Boxing: Great Uppercuts

george foreman(Big George Foreman) 16.09.07 - By Ted Sares: Completing my short series on great punches, here are a few memorable uppercuts that had concussive effects:

But first a word about this lethal punch: The uppercut is best used and causes more damage when launched at close range. Uppercuts do the most damage when hitting the chin, but also cause damage when thrown to the body or when landing on the nose or eyes. The uppercut usually starts from the attacker's belly. In a combination, it is usually the second punch thrown, after the jab, but it can also initiate or finish a combination.

When throwing an uppercut, it is imperative to stay close to the target so as to prevent the opponent from detecting that the punch is coming and countering.

Moreover, an uppercut thrown from the outside, in addition to leaving the attacker vulnerable, does not have as much force since the arm is no longer bent at the elbow and cannot effectively leverage and/or transfer the body's force in the desired upward movement. Some fighters who utilized the uppercut to great advantage were (are) young Devlin Rodriguez, James Toney, Julio Cesar Chavez, Ernie Shavers, Mike Tyson, Carlos Zarate, Wilfredo Gomez, Ruben Olivares, Genaro Hernandez and many more. In particular, a prime Tyson used it to initiate what turned out to be finishing salvos. The manner in which he would step aside and then throw it was something to behold.

1986: Mike Tyson vs. Jesse Ferguson. In Tyson's first nationally televised bout against the journeyman, he knocked down Ferguson with an uppercut in the fifth round that reportedly broke his nose (as Tyson had promised he would do). Jesse went down like he had been sapped by a Chicago cop. It was brutal.

1987: Mike Tyson vs. Pinklon Thomas. Tyson landed a fast and malefic right uppercut in the sixth that was the beginning of a savage end for Thomas. During the final salvo, he landed two more that had concussion written all over them.

james buster douglasAuthor with Buster Douglass.

1990: James "Buster" Douglas vs. Mike Tyson. In a testimony to what goes around comes around, Buster initiated his fight ending three-punch combo with a sharp uppercut that snapped TysonÕs had back and almost removed it from his body. The rest is history.

1990: Big George Foreman vs. Irish Jerry Cooney. Big George landed several powerful punches in the second round on Cooney's head and jaw. Jerry froze and was decked twice. Foreman simply could not miss with his several power shots many of which were malefic rights but also included a devastating uppercut that would have felled an ox. It was one of the most devastating knockouts in heavyweight history.

2000: Lennox Lewis vs. Michael Grant. With 44-seconds remaining in round two, after having drilled Grant with several violent shots, Lewis stalked him down. He then held his head in place with his left as he launched another crushing right uppercut. This one crunched Grant who fell backwards slamming to the floor like a chopped tree. It was all over for the overrated challenger thanks to Lewis's savvy use of the uppercut which some called a hold and uppercut combo. Whatever it was, Grant could not cope with it.

2003: Kirk Johnson vs. Lou Savarese. Heavyweight contender Johnson caught affable Lou with a flurry of shots midway through the fourth round and finished him with a wicked left uppercut to the chin. LouÕs eyes rolled back as he hit canvas with blood pouring from his nose. Referee Laurence Cole wisely waved off the bout at 1:52 of the fourth round.

2003: James Toney vs. Vasily Jirov. Toney sealed the deal with an uppercut that has the Russian down and almost out. It was one of many he threw all night and one of the many he has thrown in his career, particularly as a counter off the ropes.

2006: David Diaz vs. Jose Armando Santa Cruz. After nine rounds, Diaz was way behind on the cards. He was swollen and battered around the eyes. He needed a knockout to win and that's just what he got via a dramatic left uppercut that he landed from his southpaw stance in the 10th round. It was one of the great punches of the year. The perfectly placed blow snatched defeat from certain victory for Santa Cruz. When the Chicagoan landed the big uppercut, it spelled the end as Santa Cruz went down twice more before being rescued by Richard Steele. Diaz was now on everyone's radar screen.

Article posted on 17.09.2007

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