What was your pick for KO of the Year for 2022? For some, the award went to the through-the-ropes KO Leigh Wood scored over Michael Conlan, this in the final round of a genuine a featherweight slugfest. For others, the KO of the Year was scored by Terence Crawford, this when the WBO welterweight and reigning (for some) pound-for-pound champ took out David Avanesyan in shuddering fashion.
Others still chose the KO handy-work Joe Cordina turned in to take out Kenichi Ogawa, this one taking place at super-featherweight. While some folks picked the chilling KO – chilling both before and after the lights out moment – that Caleb Plant scored over bitter rival Anthony Dirrell.
It was back in October when Plant and Dirrell fought in New York, on the undercard of Deontay Wilder’s return against Robert Helenius. As impressive as Wilder’s one-punch KO of Helenius was, Plant’s icing of Dirrell was more impressive, more nasty.
The two super-middleweights had engaged in plenty of back-and-forth trash-talk in the lead-up to their fight, with the bad blood being about as real as it gets. Plant was coming off his first pro loss, this at the hands of Canelo Alvarez, and the former IBF champ was 21-1(12). Dirrell, eight years the older man at 38 and a former two-time WBC champ at 168 pounds, was 34-2-2(25) coming in. Both men fought hard in trying to secure victory.
It was a good fight, an entertaining fight, but the ending was X-rated highlight reel stuff. Plant, known as “Sweet Hands,” uncorked a sweet left hand to Dirrell’s body before coming up in a flash with an even sweeter left hook to the jaw. Dirrell went down heavily on his back the instant the hook exploded, remaining motionless for some time. As his rival lay prostrate on the canvas, for all he knew in serious distress, Plant then ramped up the nastiness even further, this by going into his “gravedigger” routine.
Plant mimicked a person using a shovel to dig, the tasteless act spoiling the beauty of his quite exquisite knockout. Thankfully, Dirrell was okay. More than that, Dirrell showed sportsmanship in defeat, with the beaten fighter making no excuses for having been beaten (this so rare these days, when so, so many beaten fighters come up with an X,Y and Z of excuses).
Plant was deadly in that ninth round, but he took the showboating far too far. Nevertheless, Plant scored, for many, this year’s most memorable KO. Plant certainly scored this year’s nastiest knockout.
Agree or disagree?