50. DENNIS ANDRIES vs JEFF HARDING III
September 11, 1991
These granite-tough light-heavyweights slugged it out for 31 rounds over three fights and this may have been the best of them, a round that left BBC commentator Harry Carpenter gasping: “Have you ever seen anything like it?” Harding won the rubber match on points and said afterwards: “The nearest thing to this was (Marvin) Hagler-(Thomas) Hearns.”
49. TED CHEESEMAN vs SAM EGGINGTON
August 1, 2020
Both were shaken up in a dramatic final minute. Moments after stiffening Cheeseman’s legs with a clean volley of shots, Eggington found himself being driven back into a corner. Eggington enjoyed the to-and-fro action as much as the fans, smiling as Cheeseman, who would prevail on points, fired punches at him.
48. MIKE TYSON vs FRANK BRUNO
February 25, 1989
The bookmakers fancied an early finish and they so nearly got it. Down inside the opening 20 seconds, Bruno had a nation on its feet when he connected with a left hook later in the round that sent shivers down Tyson’s legs. He couldn’t find another punch like it and was mostly on the receiving end until the fifth-round finish.
47. JACK JOHNSON vs STANLEY KETCHEL
October 16, 1910
The rumour was, heavyweight champion Johnson and middleweight boss Ketchel had agreed this fight would go the full 20 rounds. It didn’t turn out like that. Ketchel dropped Johnson in the 12th – and was made to pay, being laid out for a full 10 minutes by a right-hand piledriver.
46. ALFREDO ANGULO vs RICHARD GUTIERREZ
May 17, 2008
Badly shaken by a left hook early in the round, Angulo hung on until his head cleared, started landing left-rights that had Gutierrez unsteady and then went for broke. Just when it seemed Gutierrez had survived the storm, Angulo started connecting cleanly again and the referee jumped in.
45. JAMES DEGALE vs BADOU JACK
January 14, 2017
This back-and-forth fight between elite super-middleweights looked to be up for grabs going into the last. DeGale was dropped, hung on and shook Jack with the last punch of a hard fight. It was called a draw.
44. JOE LOUIS vs TONY GALENTO
June 28, 1939
The round when the short, fat and – so everyone thought beforehand – hopelessly outclassed Galento had the heavyweight champion of the world on the floor. Galento had shaken up Louis in the opening round with left hooks before being dropped himself in the second, the first knockdown of his career. The following round, it was Louis on the canvas, put there by a perfectly-timed short left hook. Louis was up quickly and Galento chased him around the ring throwing left hook after left hook at him. He didn’t land as cleanly again and by the bell, his face was a bloody and bruised mess. Louis finished him in the next.
43. JUAN MANUEL LÓPEZ vs DANIEL PONCE DE LEÓN II
March 15, 2014
Ponce de León wanted revenge for a one-round defeat six years earlier and went for the knockout after dropping López in the second. Ponce de León ended up on his back after López beat him to the punch with a southpaw right hook and he was down again before the finish.
42. IRAN BARKLEY vs ROBERTO DURÁN
February 24, 1989
The fight appeared to be slipping away from Durán, so he put it on Barkley in the seventh and “The Blade” slugged with him as both were rocked. Durán dropped Barkley in the 11th on the way to a split points win.
41. VITALI KLITSCHKO vs CORRIE SANDERS
April 24, 2004
Sanders had wiped out Wladimir Klitschko and the South African banger had his moments against his elder brother during seven back-and-forth rounds. Sanders had Klitschko under pressure in the eighth until Klitschko cracked him on the chin with a right. This time, Sanders had no response. Klitschko unloaded around 20 punches until the referee jumped in.
40. THOMAS HEARNS vs IRAN BARKLEY I
June 6, 1988
After two rounds, Barkley was cut under his left eyebrow and his mouth was dripping blood. The punishment went on in the third and as Hearns stopped to decide which punch to hit Barkley with next, “The Blade” lashed out desperately with a right hand. Hearns moved into the path of the punch and it smacked him flush on the jaw with terrific force, freezing his body and leaving him defenceless for a split second. Barkley drove him to the floor with another right. Somehow Hearns got up, but the end was only seconds away.
