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.