Who scored the finest, most explosively impressive, most memorable KO of 2020? The award for the finest knockout of the 12 months is always one fighters hope to pick up. A lights out KO is often something special, with a perfectly placed punch ending a fight with the speed and grace of a camera flash. Often we need replays to fully see, to fully understand and to fully appreciate the punching prowess that was just unveiled.
This year, we saw quite a few chilling knockouts – from heavyweight on down the weights. But when we take a look back it’s clear: the smaller men of the sport gave us plenty of highlight reel stuff in 2020.
Here are this writer’s picks for the three best KO’s of the year:
1: Gervonta Davis KO Leo Santa Cruz.
Emerging star (possible superstar) Davis pulled off a terrific one-punch KO in October, but he gets extra points due to how he did so against a genuinely tough warrior who had never previously been stopped. “Tank,” in his career-biggest fight to date, backed Santa Cruz to the ropes in the sixth round of what was shaping up as a great fight, before he unleashed a wicked left uppercut that landed flush on Leo’s chin. Instantaneously, Santa Cruz fell, his nervous system sent into oblivion.
This one was as frightening as it was electrifying. And it was Halloween Night, quite fittingly.
2: Alexander Povetkin KO Dillian Whyte.
Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte could have sat out the year, and he’d have still been ranked at No.1 by the WBC. Instead, his warrior-like tendencies getting the better of him, Whyte chose to take yet another risky fight.
For four rounds in August, it was Whyte’s fight and it was Whyte’s night, as Alexander Povetkin was beaten to the punch, out-thought and also sent to the canvas twice.
But then, in round five, Povetkin ruined Whyte with a superb left uppercut that slammed into Whyte’s chin. The fight was over. This one was shocking and hugely career-reviving.
3: Naoya Inoue KO Jason Moloney.
Known as “The Monster,” bantamweight destroyer Naoya Inoue had proven in his last fight that he could take it as well as give it, with the Japanese star going to war with Nonito Donaire for all 12 rounds last November.
Against Jason Moloney – on the same night Davis iced Santa Cruz – Inoue returned to his frightening best.
Inoue crushed his rival with a short right hand that blasted into his chin in round number seven. This was one of those KO’s where you went, “wow!” as soon as the shot landed.
In fact, the same can be said of all three KO’s recalled in this article. Three excellent fighters, two of them classed as “small men,” each gave us a huge knockout this year.