39. ERIC BOON vs ARTHUR DANAHAR
February 23, 1939
Boon sensed the end was near, got careless and shipped a right hand that dropped him for a count of ‘four.’ Danahar added an extra punch while Boon was on the floor, adding further fire to his fighting. Boon picked himself up and went straight on the attack. Danahar stood his ground and they traded furiously until the bell. Boon forced a 14th round stoppage.
38. TERRY NORRIS vs TROY WATERS
June 19, 1993
Norris looked well in control before Waters opened up to drop him with a flurry. Norris took the fight to Waters on the resumption, pushing him back to the ropes and blazing away with both hands, and was then stunned himself after the Aussie responded. Waters retired after the third.
37. JOE CALZAGHE vs BYRON MITCHELL
June 28, 2003
CALZAGHE had “never been on the floor” until Mitchell cracked him with a short right hook to the chin after a series of body shots. Calzaghe got up and chose to slug his way out of trouble. He sent Mitchell down with a left and had him out on his feet with his follow-up attack to force the stoppage.
36. FLOYD PATTERSON vs INGEMAR JOHANSSON III
March 13, 1961
Three knockdowns in the opening round of this heavyweight rubber match. Patterson was over twice from right hands and then dropped Johansson in the dying seconds of the round with a left hook. Patterson won in the sixth.
35. THOMAS HEARNS vs JUAN DOMINGO ROLDÁN
October 29, 1987
Hearns survived an almighty wobble to become a four-weight titlist. Roldán had “The Hitman” in trouble with a left hook, but his follow-up swings mostly missed and Hearn smashed him out of the fight later in the round with a right-hand blast.
34. PRINCE NASEEM HAMED vs KEVIN KELLEY
December 19, 1997
By the time the bell rang to start the fourth, Hamed had been down twice, Kelley once. Kelley was soon down again and picked himself up to make Hamed touch down. Kelley swung big shots at Hamed on the resumption – and ran onto a punch that ended a crazy fight.
33. RAY MANCINI v ARTURO FRIAS
May 8, 1982
Described as “like thresher machines gone haywire as they traded huge shots at breakneck speed.” Both were shaken before Mancini dropped Frias and forced the stoppage six seconds from the end of a breath-taking round.
32. ARTURO GATTI v IVAN ROBINSON I
August 22, 1988
The drama came in the final minute. First, Gatti was in desperate trouble as Robinson repeatedly found his chin with clean shots. With around 20 seconds left, Gatti crashed rights off Robinson’s jaw to have him stumbling around the ring. The fight went the full 10 rounds and Robinson won on points.
31. ACELINO FREITAS v JORGE BARRIOS
August 9, 2003
At the start of the round, commentators said this super-featherweight clash was a fight “of twists and turns” and there were a couple more in these three minutes. Freitas found himself on the seat of his trunks from a left-right and Barrios spent the next minute or so chasing him around the ring. Freitas started to see the punches coming, slipped them and the last punch of the round was a right-hand cannonball from the Brazilian that left Barrios out on his feet. He crashed to the canvas and Freitas finished him in the next.
30. NIGEL BENN vs IRAN BARKLEY
August 18, 1990
Benn raced from his corner to smash Barkley with a right hand and seconds later, he was on the floor. The next 90 seconds belonged to the American. He had Benn retreating on rubbery legs with a left hook and kept him on the ropes with jolting shots. While dodging punches, Benn started to find Barkley’s chin with sledgehammer rights, Eventually, Barkley had to give ground and Benn fired another right to the chin that dropped him, adding another shot while he was on his knees. Benn knew another knockdown would finish the fight, went for broke and got it.
29. ANTHONY JOSHUA vs WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO
April 29, 2017
Trainer Robert McCracken told Joshua to get in first with his right hand in the fifth. He did and Klitschko was hurt. As Joshua kept the punches coming, Klitschko desperately tried to grab hold of him, but Joshua found room, kept punching and Klitschko slid to his knees. He immediately picked himself up, but still looked dazed – and Joshua had two minutes left to finish him. Joshua couldn’t find the veteran’s chin cleanly again and shipped a left hook that had him on rubbery legs and on the brink of defeat.
28. CARL THOMPSON vs EZRA SELLERS
November 26, 2001
Both cruiserweight bangers were on the floor in the opening round and the drama continued in the second. Thompson rocked Sellers and the American southpaw opened up with a volley of punches to drop him. Thompson was stiff legged when the fight resumed and looked a clean punch from defeat. From nowhere he connected with a right hand and Sellers was down. Sellers was in desperate trouble and only just made it through the last 30 seconds to the bell. Sellers went on to score a knockout in the fourth.
