As important as winning has ever been in boxing, getting the win without having to truly work for it diminishes its value. There’s something gripping about rising from a horrific knockdown to defeat a dangerous opponent, staving off the cold touch of defeat as it waits, just moments away. That’s what the following fighters did.
Julio Gonzalez UD12 Julian Letterlough, Round 5
This is a fight often passed over, probably unfairly, when compiling lists of some of the best scraps of the 2000s. Two good punchers traded knockdowns a few times in the fight, matched one another punch for punch in a handful of rounds and produced some sickening exchanges. The knockdown in question happened not long into the 5th round, after both men had already been down once apiece. As Gonzalez marched forward attempting to apply his trademark pressure and push Letterlough backwards, “Mr. KO” caught Gonzalez with a cracking hook that left the Mexico native looking up at the lights.
Not only did Gonzalez get up, he managed to live through another knockdown in the 10th. But he would floor Letterlough again in the 11th on his way to winning a hard-fought decision.
James “Buster” Douglas KO10 Mike Tyson, Round 8
Of all the clichés used to describe a fighter’s invincibility, most were probably used for Mike Tyson sometime in the 1980s. But by 1990 his private life had begun to collapse around him and his professional world was crumbled by a motivated and in-shape fringe contender named James Douglas.
Then-unbeaten and considered basically unbeatable, Tyson was dominated and stifled round after round. Towards the end of the 8th, however, Tyson landed the same crunching right uppercut that had previously rendered most of the heavyweight division incontinent.
Rather than stay down, a disappointed “Buster” Douglas slowly rose, and two rounds later returned the favor with a well-timed uppercut and overhand slams that had Tyson fumbling around for his mouthpiece before the count finished, claiming the heavyweight championship for himself.
Tim Bradley UD12 Kendall Holt, Round 1
Many have charged that Tim Bradley has benefited from too many close decisions, but they don’t accuse him of packing it in when things go sour for him on fight night.
Going into this 2009 bout, Kendall Holt had recently destroyed WBO 140 lb. belt-holder Ricardo Torres in the 1st round with the help of an unintentional headbutt, and survived awful bore Demetrius Hopkins. Holt entered the unification match up known for his punching power, and Bradley his tenacity.
The fight was only two minutes old, but things were going well for Tim to that point. And that’s when Bradley became caught up in an exchange and dined on a wicked left hook that nearly turned him sideways as he fell awkwardly onto his back.
Surprisingly unhurt, Bradley got up, wisely gathered himself by taking a knee for the rest of the eight count, and stood up again to face the guy who just leveled him. And aside from another quick knockdown in the 12th, Bradley did well to smother Holt’s power and outbox him to a decision victory.
George Foreman KO5 Ron Lyle, Round 4
Not much needs to be said about this slugfest that the fight doesn’t say for itself. Foreman-Lyle, as it will be known colloquially forever, was a sloppily brutal and wild encounter where both guys simply took turns hurting each other.
After having already risen from a hard knockdown earlier in the 5th and putting Lyle down a minute later in kind, Foreman was caught a deadly right hand in mid-swing that folded him to the canvas at the end of the round.
Clearly groggy, Foreman hoisted himself up and wobbled back to his corner as the bell sounded to end the round. In the next round, his unreal toughness and vaunted punching power bailed him out, and he managed to fight exhaustion and end the bout with a series of booming power shots while barely able to keep himself upright.
Larry Holmes TKO11 Earnie Shavers, Round 7
Just a few fights removed from his epic battle with Ken Norton for the WBC heavyweight belt, Holmes made his fourth defense in a rematch with legendary puncher Earnie Shavers.
If one were to ask a handful of boxing pundits who the hardest puncher in boxing history was, right or wrong the chances are at least one of them would tell you it was Shavers. And he proved it by absolutely laying waste to Larry Holmes in the 7th round, after six solid rounds of getting outmaneuvered. Just as Holmes stepped into a corner, Shavers unleashed a vicious right hand that immediately put Holmes down, looking as if he was completely unconscious upon hitting canvas.
But Holmes was up halfway through the count, survived the round and a few more desperate attempts from Shavers to end matters, and forced ref Dave Pearl to save Shavers from taking more huge right hands about halfway through the 11th.
Originally featured at Queensberry-Rules.com