As we await a night of (we hope) pure heavyweight slugging, this Saturday in Las Vegas, between Deontay Wilder, perhaps THE single hardest hitting heavyweight on the planet today, and Luis Ortiz, himself no slouch when it comes to releasing hurtful bombs encased inside leather, maybe it’s a good time to look back at THE biggest heavyweight punchers in the history of the sport.
Of course, no-one can extend a finger and point out the biggest heavyweight puncher and say, ‘there you go.’ No, it comes down to opinion, really, and not too much more. Sure, we can look at percentages and break it down that way. If, for example, a fighter has 50 KO wins from his 70 fights, that means a 66.67-percentage. Very impressive. But it’s down to the quality of opposition the fighter fought, surely.
If a fighter flattens a vast number of lesser opponents, men with losing records, it doesn’t count as much as a fighter taking care of business against legit contenders, true quality men, surely. At least, it shouldn’t count as much – no matter how electrifying or entertaining it may be seeing a heavyweight string together a series of brutal knockouts, the stature of the bodies falling to his handi-work being sub-par.
So basing things on the most important element: quality of opposition – who are the finest, most proficiently lethal heavyweight punchers ever?
Here’s an attempt to break it down. And remember, this list is predominantly basing things on QUALITY OF OPPOSITION:
Rocky Marciano – KO victims: Jersey Joe Walcott, Archie Moore, Ezzard Charles, Joe Louis (only two men ever stopped Joe, Rocky being the second).
George Foreman – KO victims: Joe Frazier (undefeated at the time), Ken Norton, George Chuvalo, Ron Lyle, Michael Moorer (also unbeaten at the time of the fight in which he was iced by Big George).
Mike Tyson – KO victims: Larry Holmes (Tyson the sole man to take out Larry), Michael Spinks (unbeaten at the time), Pinklon Thomas (Tyson the first man to take out “Pinky”), Tony Tubbs (Tyson the first man to KO the crafty Tubbs).
Joe Louis – KO victims: Jersey Joe Walcott, Jim Braddock (one of only two men to ever KO “The Cinderella Man”), Max Baer (Joe the first man to KO Max).
Sonny Liston – KO victims: Cleveland Williams (Liston only the second man to stop “Big Cat,” and he did it two times), Zora Folley (two corner retirements aside, Sonny was the first man to take out Zora), Floyd Patterson (X2).
Earnie Shavers – KO victims: Jimmy Young (Shavers the first man, and one of only two, to have ever stopped the super-slick Jimmy), Jimmy Ellis, Joe Bugner (a cut, yes, but Earnie was the second man, of just four, to have stopped Bugner), Roy “Tiger” Williams (Earnie the only man capable of stopping Tiger).
Wilder might have had a chance to have KO’d any man in history had he fought them, but his quality of opposition pales in comparison to the above giants.
Agree or disagree?