27. FIDEL BASSA vs DAVE McAULEY I
April 25, 1987
“Would you believe it?” asked the BBC’s Harry Carpenter after the ninth. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. It goes one way, then the other.” There had been three knockdowns in the previous eight rounds, McAuley scoring two of them against the flyweight belt-holder from Colombia. McAuley looked in trouble in the ninth – until he rallied to drop Bassa twice. There would be no Irish fairytale, however, as Bassa forced a 13th round stoppage.
26. ARCHIE MOORE vs YVON DURELLE I
December 10, 1958
Fighting a couple of months before his 45th birthday, Moore was down three times in the first and was sent crashing again in the fifth by a crunching right hand to the jaw. Moore was on rubbery legs when the fight restarted and decided to slug his way through the crisis, having the Canadian staggering in the closing seconds with a thumping right hand. Moore pulled through with an 11th round knockout.
25. LARRY HOLMES vs TIM WITHERSPOON
May 20, 1983
Midway through the round, Holmes knew he had to fight back or he would lose the heavyweight championship. Witherspoon had dazed him with clobbering rights, hurt him to the body and then sent him wobbling into a corner. Holmes put everything he had into a right hand – and it crashed onto Witherspoon’s chin. The challenger was stopped in his tracks and Holmes was back in the fight. The to-and-fro action went on until the bell, and Holmes ran out a tight points winner after 15.
24. MIGUEL COTTO vs RICARDO TORRES
September 24, 2005
We could have picked any of the seven rounds, but will go for the first. Cotto dropped the Colombian and was then badly shaken himself. Cotto was dropped for the first time in his career in the second and said after coming through a five-knockdown, seven-round war: “I had to win.”
23. NIGEL BENN vs ANTHONY LOGAN
October 26, 1988
The Jamaican had Benn down in the first and swaying and ready to fall in the next. Out of desperation, Benn swung a right hand that missed by a mile. Then he slung a left hook – and Logan went down for the full count.
22. LEE ROY MURPHY vs CHISANDA MUTTI
October 19, 1985
The cruiserweight title fight with the Rocky II ending. Champion Murphy and Mutti had the same idea at the same time. They both let go right hands – and they both hit the floor. Murphy struggled up at ’six,’ Mutti stayed down.
21. JOHN DAVID JACKSON vs JORGE CASTRO
December 10, 1994
The opening two minutes of the ninth round were much the same as the previous eight, as Jackson more or less did as he pleased with the Argentine. Commentators were wondering how much more Castro could take – and then out of nowhere he dropped Jackson with a left hook. He was down twice more and the fight was over.
20. JAKE LAMOTTA vs LAURENT DAUTHILLE II
September 13, 1950
Up on the scorecards after 14 rounds, Dauthille went on the attack at the start of the last – and ran into trouble. LaMotta detonated a left hook off his chin that left the Frenchman on the brink. LaMotta kept the punches coming until Dauthille was laid out over the bottom rope where he was counted out with only 13 seconds left.
19. JAMES KIRKLAND vs ALFREDO ANGULO
November 5, 2011
Dropped in the opening seconds, Kirkland was soon under fire again and the referee told him to start throwing back or the fight would be over. So he did start throwing back – and landed enough punches to drop Angulo before the bell. Kirkland went on to win in the sixth.
18. ISRAEL VÁZQUEZ vs RAFAEL MÁRQUEZ II
August 4, 2007
VÁzquez got his redemption for a seven-round defeat the hard way. The third round was the most action-packed before Vázquez got the stoppage in the sixth.
17. RIDDICK BOWE vs EVANDER HOLYFIELD I
November 13, 1992
The force of Bowe’s right hand connecting with Holyfield’s chin left him seeing stars. Bowe knew he was dazed and threw everything at Holyfield, but when he had emptied his tank, Holyfield was still standing – determined to get his own back. Bowe had his legs stiffened briefly before pulling himself together to slug with Holyfield and they swapped power punches until the bell. Bowe dropped Holyfield in the 11th and won on points.
