By Ken Hissner: The hardest puncher usually named is Heavyweight Earnie “The Black Destroyer” Shavers, who was 74-14-1 with 68 knockouts from Warren, Ohio, from 1969 to 1995. If he didn’t knock you out, he usually at least knocked you down, including the best of the best like Muhammad Ali, whom he knocked down in the second round (though www.boxrec.com doesn’t show that) and Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes in their second fight knocking him down in the seventh but getting stopped by Holmes in the eleventh.
For instance, Shavers knocked down James “Quick” Tillis in the ninth round but lost a 10-round decision. He had Ken Norton down twice in the first only to get stopped by Norton in the same round. In his second fight with Jimmy Young, he had him down in the fourth in their match that ended in a draw. It was rumored Shavers had asthma, and if he didn’t get you within five rounds, he ran out of gas.
Sonny Liston, 50-4 with 39 knockouts, possibly had the hardest jab of all time. In his fight with, I believe, Wayne Bethea (thought it was Bert Whitehurst, but he went the distance twice with Liston) or whoever the fighter wouldn’t come out for the second round. When his trainer questioned him, and when he opened his mouth, several teeth were missing even though he had a mouthpiece in.
Two division world champion Venezuela’s Edwin “El Inca Dinamita” Valero, 27-0 with 27 knockouts before committing suicide in a prison cell. Among those, he knocked out were in his last fight Antonio DeMarco, 23-1-1, in defending his WBC Lightweight title. In winning that vacant WBC title, he stopped Antonio Pitalua, 47-3. In a WBA Super Featherweight title bout, he knocked down Vincent Mosquera, 24-1-1, twice in the first round, got dropped in the third, and stopped his opponent in the tenth round.
Five division world champion Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, 61-5-1 with 48 knockouts from Detroit, Michigan. He won his first seventeen bouts by knockout. He came to Philadelphia and went the distance with Philly’s Alfonso Hayman, 20-15-5, having been stopped five times. IBHOF Philly Promoter J Russell Peltz remembered this fight and wasn’t impressed with Hearns like he later would be like the rest of us. He fought from 1977-to 2006.
Light heavyweight champion Archie “Old Mongoose” Moore, 186-23-10 with 132 knockouts, holds the record for the most knockouts in a career by most. One of his most famous knockdowns was dropping then heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano in the second round while being dropped by Marciano four times, with the final knocking Moore out in the ninth round. It was Marciano’s last fight ending at 49-0 with 43 knockouts.
The second was Heavyweight Young “King of the Canebrakes” Stribling, 224-13-14, from Macon, Georgia, with 126 (129 also shown on www.boxrec.com) was second from 1921 to 1933.
The third was Light Heavyweight Sam “The Boston Bonecrusher” Langford, 178-30-38 with 126 knockouts from Nova Scotia, Canada, and Boston, MASS., from 1903 to 1926. The fourth was Middleweight Billy Bird, 260-73-20 with 125 (139 also shown on www.boxrec.com), from Chelsea, London, UK, from 1921 to 1948.
Others of interest with high percentage stoppages are 2-time Heavyweight champion “Big” George Foreman, 76-5 with 68 knockouts from 1969 to 1997, from Houston, Texas, whose percentage is almost the same as Shavers.
Heavyweight champion Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis, 66-3 with 52 knockouts, from 1934 to 1951, from Detroit, Michigan. Heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, 42-2-1 with 41 knockouts, from 2008 to 2021, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Middleweight champion Stanley “The Michigan Assassin” Ketchel, 49-5-3 with 46 knockouts from 1903 to 1910 from Butte, Montana, though born in Michigan, who was shot to death ending his career.’
In challenging for the heavyweight title, he had champion Jack “The Galveston Giant” Johnson on the canvas only to be knocked out with such force one of his teeth was implanted into a glove of Johnson.
The all-time p4p no. 1 boxer was great 2-division champion “Sugar” Ray Robinson, 174-19-2 with 109 knockouts from Harlem, New York, from 1940 to 1965.
These are some famous mentioned, of course, that you may find of interest, and I am sure our readers will come up with others that I look forward to learning about.
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