By Luis Felipe Dominguez
Boxing is riddled with great fighters who have left an indelible mark on the memory of fans, and the king division of boxing, the heavyweight, has given us some of the greatest and most charismatic boxers in history.
Although some of them will forever be remembered due to their technique, their defense, their intelligence, there is no doubts that the ones that cause the most expectation are the most powerful, the ones that we know will go out to throw punches and most likely will give us what all of us who follow boxing enjoy, a victory by knockout.
Not all the great boxers have been great punchers nor have great fist power that could place them among the best… for example Muhammad Ali, who could be considered the greatest heavyweight in history, won only 59% of his fights by the way of KO, so he didn’t possess the greatest punching power… he’s still someone we all enjoyed having a chance to see him. Ali, however, is the exception when it comes to boxers who raise emotions … most of them do it for their strength, for their ability to finish the bouts before the limit.
We are going to review here the 10 Heavyweight division champions who have had the most power in the last 50 years … the most knockouts. They are not necessarily the best 10 but they are the ones who most frequently win without going to the judges´ scorecards. We will present them in descending order according to the analysis we did.
Some boxers who didn’t make it to the Top 10 are still worth mentioning:
The Top 10
His record is 43 wins and a single loss. He ended up knocking out 75% of his opponents, 33 of his victories were by KO.
The British Lion had a record of 41 wins, two losses and one draw. 78% of his wins were within the limit, although in his championship fights the KO percentage decreased to 59%.
For current generations that name may be almost unknown but in his time he was a very feared fighter. “Smokin Joe” had an impressive punching power … 73% of all his fights ended by KO and 84% of his victories were by the way of KO. Of his 10 world championship fight wins, 7 ended in knockouts.
I daresay it’s the least known name on this list but boy did he have power. He has the highest percentage in terms of knockouts among his victories … of the 35 fights he won, 34 were by KO (97%) and of his total bouts (wins and losses) he has a 87% KO ratio.
He has a 77% KO Ratio of his 64 bouts, 83% of his wins were by knockout. His percentages are more impressive if we consider that of his last 8 fights, already 37 years old or older, he only won 3 by KO.
This is a complicated case to evaluate … he won 84% of all his fights (76) via KO, which is impressive … the complicated thing is that not all his rivals were of a high level and he only had 11 world championship fights, mainly related to his 10-year retirement (one more factor that makes it difficult to compare him with others).
Although he is a fighter with few matches yet (he was born in 1989), he has shown great power so far, winning 21 of his 23 victories (91%) by KO. Six of his eight wins in championship fights have been by KO, although against Andy Ruiz he showed he can be knocked out too.
I daresay he may be the most exciting fighter in the premier division in history. With 50 wins , six losses, he achieved 88% of his wins by KO (44). His first 19 wins were by KO. It is usually thought that if Tyson formula of knocking out rivals didn’t work out, he simply didn’t win … it will surprise many to know that the 5 occasions in which a Tyson fight was defined by decision, he came out with his fist raised.
He ended his career with 45 wins and two losses … of those 45 fights, 41 were by KO, which is 91%. Of his 17 title fights, he won 12 of them by KO (out of a total of 15 wins)… 71% of knockout victories in title fights is the second highest percentage of boxers included in this list. Without as much publicity as Tyson had at the time, I daresay he was even more intimidating.
He is 42 – 1 – 1 … of his 42 wins only one has not been by knockout … he has a 93% KO percentage in all of his fights is the highest of all … the 98% of his wins have been by KO, also the highest … 82% of knockout wins in championship fights is also the highest. Virtually any metric tells you the same thing … Deontay Wilder is the strongest, most powerful heavyeeight in the last 50 years.
The fights in the Heavyweight division are tremendously attractive and when they include a boxer with the ability to end it at any time, even more so. We still have two active fighters of the 10 we have included in the list to enjoy. Joshua and Wilder will surely continue to deliver emotions to the limit for several more years … having the maximum knockout in the brilliant history of the emperor division still in force is an enormous privilege … let’s enjoy them.