16. ANTHONY JOSHUA vs ANDY RUIZ I
June 1, 2019
Joshua was first to strike, dropping Ruiz for the first time in his professional career. “I was like, ‘What the hell just happened? I have to get him back’,” said Ruiz later. Around 15 seconds after the fight resumed, Ruiz had him on the floor. Ruiz had around 90 seconds left in the round to finish Joshua and there were 11 seconds remaining when he launched a furious two-fisted attack. ‘AJ’ went down again, dragged himself up and the bell rang before either could throw another punch.
15. SOMSAK SITHCHATCHAWAL vs MAHYAR MONSHIPOUR
March 18, 2006
Sithchatchawal spent the opening two minutes of the round wobbling on the brink of defeat before he slung a southpaw left that stunned Monshipour – and gave him hope. The Thai kept churning out punches until the referee stepped in.
14. CHAN HEE PARK vs GUTY ESPADAS
December 16, 1979
South Korea’s Park was the boxer, Espadas the puncher going into this flyweight title fight. Park found himself on the floor from a left hook inside 40 seconds and rather than box through the crisis, he went toe-to-toe with the Mexican. The tactic worked. Espadas was down twice, in between moments of success, before the bell. Park finished the job in the second.
13. FRANKIE LILES vs TIM LITTLES
June 8, 1996
Down in each of the opening two rounds and badly cut, Littles raced from his corner at the start of the third and smashed southpaw Liles out of the ring. He dragged himself back into battle and was shaken up several times before walking Littles onto a right hook that proved to be the finisher.
12. TONY ZALE vs ROCKY GRAZIANO I
September 27, 1946
Graziano banged in some hard shots early in the round to bring a response from the middleweight champion. Zale dropped him for a count of ‘five’ with a left hook – and Rocky blazed back to have Zale groggy at the bell. Zale went on to claim a sixth-round knockout.
11. MICHAEL MOORER vs BERT COOPER
May 15, 1992
Cooper came out firing rights at the favourite and pounded him to his knees. Moorer soon found himself pinned on the ropes on the resumption – but beat Cooper to the punch with a southpaw right hook that dropped him. There was still a minute to go when the referee waved them together again and Cooper only just stayed on his feet until the bell, helped by his gum shield coming out. Moorer won in the fifth.
10. MUHAMMAD ALI vs JOE FRAZIER III
October 1, 1975
The question at the start of the 14th round was, ‘Who has more fight left in them? The half-blind Frazier or the exhausted Ali?’ For a minute or so, it looked like Frazier. He had Ali on the ropes trying to muddle and hold his way through the round. Ali was able to drag a few punches out of his aching arms and they knocked Frazier onto his heels. Frazier was still dangerous with his left hook, but the rest of the round belonged to Ali. There would be no 15th round. Eddie Futch decided Frazier couldn’t take any more.
9. MUHAMMAD ALI vs GEORGE FOREMAN
October 30, 1974
Legend has it, Ali told Foreman before at the start of the round: “Now it’s my turn.” Ali waited until the final 20 seconds of the round to take it. Until then, he was focused on dodging and blocking Foreman’s bombs. But when the weight and speed started to leave Foreman’s punches, Ali sensed the time was right to counter attack. He spotted Foreman’s jaw was exposed and found it with a chopping right hand. He soon added two more and Foreman was on his way to the canvas for the full count.
8. KEN NORTON vs LARRY HOLMES
June 9, 1978
“There comes a time in a fight when you have to ask yourself: ‘Should I go that extra mile?’” wrote Holmes in his autobiography. “Part of your body is telling you: ‘I’m tired of taking these shots.’ But another part is saying: ‘If you have the heart of a champion, now’s the time to show it.’ Holmes and Norton went the extra mile in the last three minutes. With the fight level on the three judges’ cards, they engaged in what Norton described as “an extremely violent round.” Holmes won a split decision.
7. MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA vs ÉRIK MORALES I
February 19, 2000
Morales came out for the fifth round of this clash of super-bantamweight titlists intending to stand off and jab. That is what he did – until Barrera cracked him on the chin. Morales wasn’t going to let him get away with that and reeled off a burst of punches that had his rival badly dazed. Barrera switched back on to unload a volley of his own shots that had Morales backpedalling. Morales won a split decision.
