For sheer drama, excitement and exhilaration, there are few, if any, spectacles in sports that can compare to witnessing the sudden, stunning and memorable ending that comes with a one-punch knockout. Below is a Top 10 list of today’s heaviest-handed hitters compiled by renowned boxing historian and Showtime analyst Steve Farhood.
[Also See: 5 of the Best Chins in Recent Boxing History]
Farhood’s Top 10 Hardest Punchers in Boxing Today
1. Randall Bailey (43-7, 37 KO’s): The purest right hand in the game. Just ask welterweight Mike Jones, who in June was ahead on points when Bailey exploded with a straight right in round 10, and a fight-ending right uppercut in the 11th round. Bailey’s hook can be devastating as well. In 1999, he won his first world title on Showtime with a 41-second left hook knockout of Carlos Gonzalez.
2. Jhonny Gonzalez: History tells us that rangy, long-armed fighters can be devastating punchers (Thomas Hearns and Bob Foster, for example). Mexico’s Gonzalez has carried his power from bantamweight to featherweight. Sixteen of his 18 most recent bouts have ended in four rounds or less. Check out his hook-to-the-body, hook-to-the-head knockout of Roinet Caballero on YouTube. It’s chilling.
3. Lucas Matthysse: Lots of fighters compile eye-opening knockout stats against mediocre opposition, but Argentina’s Matthysse has displayed his power against the world’s best 140-pounders. He floored both Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, and his knockdown of former champion Humberto Soto in June was the first of the Mexican’s 68-bout career.
4. Wladimir Klitschko (58-3, 51 KO’s) and Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KO’s): No sense separating them; they are both giants, and when they create maximum leverage with their respective straight right hands, their opponents fall stiff. Wlad has stopped his opponents in 16 of 19 title-fight wins, and Vitali has done the same in 11 of 14 such wins.
5. Sergio Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KO’s): The Argentine middleweight’s knockout percentage isn’t overwhelming, but that’s because Martinez’s style is more boxer than puncher. The southpaw’s four most recent performances, however, have been from the George Foreman School of Carnage: one-punch knockouts of Paul Williams and Darren Barker, and a combined eight knockdowns in stoppage wins over Sergiy Dzinziruk and Matthew Macklin.
6. Adonis Stevenson (18-1, 15 KO’s): This Canada-based super middleweight hasn’t yet faced the division’s best, but his concussive power has been evident in all of his recent wins. The stocky southpaw’s left hand has wrecked Noe Gonzalez, Jesus Gonzalez and Aaron Pryor Jr.
7. Roman Gonzalez (32-0, 27 KO’s): You may not recognize the victims on this Nicaraguan powerhouse’s record. Then again, you may not be aware of Gonzalez at all. Trust me: he’s a two-division (105 and 108 pounds) titlist who steamrolls his opponents with constant pressure, exceptional strength and bludgeoning power. Plus he’s done almost all of his work on the road.
8. Kendall Holt (28-5, 16 KO’s): A relatively low knockout percentage, especially among this group, but as a puncher, Holt is his own worst enemy: he often fights far too cautiously. His one-punch, left hook power has surfaced against quality fighters, such as Timothy Bradley (a particularly vicious knockdown in round one), Julio Diaz, Ricardo Torres and Tim Coleman.
9. Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KO’s): Donaire’s one-punch sock surfaced in his two most recent wins; he failed to stop junior featherweights Jeffrey Mathebula and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., but downed them along the way for the first time in their respective careers. With Donaire, it’s almost always the left hook. His knockouts of Vic Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel are highlight-reel staples.
10. Javier Fortuna (20-0, 15 KO’s): Granted, this Dominican junior lightweight is only beginning to establish himself as a contender, but his southpaw left has been responsible for the type of knockout crunch that speaks of a championship future. In his two most recent starts, he smashed the usually sturdy Cristobal Cruz and unbeaten prospect Yuandale Evans. Fortuna’s 2010 knockout of Victor Valenzuela (available on YouTube) is among the most devastating you’ll ever see.