On this day of Halloween, when people almost everywhere are looking for something scary, let’s take a look back at some of the most frightening, indeed blood-chilling knockouts ever captured on film. Okay, Halloween is a bit of fun and nothing more, while the sport of boxing is a very serious thing, with fighters, all of them, risking their very lives when entering the ring.
That much taken fully onboard, the following list is not compiled with anything like a disrespectful attitude aimed at the fighters. All fighters deserve nothing but, as heavyweight great Lennox Lewis might put it, ’nuff respect.’
The following KO’s were gruesome, frightening, and they give us all a graphic example of just how dangerous the sport can be.
Donovan “Razor” Ruddock KO4 Michael Dokes.
This one, which took place in April of 1990, saw the emerging Ruddock all-but decapitate former heavyweight titlist Dokes. Unveiling his “Smash” to the watching public, Razor’s hybrid left hook/left uppercut whipped into Dokes’ head, the bomb landing three times. Dokes was left in a crumpled, devastated heap, with no chance of getting back up. Ruddock was the latest monster of the heavyweight division.
Vincent Pettway KO6 Simon Brown.
Talk about witnessing something truly disturbing. In this 154 pound match up, Pettway and Brown exchanged furious shots, with both men having to take some hurt. Then, in round six, Pettway landed a scorching hook to Brown’s head. Down and out but with his inner fighting instinct not knowing it, Brown, his eyes tight shut, threw out odd-looking, slow-motion punches as he was laid on his back. This KO wasn’t/isn’t for the squeamish.
Ray Mercer KO5 Tommy Morrison.
“Merciless” really did live up to his chilling nickname in this fight. After absorbing Morrison’s best shots for better part of four rounds, Mercer suddenly exploded into life. Morrison, with a bewildered look on his face, was soon shellacked by a vicious torrent of blows, all of which landed on his head and jaw. His eyes now shut, Morrison was held up by the ropes, with Mercer allowed (by a referee who was nothing short of incompetent on this night) to blast away. Finally, Morrison slid to the mat. It was awful to watch. For a few reasons.
Julian Jackson KO4 Herol Graham.
Never has a man scored a victory when he was so close to being stopped himself. Fighting for the middleweight title, Jackson had been thoroughly outboxed by the slick Graham, with Jackson’s eyes swollen up, to the extent that the referee was hovering closely, just seconds away from stopping the fight. But then, with Graham letting his guard down for a second, “The Hawk” reached back and swung with a right hand, the shattering blow landing flush on Graham’s jaw. Out the split-second the blow made contact, Graham was left flat on the canvas, his chest heaving.
Arturo Gatti KO2 Joey Gamache.
This one should have been avoided, and the sickening knockout Gatti scored saw Gamache take legal action. Having both weighed-in for the 141 pound catch-weight fight, Gatti gained a ton of weight before the fight – to the tune of 19 pounds. By comparison, Gamache came in at 145 on the night. Gatti, who dropped Gamache twice in the opening round, smashed Gamache into a terrifying state of oblivion in round two. Gamache was taken to hospital and he almost died due to the head trauma he had been the victim of. This fight was basically one that was fought between a middleweight and a small welterweight.
Gerry Cooney KO1 Ken Norton.
Arguably the most chilling first-round KO in heavyweight history. The up-and-coming Cooney wasted no time in taking out former heavyweight champ Norton. With his vaunted left hook doing the damage, Cooney backed Norton into a corner, and he blasted away at a defenceless target. Norton, almost sitting on the ropes, was forced to take over a dozen flush punches to the head. Another terrible night by the referee, one who, sadly, had more than one bad night during his career.
Thankfully, neither of these listed KO’s resulted in a fatality.