6. DEONTAY WILDER vs TYSON FURY
December 1, 2018
Wilder thought the fight was over after he dropped Fury for the second time. “I seen this man’s eyes roll in the back of his head,” he said. “I’m like, it’s over.” As the count reached ‘six,’ Fury started to stir and by ‘nine’ he was on his feet. He had two minutes, three seconds to survive and, given Wilder’s power, that looked unlikely. Fury saw most of Wilder’s swings coming and once he sensed his tank was emptying, Fury launched a counter attack. The crowd screamed in disbelief as Wilder survived.
5. MICKY WARD vs ARTURO GATTI I
May 18, 2002
Ward dug in a left hook to the body – his trademark punch – that made Gatti step back and when the pain wouldn’t go away, he took a knee. Ward launched left hooks at Gatti when the fight restarted and he seemed certain to go down. He didn’t go down – and then he started punching back. Ward was in trouble in the corner, until he started slamming punches off Gatti’s chin to have him groggy at the bell.
4. JACK DEMPSEY vs LUIS FIRPO
September 14, 1923
Three minutes, 10 knockdowns. Dempsey scored seven of them – and ended the round dazed. The chaos started in the opening seconds. Dempsey ran across the ring and straight onto a right hand that made him touch down. Up before the referee could start to count, he waded into Firpo, repeatedly smashing his Argentine challenger to the floor. Firpo only just beat the count after being dropped for a fourth time and following a fifth knockdown ‘The Wild Bull of the Pampas’ started to fight back. He swung rights at Dempsey until he touched down, but again, Dempsey straightened himself before the referee could count and carried on his onslaught. Firpo went down twice more before he launched another thrilling counter attack, unloading right hand after right hand to send Dempsey crashing out of the ring.
“I fell on top of the press,” remembered Dempsey, “they threw me back in.” Dempsey, after being thrown back in the ring by members of the press, said he saw “20 Firpos”, once the fight restarted, but none of them could put him over again. The fight was over 57 seconds into the second round after Dempsey had dropped Firpo twice more.
3. GEORGE FOREMAN vs RON LYLE
January 24, 1976
Three minutes of astonishing back-and-forth-and-back again heavyweight drama. First, Lyle opened up to drop Foreman. Foreman hauled himself up and decided to punch his way out of trouble. Both took clean thumps on the chin during a crazy exchange that ended when Lyle hit the floor. Foreman had around a minute to finish him and the end seemed only seconds away after Lyle was badly dazed by a volley of left hooks. Somehow, Lyle stayed on his feet and when he fired back, Foreman started to come apart. Lyle followed up to punch him to the floor just before the bell. Foreman scored the knockout in the next.
2. JOSÉ LUIS CASTILLO vs DIEGO CORRALES
May 7, 2005
“That might be the single most extraordinary comeback within a round to win a fight that has ever happened,” claimed Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Al Bernstein after watching Corrales pull off his miracle. Both were bruised and cut after nine hard rounds and early in the 10th Corrales dipped into a left hook and landed on the seat of his trunks. His gum shield came out, giving him some priceless extra seconds to clear his head. The break didn’t appear to do Corrales any good. Seconds after the fight restarted, Castillo had him over for a second time. Again, Corrales lost his gum shield, deliberately spitting it out. For that, he was docked a point and the break helped revive him.
Corrales landed a couple of shots that gave him the heart to ignore what Castillo was throwing at him and keep punching.
Both took clean punches – and it was Castillo who gave ground, wobbling into the ropes. Corrales smacked several more shots on the chin until the referee decided he couldn’t take any more.
1. MARVIN HAGLER vs THOMAS HEARNS
April 15, 1985
Referee Richard Steele said: “When the bell rang to end the first round I went back to my neutral corner and said to myself: ‘What the hell is happening?’ I could not believe those guys would come out and fight like that.” More than three decades on, fans watch the opening three minutes of ‘The War’ on YouTube and find themselves thinking the same. Hagler started it, racing from his corner to toss a southpaw right hook at Hearns’ chin. Hearns wanted to box behind his jab, but had to fight to keep Hagler off him and the ferocity of the champion’s attacks went up a notch or two after a deep cut opened on his forehead. Hagler pinned Hearns in a corner and threw everything at him. Hearns threw everything back. The doctor examined Hagler’s cut in the third and, sensing his title was slipping away, he launched an all-or-nothing attack that ended the fight.