer, May 1, 1957

The fighter acclaimed as the best ever pound-for-pound, Robinson won back the middleweight crown with a textbook left hook, thrown while moving backward.

2 Rocky Marciano KO 13 Jersey Joe Walcott, Sept. 23, 1952

Marciano was a 9-to-5 favorite to take the heavyweight title from Walcott, but he was behind on points when he backed the champ to the ropes and landed a perfect right hand. Walcott, wrote A.J. Liebling, "flowed down like flour out of a chute."

3 Juan Manuel Márquez KO 6 Manny Pacquiao, Dec. 8, 2012

In their fourth meeting (after a draw and two narrow Pacquiao wins), the battered and bleeding Márquez finally provided a definitive ending.

4 Tommy Hearns TKO 2 Roberto Durán, June 15, 1984

Size determined the result in this match between two alltime greats, as the 6'1" Hitman poleaxed the 5'7" Durán with a huge right cross.

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